A committee of the Welsh Assembly, the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee, has recommended that all new housing estates built in Wales should have EV charging points. Their concern is that access to charging points could be out stripped by sales of electric vehicles.
Currently there are 547 public charging points in Wales, of which only 60 are rapid chargers, and this, according to Zap-Map, compares unfavourably with England that has 12,763 charging points of which, 2,220 are rapid chargers.
The committee claims that “confusing” payment and membership schemes and a currently “patchy” infrastructure, could be putting people off investing in an electric vehicle.
Russell George AM, Chair of the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee said: “As the electric vehicle market expands, there is a clear need for urgent acceleration by the Welsh Government to ensure the network can cope.
“Communication with stakeholders and the people of Wales will be a critical part of delivering this network.
“We also believe the EV infrastructure can be hard-wired in if the government requires all new residential developments to set aside car parking capacity for electric vehicles, as is currently the case with non-residential.”
The Welsh Government said it remains “committed” to developing a rapid charging network, with a spokesperson adding: “We welcome the report and its conclusion that our policies and aspirations are pointing in the right direction.
“We have set out we will work with partners to increase the availability of charging infrastructure in Wales, whilst also being very clear that we expect the private sector to deliver the majority of charge points.
“We have also worked with partners to secure £459,000 from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for electric vehicle charge points in the five Gwent local authorities.”
Vix Leyton, consumer expert at www.carwow.co.uk commented: “This is welcome news for the environmentally conscious pushing to see more electric cars on the roads of Britain, as one of the biggest barriers to purchase is drivers worrying they’ll be left marooned between charging points. Wales, particularly, has some very remote areas which means that, at the moment, these concerns aren’t entirely unfounded.
Recent research carried out by carwow found that Wales had one of the lowest uptakes in terms for alternatively fuelled cars, 81% of Welsh motorists polled did not drive an electric car or know someone who did, higher than any other UK region, with 37% of Welsh drivers admitting they were worried about being stranded. This newly announced initiative will hopefully encourage Welsh drivers to consider making a switch, knowing that the infrastructure for them is improving at pace.
This is a step in the right direction in terms of government supporting a move to greener living but we would love to see them push this initiative further and see it rolled out across the UK.
Since the introduction of ULEZ on April 8th this year, we have seen an increasing amount of demand for electric cars, not just in London but also in other regions so we know that drivers are sensitive to legislation when making their decisions. People want to do their bit, but they understandably need to ensure that what is typically the second biggest purchase they make will meet their needs. For Welsh people who are wondering how well served they are, simple tools like this are available to help them understand their charging network so they make an informed choice.”