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Birmingham needs massive increase in electric vehicle charging points

A massive increase in the number of electric vehicle charging points is needed in Birmingham and across the Midlands, a major new study has found.

Londoners have access to more than twice as many public electric chargers than Brummies – despite being 40% less likely to own a car. And while most Birmingham motorists say they would consider buying an electric vehicle or van, more than half say a lack of charging points is a concern.

The Midlands region needs 11 new public electric vehicle chargers a day, or 3,941 every year, until the end of the decade, according to the study from Midlands Connect, a Government-backed transport body which is overseen by council leaders.

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A ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars comes into force in 2030, and local authorities are already introducing measures to encourage motorists to choose low-pollution vehicles, such as the Clean Air Zone in Birmingham. It’s seen as an essential step toward cutting carbon emissions and fighting global warming, , while industry experts say the shift to electric vehicles could provide a boost to UK carmakers.

But a lack of charging points is making electric vehicles unattractive to buyers, said Maria Machancoses, Chief Executive of Midlands Connect. She said: “We’re in the grip of a climate emergency, and when it comes to installing electric vehicle charging points, the Midlands cannot fall behind. We know that being worried about not being able to charge when needed is a major factor that puts many off making their next car electric; this needs to change.

“By working together to create a region-wide electric vehicle strategy and overcome the challenges of installing the infrastructure we need, we can move one step closer to decarbonising our transport network.”

She added: “Local Authorities across the Midlands are doing a great job to roll out charging points, but they cannot do this alone. Government, the automotive industry and private suppliers must all play a part in speeding up the roll out and ensuring councils have the support they need.”

Currently, 93% of electric vehicle owners have access to off-street parking, which typically means they have a property with a driveway. This makes it easier to charge a vehicle, for example by fitting a charging point to the outside of a home. However, around one in three households in the Midlands only have on-street parking.

The are just 27 electric vehicle charging points per 100,000 people in the West Midlands. This is much lower than in London, where the figure is 83 charging points per 100,000 people.

But Midlands Connect predicts that the number of electric vehicles in the region will shoot up – meaning there will be a growing need for charging points. It says the number of registered electric vehicles in the Midlands, currently around 45,000, is expected to reach 1.7 million by 2030.

It commissioned a survey which found 81% of motorists with a diesel or petrol car are considering buying an electric vehicle next. But 51%, just over half, said a lack of public charging points could put them off purchasing an electric vehicle.

Similar concerns have also been raised by MPs. In July, the House of Commons Transport Committee called on Ministers to legislate to ensure that local development plans drawn up by councils included charging points, and to work with the National Grid to ensure rural areas have the electricity supply needed to allow cars to charge.

The Government has committed £1.3 billion to improve charging infrastructure over the next 4 years.

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