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Devising an EV Charging Strategy – What Should Local Authorities Consider?

Local authorities are fundamental to the UK’s EV transition. Here are four things every local authority should reflect on when creating their EV charging strategy.

ev charging strategy

The UK Government has stressed the importance of support from local authorities in the expansion of EV charging infrastructure: ‘Through policies and published strategies, local authorities can facilitate and help guide the market to deliver to meet the charging needs of residents, businesses and visitors.’

However, despite funding packages including the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme and the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Scheme available for local authorities, many have not invested in EV charging infrastructure to date.

In this blog, we discuss:

  • Why local authorities should devise an EV charging strategy
  • The key elements of a strong EV charging strategy

As recently as summer 2022, 23 councils expressed no plans to install charge points over the coming 12 months.


Why should Local Authorities devise an EV charging strategy?

Support EV Drivers In Your Area

With  around 975,000 fully electric cars on UK roads, EV charging is becoming more in demand as your constituents switch to electric driving. Refraining from investing in EV charging infrastructure now is only delaying something that will inevitably become a necessity in the near future.


Nurture The EV Transition in Your Local Area

Having a portfolio of accessible EV charging in your council area is a great incentive to encourage people in your council area to consider switching to an electric vehicle, particularly those who are sceptical.

Only 78% of homeowners have access to off-street parking, whilst just over half (56%) of EV owners charge at home. Expanding public charging infrastructure will allow more people to see EV driving as an attainable transportation option.


Boost Your Sustainability Credentials

Beyond supporting your borough’s transition to electric transportation, an EV charging strategy will help you meet your own personal goals for becoming a more environmentally friendly council. This not only includes incorporating EV charge points into local policies to benefit residents, but supporting the process of switching your council’s fleet to electric, and improving local air quality by reducing carbon emissions.

Devising an EV strategy

Getting started with EV charging begins with devising a sound, productive strategy. Below, we outline 4 factors every local authority must include in their EV charging strategy.

Location: Which spots in your council area would benefit the most from EV charging?

You may wish to prioritise places where off-street parking is lacking, or target carparks and places with heavy footfall. Destination charging is another option, such as at park and rides or local shopping areas, or on-route charging at motorway forecourts for drivers who are travelling long distances.

Consulting your residents is a way to ensure your EV chargers will be placed in areas with the greatest need, and thus used to the greatest effect. It will also make them feel part of the development process of re-thinking how transportation in their area can become more sustainable, thus encouraging the uptake of EVs in the long-run.

Power: Will you be installing fast, rapid, or ultra-rapid chargers, or a combination?

Ultra-rapid and rapid charging (250+kW chargers) is most effective at locations where drivers will be seeking a quick, efficient top-up, alike the petrol/diesel model of filling up in a short time. Whereas, fast charging (7kW to 22kW) offers drivers a gradual charge, so they are suited for destinations with amenities, such as a retail park or supermarket, where drivers are staying for an extended period.

Different chargers will have different power demands. Part of your strategy should be analysing whether the sites you intend to develop on can cope with the power demand of your chosen chargers.

Number: How many charge points will you be installing?

It is worth noting that quantity should not be your predominant focus. It is important to not over install EV charge points. This will ensure you are not using unnecessary space, you will not be left with unused chargers, and you are not adding undue pressure to the grid.

Finance: How will you be financing your EV charge point installation?

The UK Government offers a range of financial support packages to local authorities. Check out our funding guide for full details.

There are also different ownership models to consider as part of your EV charging infrastructure. Under an ‘own and operate’ model, the local authority fully funds the installations whilst retaining full ownership of the network and collecting all revenue.

Alternatively, your charge point operator (CPO) can also offer fully financed models, meaning they own the infrastructure. With Mer, local authorities may be entitled to a fully-funded model, with a profit share arrangement with Mer.

Next steps for Local Authorities

Thinking about installing electric vehicle charging in your local community, or electrifying your fleet? Watch back our webinar from November 2023, in which experts from Mer and guest from Durham County Council explained everything you need to know about installing EV charging infrastructure.

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