Push for More Electric Vehicle Chargers in Newcastle

Electric Vehicle Chargers in Newcastle
Push for more electric vehicle chargers in Newcastle as council vows to ‘learn’ from failures. Council chiefs in Newcastle have vowed they are “learning the lessons from yesteryear” as they push to upgrade the city’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

Civic centre bosses are launching a new drive to install more charging points and create a “leading network” that can be accessed by anyone across Newcastle. The local authority has faced criticism in the past because of the number of EV chargers in Newcastle that have been left in a broken state, with the technology having previously been branded “decrepit”.

But councillors were told on Thursday that new plans are in the works to radically improve the charging facilities for EV drivers on Tyneside. The vision includes installing charge points at 83 locations in neighbourhoods that would be a “maximum of 10 minute walking time from almost all residential parts of the city”, as well as putting a further 167 at “destination” locations – such as car parks close to shopping areas, leisure centres, hospitals, colleges, and St James’ Park.

There are currently only around 900 publicly accessible charging posts in the North East, but it has been predicted that as many as 28,000 could be needed by 2035 to keep up with rising demand for EVs as the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is phased out. However, around 30% of the chargers provided by local councils are said to be “either faulty or out of use”.

At a meeting of Newcastle City Council’s climate change committee on Thursday, Lib Dem councillor Pauline Allen warned that any new sites “have to be maintained and have to be reliable”.

Labour representative Teresa Cairns added: “We have EV charging points in the city centre but they are out-of-date and have been really difficult to maintain. People have complained about them, but the technology just isn’t there. How are we going to ensure that we are keeping up to date with changing technology around replacement and renewal?”

David Hall, the council’s assistant director of operations, said the first priority under the council’s new EV strategy would be to renew all obsolete models currently installed. He added: “What is really important is the maintenance package that comes with the charging points and learning the lessons from yesteryear.

“We would be looking to bake in a solution for ongoing maintenance and management of the infrastructure [into the contract to provide the charging points]. It is fair to say that the technology is a lot better than it was a few years ago. I think 90% iof the faults can now be rectified remotely.

“It is really important that we get that support and it is built into the contract about responding to outages. You lose public confidence and lose income from the points being off.”

The council also says it wants to have “at least” three EV car clubs in every one of the city’s 26 wards – and six in those with low rates of car ownership.

A public consultation launched on Friday, March 01, to assess the level of public demand for charging points and locations where people would like to see them installed. Residents can have their say at greenernewcastle.newcastle.gov.uk.

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