With the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans due to be phased out by 2030, the growth in sales of electric vehicles (EVs) is predicted to accelerate.
While electric vehicles offer a number of benefits to both the owners and the wider community, including lower running costs and reduced air and noise pollution, there are concerns over vehicle range and the availability of charging facilities.
So Aberdeenshire Council is drawing up a policy on EV charging, which is being considered by the Buchan Area Committee today (Tuesday, December 11).
The council’s policy looks at how it will continue to operate, maintain and expand the publicly available EV charging point network across Aberdeenshire at a rate that reflects the growth in demand.
And with more EV owners likely to be looking at ways of charging their vehicles at home, the policy also sets out how and where this will be permitted.
Under the policy, on-street EV charging points will only be permitted where these are publicly available, so anyone looking to install their own private charging point will need their own off-street parking space, such as a driveway or garage.
The council’s policy says: “Aberdeenshire Council does not consent to the on-street charging of electric vehicles where this would involve cables crossing the footway or any other part of the road.
“Similarly, we would not permit the installation of charging apparatus in the public road where this was for private rather than public use.
“Potential purchasers of electric vehicles who do not have access to off-street parking at home or charging facilities at work should base any decision on utilising publicly available charge locations in the same way that petrol and diesel are currently accessed.”
While around 81 per cent of dwellings in Aberdeenshire have dedicated off-street parking provision, in some communities – particularly in fishing villages – the arrangement of housing on the street means that many residents do not, and would be unable to charge an EV at home.
Transport hubs, such as bus or train stations, could provide opportunities for commuters to recharge their vehicles. Similarly, town centre car parks could provide recharging opportunities for commuters and also visitors.
The policy also states that provision of EV charging facilities will be encouraged in new private car parks.
And it says tariffs should be set for customers using the public EV network to ensure full costs are met.
After an initial period of offering free charging, at the start of 2021 Aberdeenshire Council introduced a charge based on a rate per kWh of electricity provided to cover the costs of energy, maintenance, administration and management.
There’s been rapid growth in EVs in Aberdeenshire in recent years, from a few dozen in 2021, to around 600 in 2019, and just over 1400 by the end of June last year.
However, the combined number of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles still only made up around 0.75 per cent of the total number of registered vehicles in Aberdeenshire.