Electric Vehicle Strategy summary
Corporate Priority - Climate and Ecological Emergency
Tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) is one of our six Corporate Priorities. One of the key pledges and objectives from this work is that we will: “Support the borough in reducing its emissions and reaching net-zero as quickly as possible.”
In Dacorum, transport is responsible for around 45 per cent of the borough’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with cars being responsible for a third of these emissions. As such, ‘Sustainable Transport’ is one of the four key strands of our Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy.
There are two main focuses of this theme:
- Encouraging and enabling an increase in active travel
- Encouraging and enabling the uptake of electric vehicles (EV)
Within our Corporate Plan 2020-2025 this EV work is summarised by our commitment to: “Install more publicly accessible electric vehicle charge points, and work to encourage more organisations to install these throughout the borough.”
To address the above commitments, as well as meet the current and future needs of our residents in light of upcoming industry changes, we have developed an EV Work Programme (EVWP):
Developing the EV Work Programme (EVWP)
Spheres of Influence
Dacorum is able to have a larger, more meaningful impact on reaching net-zero targets, by using our ‘Spheres of Influence’ and working throughout a range of other areas.
Whilst shaping our aims and objectives we have considered how we can use our spheres of influence to engage, enable, encourage and educate wherever possible through:
- Direct Influence
- Indirect local and national influence through funding, policy, partnerships, initiatives, advice, lobbying and leadership
These will consistently be reflected by the actions which are added into our EV Work Programme (EVWP).
When planning and implementing the EVWP it is important to note that the EV industry is evolving quickly. Due to national influence such as new government policy or funding, EV manufacturers and EVCP providers, actions may be added or removed in to the EVWP at any time.
Partnership Working and Local Influence
In order to successfully support the transition to EVs locally, it will be necessary to work with a wide range of partners and key stakeholders - especially local businesses and organisations. Forming good relationships with commercial EVCP providers will be essential to the viability of rolling out EVCPs.
In November 2020, Dacorum adopted a Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which provides information regarding the number of EV charge points that should be installed per development, alongside future cabling provision to allow for an increase in future demand. The New Dacorum Local Plan will support the delivery of EVCP infrastructure. Work is also taking place to address air quality issues locally, which also has synergies with the EVWP.
One of our main partners is HCC and we are currently supporting the County Council in the development of its own EV strategy and work programme. The outcome of this will have a local influence on the actions we are able to take. HCC can also have additional influence through Green Travel Plans, which are a routine planning requirement for developments of sufficient scale.
The Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP) is a group that can be used to support the sharing of best practice and guidance between Hertfordshire local authorities. Transport is one of its main priorities.
We will support Local Town and Parish councils in the installation of EVCPs on their own land and we also plan to feed into the development of the Hemel Garden Communities project.
The actions from the EVWP will be broken down into deliverable timeframes:
- Short (2022-2024)
- Medium (2025-2027)
- Long-term (2028-2030)
Aim and Objectives
Our strategic aim is to: "Support the uptake of electric vehicles and the implementation of appropriate charging infrastructure throughout Dacorum."
Based upon the information outlined in this strategy, we have developed 10 key objectives to help meet our strategic aim. These have been developed primarily with the EV charging hierarchy in mind.
- EV-1: Data Gathering
Gather data from various sources to guide best practice and ensure evidence-based decision making when designing the EV work programme
- EV-2: Rapid Charging Hubs
Support the development of dedicated rapid charging hubs within the borough
- EV-3: Destination Charging
Enable and encourage destination charging throughout the borough
- EV-4: Workplace Charging
Work alongside local businesses and organisations to enable and encourage workplace charging throughout the borough
- EV-5: On-Street Charging
Enable and encourage on-street charging for residents who are unable to charge at home
- EV-6: Home Charging
Support the uptake of home charging throughout the borough
- EV-7: EV Car Clubs
Support the development of a range of EV car clubs throughout the borough
- EV-8: EV Fleet
Lead by example by transitioning to an EV fleet
- EV-9: Communication, Engagement and Guidance
Communicate and engage with local residents and organisations to provide guidance, advice and support on all areas of the transition to EV
- EV-10: Policies and Key Documents
Ensure that the work is supported by and referred to in relevant documents and policies.
