4.1 Steve Lowe, ULEV Programme Manager, gave the attached presentation and members noted the following points:
· There were a number of council strategies which reinforced the need for EV charging infrastructure (shown on slide 2).
· A contract had now been procured with Chargepoint for the next 3 years and would focus on on-street charging points. The contract provided an end-to-end service for the deployment phase, including identifying the best sites. This contact could also be re-used by other councils in Gloucestershire.
· The first phase was to identify the correct sites. A number of tools would be used to do this which were listed on slide 4. It was noted that there was an increasing appreciation of the need for charging points now.
· Slides 5-11 showed an idea of the first proposed sites, focusing around the more densely populated areas within each district. It was noted however that there were a number of towns and villages in the rural districts that solely relied on on-street parking as well, even though they had lower population density.
· The site surveys had begun in Cheltenham and Gloucester for the first stage of the rollout and the rest of the county would be scheduled for the summer months. The surveys were vital to truly understand the logistics for each proposed site.
· Slide 13 outlined the process for finalising the on-street locations.
· In addition to the on-street Chargepoint programme, the Government had also announced the opportunity to bid for LEVI funding. GCC’s bid was outlined on slide 14 and focused on 40 rural towns/village hubs, positioned at starting to address the rural issue. It was expected the funding result would be announced around mid-August.
· The final work stream was the Staff Fleet Migration, details outlined on slide 15.
4.2 The process of registering an interest by residents was available online and the request would then be added to the prioritisation list. This had been sent out via a press release and through the Parish and Town Council distribution list.
4.3 A member challenged the current prioritisation strategy reflecting that the overall goal for the county was to reduce the need to travel in the first place, especially by car. This would be arguably easier to achieve in more densely populated areas through other transport means. Whereas residents in rural areas had more of a need to use electric vehicles and therefore the priority for charging points should be there, rather than in our towns and cities.
4.4 This point was appreciated by officers and taken on board. It was confirmed that population density was not the only factor used to determine prioritisation and it should be considered that the carbon emitted from transport was much higher in rural areas. The advantage of keeping the heat maps up to date as the roll out continued was being able to see areas that were significantly far away from any provisions. The process had to be transparent and officers able to justify the locations selected, as well as residents being aware if their area was already on the prioritisation list etc.
4.5 It was added that many market towns in rural areas had no available parking in the centres and vast pockets with no access to charging. They had heard of police officers running out of power due to this. Noting that the LEVI funding mentioned in the presentation for the 40 rural sites was not guaranteed, there would need to be some way of addressing this within GCC’s own rollout.
4.6 Members noted that all other councils in the county could use GCC’s contract provisions to supply their own charging points. It was recognised that many of the public car parks for example were owned by districts and therefore GCC had no direct authority over those to install charging points. There had been a survey of GCC owned premises to see whether any of these sites would be appropriate to provide public charging but unfortunately, due to many of them being secure areas, this had not been fruitful.
4.7 It was confirmed that the programme was aiming to provide 1000 charging points over the 3-year contract period, which on average would mean 3 double charging ports per location (depending on the site requirements). It was likely most would be fast chargers as this would be enough for resident to charge overnight but not too much that it would overload the grid. There were no set timescales for the next phase at the moment, but the contractors were read to go as and when. The cost to residents had been set at a maximum per KW hour in the contract but noting this may increase slightly due to the pressures on energy supply at the moment. Officers were conscious that residents were not put at a disadvantage cost-wise if they did not have their own driveway to charge from.
4.8 On questioning, it was confirmed that there had been no additional cost to replacing the fleet vehicles. A lot of them had overdue leases for example.
4.9 It was noted that the rollout focused solely on residents, and it was questioned what the vision was for those visiting or travelling through the county. It was advised that the Council’s ‘customer’ was residents and the government/OZEV funding available only covered residential supply. This was not a programme that GCC could deliver alone, it would rely on all partners, including private businesses to be involved and supply where they were able.
4.10 A member asked whether GCC had considered any mitigation for supply issues during the rollout. It was advised the contractors were confident they had the supply they needed, and there were regular meetings taking place on resource etc. Rather than the hardware being an issue, it was actually having the supply of local labour available to do the installations.
4.11 An action was taken to provide an update on the situation with local planning authorities ensuring charging points were a planning condition for new developments.
ACTION: Philip Williams
4.12 There was a discussion around making sure the charging points were financially sustainable. The set-up costs would not be met by users for any years and therefore it would be sensible to target users that were most likely to use the points, highlighting that many communities were currently unable to afford an electric vehicle. Officers acknowledged that it would be some time for the upfront costs to be recovered, but it was simply something that had to be done to get the market started. The day-to-day cost of the chargers would be met by a couple hours of charging a day and the market would reduce, with second hand vehicles becoming available in the future. Even with the rising cost of energy, it was still a lot cheaper to run electric over petrol vehicles.