Electric Vehicle workshop

Ruth, Bill and I attended a workshop hosted by Renew Wales and Open Newtown to look at social/community requirements and potential benefits of using 3 funded EV cars across Mid Wales. In addition, there were speakers covering local government plans for a Wales-wide EV charging network and others explaining different Car Club models.

Key points:

Welsh Government has £2m to spend in this sector and is considering funding rapid charging points (80% charge in 30 mins) across Wales but is still ‘consulting’ for solutions.

Powys CC – has £100k to spend by March 2020 and following a survey earlier this year has identified 13 locations to install fast chargers (3-4 hour charging of 2 vehicles per charging unit). (We need to email to find out if Llanfyllin is one of the 13.) PCC are looking for additional funding from OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) to complete the funding. Their primary focus is to supply charging in local authority car parks for residents who lack off-street parking.

To add to the charging infrastructure is the national plan to have charging points in all petrol stations within 2 years.

TrydaNi are a co-operative who are working to support local infrastructure through Community Energy Wales.  Their aim is to install over 1000 charge points by 2025 with “charge points in every market town in Powys” and keep the revenues from EV charging within Wales rather than it being taken over by a multinational. They are planning their formal launch in November 2019. They want to see 1200 charging points across Wales by 2025 covering:

         a rapid charging point every 30km (although this was questioned as battery life can be up to 300miles now and likely to improve over time)

         fast chargers in sizeable workplaces

         fast chargers in residential areas with limited off-street parking

         fast chargers at tourist attractions (and retail areas???)

They would also like to have them set for contactless payment rather than having to have a dedicated App.

Scottish Power Energy Networks spoke about the electricity supply issues and the costs of adding more capacity (substations and cabling as opposed to h ow we generate more electricity). They are developing a ‘self-service’ platform on their website so communities and individuals can check the impact of any proposed charging system on the grid infrastructure in their area. They are also looking at Smart Charging to manage charging requirements and peak demand/grid capacity. (leaflet available if anyone wants to see it).

Llanidloes Car Club started in 2007 with 4 friends, their main advice was for it to be set up by a core group of about  4 people who really want it and will use it then run it as a business – it has to cover its costs if it is to be sustainable. Sort out membership agreements, charges – combination of hourly and mileage charges, insurance, storage, access to keys etc before worrying about getting a car as there are lots of cars out there!

Transport Consultant (Chris) has worked all over the country but especially in Scotland on a variety of Community Car Schemes and his main finding is that no 1 model fits all situations but key points are that the community really wants it and understands the benefits to them. One good example is Moray which has been going for a while and has 9 cars and 50 members – they have a 3 tier membership with different annual membership costs vs journey costs. Also rural communities tend to have very different requirements than urban. Shrewsbury have a car-club as part of the Co-wheels franchise which enables members to use cars in other locations (useful if planning a journey out of area where public transport could be used for part of the journey)  http://franchises.co-wheels.org.uk/shropshire/  In order to be successful the car needs to be being used for 7 to 8 hours a day minimum so it could be something local businesses could use to boost useage.

Afternoon workshops covered a variety of topics but the most relevant to Llanfyllin (and surrounding area) was probably the one about how and where to build up a charging network around Wales. If PCC is not intending to include Llanfyllin in it’s 13 locations then there is the option of applying for funding through OLEV (up to 50% if a business or 75% if a community project), also could apply to Welsh government for some of the £2m and companies such as Barclays might offer match funding. If the community pays to have the charging point(s) put in then they would receive the income (but would be responsible for the maintenance etc) however there are companies (eg instavolt) that will install for free but then they will take the income and be responsible for maintenance – if this route is followed be aware of how long it might take to get maintenance done. Also need to look at how the revenue would be collected – contactless is likely to be the way forward but at the moment there are many different systems – each with their own App (bloova.com was mentioned). Food for thought!

Diana

2nd July 2019

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