As we all look to reduce our carbon emissions, one of the biggest contributors to the carbon footprint of local households is transport – particularly our cars. For some, Electric Vehicles (EVs) are now a realistic option, and with an upcoming ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, it’s a good time to consider switching to an electric vehicle.
Types of Electric Vehicles and Chargers
There are two types of EVs:
- Battery-electric vehicles, otherwise known as ‘pure’ EVs, are powered only by electricity and charged via charge points.
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles contain a battery, electric motor and an engine. The typical range for a hybrid just using its electricity is around 50 miles. Once the battery is empty it can continue in hybrid mode, using the engine. However, these are only efficient if charged regularly.
EV chargers fall into four groups: slow, fast, rapid, and ultra-rapid. The higher the power (measured in kilowatts or kW) the quicker the charge. Fast chargers are the most common in public places or as home chargers. Rapid and ultra-rapid chargers provide a quicker charge but are more expensive.
Benefits of Electric Vehicles
If like many others you are unsure about making the switch to an EV, here are a few facts that might help you make up your mind:
- EVs don’t create any CO² exhaust emissions and are therefore good for the environment and air quality, particularly in town or city centres.
- Although electricity to power the car still needs to be generated, all EVs are greener than a regular car.
- Charging an EV is cheaper than refuelling with petrol or diesel, especially when charging at home overnight.
- EVs also cost less to run. EVs have far fewer moving parts than petrol powered cars so require less maintenance and are exempt from road tax.
- EVs now have an average range of 197 miles and many models can go much further on a single charge.
- Fuelling is flexible. You don't have to drive to a petrol station; all you need is a charging point at home or at work, or on the public charger network.
The Energy Saving Trust has developed a decision-making flow chart guide to help decide if an EV is right for you.
Charging an Electric Vehicle
Charging an EV is easy. Most can be plugged into a standard home socket and can charge to around 80% overnight. A dedicated home charger can charge even faster, in around 6 hours. If you need a faster charge, this can also be done in 30 minutes at a rapid charger. These are often found at motorway services.
For charging on the move, public charging points can often be found in car parks, motorway services and retail outlets. Websites like Zap Map, Carwow and National Charge Point Registry provide maps of all the public EV charging points available in the United Kingdom
If you don’t have off street parking, you could use a neighbour’s charger by downloading a charger sharing app. Charger sharing allows homeowners with chargers to rent them to neighbours. Charger sharing apps include Co-Charger, JustCharge, Zap-Home, and Book My Charge.
Grants for EV Chargers
The EV Chargepoint Grant is available for landlords, flat owners, and private renters.
Employers and businesses can access the Workplace Charging Scheme.
Both grants can pay for 75% of the purchase and installation of a chargepoint, up to £350 per grant.
For areas without off street parking, the On‐street Residential Chargepoint Scheme for local authorities can offer 60% of the costs associated with the charger set up (up to a maximum of £7,500 per charge point). If you and your parish can identify an area where this could be used, we can apply on your behalf. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with your query.
What is South Cambridgeshire District Council doing?
Twenty EV chargers have been installed our Cambourne office for staff, including two rapid chargers for use by taxis. We also have an EV salary sacrifice scheme for staff.
We are trailing installation of public EV chargers at two of our Sheltered Accommodation communal buildings, for use by tenants and the public.
We are installing EV chargers on our new-build social housing developments for South Cambridgeshire District Council tenants. We will also be supporting provision of EV charging on new developments through the forthcoming Greater Cambridge Local Plan.
We have developed our Approach to Electric Vehicle Charging document [PDF, 0.2MB] to set out our wider approach in this area, and are continuing to work closely with partners and other local authorities.
E-bikes are a great way to get around in a quick, low-carbon way. The community E-bike service, developed by Cambridge Electric Transport with the help of funding from our Zero Carbon Communities Grant, means that you can hire e-bikes in areas around South Cambridgeshire. You can find the e-bikes in Teversham, Northstowe and surrounding villages, and the Abingtons.
If you are thinking of getting your own electric bike, but don't know where to start, the Energy Saving Trust provides some helpful advice
Other ways to sustainably travel
Car sharing for routine journeys (for example, commuting to work) is usually cheaper and greener, as you would be car sharing with somebody taking the same route as you. CamShare is free to join and caters for individuals and organisations.
Cyclescheme is an employee benefit that saves you money on a bike and accessories. You pay nothing upfront and the payments are taken tax efficiently from your salary by your employer.