Under each of these objectives, a number of potential actions will be proposed and captured in the EVWP. Some of these actions are already underway, or have been completed - such as data gathering. The EVWP will remain a ‘live’ document - meaning that it will be under constant review and development and be updated regularly to reflect the progression of projects and initiatives, as well as national and local influence.
Potential actions will all be explored and implemented wherever possible, however depending on feasibility, evolving technology and best practice, and other external factors - after initial exploration some proposed actions may not become viable.
From a legal perspective, this strategy has identified the relevant legislation and Government targets in relation to EVs to 2035. There are no direct legal implications for Dacorum Borough Council. Full legal title reports would be carried out before installing any EVCPs on Council-owned land.
EV 1: Data Gathering
EVs and all of their associated infrastructure make up a complex new industry, which in turn will lead to a range of new societal behaviours. Supporting this paradigm shift will be crucial to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, in addition to this, there is a relatively small timeframe to make meaningful changes.
As such, it is essential that the decisions we make are the right ones and will be successful in driving the transition to EVs, not obstructing progress.
Good progress has already been made in this area with the information that has been collected and this has shaped this strategy so far. To ensure that we continue to make appropriate, evidence-based decisions, it is necessary to have an ongoing objective of data gathering. This will ensure that we will be well-informed on the latest industry information, which will help guide best practice and shape the actions which continue to be added into the EVWP.
Ensuring that we share this information and engage with key stakeholders will also be a key component - this feeds into Objective EV 9 - Communication, Engagement and Guidance.
EV 2: Rapid Charging Hubs
Rapid charging hubs will be the part of the EV charging hierarchy that is most similar to fuel stations. The provision and roll out of these rapid charging hubs is a very new field. The first replacement of a petrol station with a rapid charging hub in the UK took place in January 2022 - symbolising an important milestone for the transition to EVs.
These hubs will be a crucial part of the charging hierarchy as they will provide the confidence and reassurance that many will need to encourage them to purchase an EV. The hubs will enable emergency en-route charging, charging for those who have a high-mileage lifestyle (for example, a delivery driver) and provide an EVCP option for those who do not yet have them conveniently located nearby. However, out of all EVCPs, these hubs will be the most expensive to install and use and therefore will not be suitable as a primary charging source.
For rapid/ultra-rapid chargepoints, capacity issues and costs can be mitigated by placing in close proximity to existing substations (with enough capacity). Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) has liaised with UK Power Networks (UKPN) to overlay substation location data onto its EV mapping tool, which will enable us to make more informed decisions about the placement of future rapid/ultra-rapid charge-points in the future.
These hubs will need to be installed in specific locations - in urban areas of high population, next to destination facilities and close to main arterial roads (M1, A41 and A414). We will need to rely on commercial partners installing these and, as such, their implementation will be driven by the speed of EV ownership locally.
We aim to have our first rapid charging hub up and running in Dacorum in 2023.
EV 3: Destination Charging
The primary focus of our short-term actions will be on fast and rapid destination charging. Whilst EV ownership is still in its early stages, these types of EVCPs will provide firm foundations for local charging infrastructure, allowing us to build on this as ownership levels increase.
We plan to install EVCPs in Council-owned car parks and other destination areas where we own land. However, there will also be a reliance on other key destination organisations to install EVCPs. We will need to engage with key stakeholders (for example, supermarkets, visitor destinations, shopping centres, car parks) to encourage them to install these.
Potential locations will need to undergo feasibility studies to ensure they are fit for purpose, have sufficient grid capacity, meet current and future demand from residents, businesses, and visitors, fill in gaps in the charging network, and have good access.
We will need to rely on commercial partners and/or government funding to install EVCPs on Council-owned land. This programme of work will need to be developed and delivered over several phases. The aim would be for every urban area in Dacorum with a population over 10,000 to have at least three Rapid public EVCPs by the end of 2023.
