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City streets aren’t the place for electric vehicle charging

Brian Dalton Purley, Surrey CR8
08 June 2018

I read John Dales’ latest article with interest (ibid). While I applaud the sentiment that streets would be better off without so much paraphernalia, I am concerned at the possible dangers of the sudden removal of some such and the opportunities that presents for drivers to be confused.

The issue that most taxes me about his article, however, is the provision of electric vehicle charging on-street. The use of the highway for the purposes of energy refill has long since been deleted from our towns with fuel filling stations having forecourts designed for the safety of everyone. The provision of on-street charging points should be restricted to frontagers who pay for the privilege of a reserved recharging point.

I suggest that those without off-street parking at their home should not be allowed to own an electric vehicle unless they lease a portion of the highway outside their property for the purposes of recharging. Effectively, by having a recharge point at the highway outside their home, they deny that bit of highway to someone else and should have to pay for the privilege.

More generally, it is my belief that we are heading pell-mell into the installation of unnecessary EV charging points. When we proposed a single EV charging point in a London Borough of Lewisham-controlled car park in the early 1990s, it was a bit of a gimmick. We knew there were a couple of users in the area who would be able to use the facility but, when we enquired, they said they did not need a remote charging point as they didn’t do enough mileage to warrant the provision.

Over the years we have been slow to get on the EV charging bandwagon and the industry has overtaken our efforts by providing vehicles first as hybrids and now with much longer ranges. The necessity for remote recharging is diminishing as, like our Lewisham example, the current crop of fully electric vehicles can cope with most needs. 

I don’t deny that users will require recharging facilities for longer journeys, but we should not be encouraging unnecessary use of city centre roads, so, such facilities should be located in out-of-town shopping centres and motorway service areas. 


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