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Vauxhall plans to boost on-street EV charging as councils ignore demand

‘Electric Streets’ website targets 70 per cent of councils with no on-street charging plan for residential streets

Vauxhall has launched a new ‘electric streets’ initiative to increase numbers of kerbside chargepoints in residential streets, on the back of data revealing 71.6 per cent of councils have no strategy for installing them.

The car maker says 40 per cent of UK households don’t have a private driveway, rising to more than 60 per cent in towns and cities, leaving potentially millions of drivers unable to charge at home. This matters to Vauxhall, as it has pledged to sell only EV models from 2028, ahead of the government’s ban on internal-combustion-powered cars in 2030. With 80 per cent of EV charging currently carried out at home, the provision of suitable on-street charging is considered critical to grow mainstream EV uptake in the UK.

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A freedom of information enquiry to 414 councils across the length and breadth of the UK exposed the gap in local authority planning for the EV switchover, and also showed that 69 per cent of councils have yet to install a single on-street charger. Of the councils that do plan charger installations, Vauxhall claims, only 14,188 individual chargers are proposed for 2023, which is well behind the rate required to meet the government’s target of 300,000 chargers operating by 2030. 

On-street electric car charging in residential roads is not without its problems, as the typical solutions include lamp post chargers or pavement-mounted bollards. Charger wires trailing across roads and pavements have been identified as potentially dangerous by accessibility groups and councils, while other residents may simply see them as unsightly.

Vauxhall has set up its ‘Electric Streets of Britain’ programme “to make sure drivers aren’t left behind in the transition to electric mobility”. The firm says it has teamed up with charging operators char.gy, Connected Kerb and SureCharge, and created an ‘enablement fund’ to help councils get to grips with the scale of the on-street charging requirement and to understand the potential solutions.

The £1m-plus fund from Vauxhall will support its project partners to “help educate councils they are targeting to accelerate on-street charging and enable their understanding of the benefits it can have for residents in their area”, according to a Vauxhall statement.

“Accessibility to charge points near your home is critical to the transition to electric vehicle ownership in the UK,” says James Taylor, managing director at Vauxhall. “We want to galvanise the needs and interests of everyone, from the public, to the councils and the charging operators to make sure that anyone without a driveway is part of that journey.”

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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