EV 4: Workplace Charging
A fundamental aspect of the charging hierarchy will be the provision of EVCPs in workplaces.
This objective carries a range of benefits for organisations throughout Dacorum:
- Supports staff who do not have convenient access to an EVCP at home
- Provides an attractive incentive for new and existing customers and visitors
- Can allow a company to transition to an EV fleet - where feasible. This ties in specifically with Objective EV 8.
- Can provide an additional income by making EVCPs available to the public outside of core hours - where feasible.
We will carry out feasibility studies to understand which of its existing work places it can install EVCPs into for staff, and potentially public use.
Research from Zap-Map suggests 30 per cent of businesses are willing to share their work charge points with the public. Promoting this type of action (for example, Zap-Work) could significantly increase the public charge point network.
Although we will have limited direct influence, besides within our own organisation, there are several actions we will be able to take to encourage businesses and organisations to install EVCPs. A two-year ULEV Experience project identified this as one of its key lessons learned. This feeds into Objective EV 9 - Communication, Engagement and Guidance.
EV 5: On-Street Charging
With over a third of our residents in the borough not having the ability to charge at home, there will be a need to provide on-street charging for pockets of high population density of households who need support and have no sufficient EVCP infrastructure nearby. This will be especially important near large blocks of flats where parking pressures may already be an existing issue.
Areas will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine what infrastructure is suitable. As HCC typically owns the majority of the highways land, it will be necessary to collaborate with it in instances where we are not the landowner.
We already have a road-verge hardening project in progress which we aim to be able to tie together with EVCP installation on Council-owned land.
As this type of charging infrastructure is more specifically tailored, and will be dependent on a rise in EV ownership to make it viable, installing on-street charging will be more of a medium-term priority. However, in the short-term we will need to be gathering initial area information for where there is likely to be a need and what infrastructure is feasible in each location. This feeds into Objective EV 1 - Data Gathering.
EV 6: Home Charging
Home-chargers will form the most essential part of the EV charging hierarchy and are the cheapest and most convenient method of charging EVs.
Approximately two thirds of households in Dacorum will be able to install an EVCP at home. By doing so, there will be less pressure on both public chargepoints and the National Grid as home chargers will enable users to charge at off-peak times such as overnight by using Smart Charging.
Research from Zap-Map suggests 50 per cent of EV drivers are willing to share their home charge point with others. There are several peer-to-peer platforms that now encourage this (for example, Zap-Home), and promoting this type of action could significantly increase the public charge point network.
Future policy will need to be agreed regarding the use of cables crossing footpaths - for example specialised cable gullies, as this would enable more residents to install wall-mounted EVCPs, reducing the demand for public EVCPs. This could be managed in a similar way to residents applying for dropped kerbs. Permission would need to be provided by HCC, who are currently opposed to this, but it is monitoring trials in other parts of the UK and may change its stance on this as technology evolves.
New development provides the best opportunity to accelerate the scale of provision for EVs and should include charging provision for EV use as standard, as outlined in Dacorum’s aforementioned newly adopted parking standards SPD. From June 2022, new Government legislation came into force requiring all new-build and retrofit homes and commercial buildings in England to be installed with EVCPs.
Our Housing Development team was already making progress with this before legislation was brought in.
We own over 10,000 homes - a percentage of these will be suitable for the installation of home-chargers. As such, work will need to be carried out to decide how best to roll this out to eligible properties.
We will also play an important role in encouraging home owners and landlords to install EVCPs and utilise available funding such as the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme - this will feed heavily into Objective EV 9 - Communication, Engagement and Guidance.
EV 7: EV Car Club
EV car clubs are a Government-recommended measure, which allow users to access an EV without owning one and can offer a flexible, convenient alternative to private car ownership or leasing. Providing EV car clubs allows users to hire EVs for as little as an hour at a time. This method of short-term hiring can help overcome a range of barriers and encourage more people to use EVs.
By providing an alternative to driving a private car, car clubs reduce carbon emissions, air pollution, parking pressure and congestion, while supporting the shift to lower carbon forms of travel.
Local authorities have an essential role to play in this area as they are able to provide access to parking. In Dacorum, we already have provision for an electric car club in our off-street road Traffic Regulation Order, which means that car clubs are permitted to be sited in our Council car parks.
Our EV Residents Survey showed that 70 per cent of respondents would use an EV car club if it were available, with over 15 per cent telling us that they would use it frequently.
Currently the cost of EVs are relatively high - a cost which will fall over the coming years once more are being manufactured and technology around production improves. The high cost of living is currently a limiting factor for people considering purchasing an EV - with more than 90 per cent of respondents to our EV Residents Survey telling us that this was an important concern (it is worth noting that many of these responses were collected before the cost of living crisis).
Furthermore, a key ethos of sustainability is sharing resources. People have a natural tendency to have a ‘fear of the unknown’ and, as such, early actions to help encourage the use of new technology will also encourage uptake.
EV car clubs address all of these barriers and we will play a role in establishing one of these for both staff and public use.
EV car clubs can be procured for use by Council staff as an alternative to grey fleet mileage (personal cars used for work purposes) and to complement pool cars. These vehicles may be for the sole use of Council employees or shared with the public at specific times or days. Sharing use can increase vehicle utilisation rates and improve the financial viability for operators.
Several Hertfordshire local authorities have adopted an early model which allows an EV car club to be used by staff during office hours and then be available to the public during evenings and weekends. Once demand increases, the pool can increase and hours of availability and locations can be adapted accordingly.
Making e-bikes available for staff and public can also help support a transition to alternative electric travel methods. Hire schemes can support residents who want to trial an e-bike before investing in one.
We can explore making use of section 106 obligations to require developers to establish a car club, either as a direct contribution towards car club set-up and operating costs, via a contribution to the local authority for sustainable transport initiatives. This may include car club provision, or to directly cover the costs of a TRO for a car club bay. Community Infrastructure Levy funds can also be used.
We can also work with local businesses and organisations to encourage the uptake of additional EV car pools throughout the borough - this will feed into Objective EV 9 - Communication, Engagement and Guidance.
EV 8: Fleet
The early adoption by businesses and organisations of having their own fleet of EV vehicles will be important for driving the EV market forward. As these groups often purchase new vehicles ordinarily, not only are they in a situation to typically be able to afford this whilst EV prices are relatively higher, but by doing so they will ultimately help to provide more affordable second-hand EVs for the public.
We will work to lead by example and transition our own fleet to EV. The current fleet is made up of around 100 vehicles, with approximately 60 per cent light vehicles, and 40 per cent heavy vehicles. There are also a number of ride-on mowers and other plant machinery.
The heavy vehicles (typically waste collection trucks) and specialised grounds maintenance mowers will take longer to replace due to technology still evolving in these industries, making this a more complicated challenge. It is anticipated that technologies such as hydrogen may develop further in this area, but the pathway to this is still unclear.
As the majority of the waste trucks still have a useful life span of around five years, procurement for these vehicles will be explored as a medium-term action, to allow technology the opportunity to develop. In the meantime we will initially focus on installing charge points in our work places, replacing our light vehicles where this will be more straightforward as the necessary technology already exists and carrying out trials of EV waste trucks. We will also be working to optimise the routes taken by our fleet in order to further reduce the emissions from our vehicles.
Guidance will be provided to local businesses and organisations to encourage them to also make this transition and to make the most of free support - for example the Energy Saving Trust’s free Fleet Advice scheme and Fleet Management Toolkit. Try before you buy hire schemes and other similar initiatives can support local orgs purchasing EVs - taxis especially (for example - Nottinghamshire’s wireless charging taxi trial). These types of actions will feed into Objective EV 9.
EV 9: Communication, Engagement and Guidance
Communication and engagement with local stakeholders - especially residents and organisations - through the provision of advice, guidance and support, will be a fundamental part of our role in supporting the transition to EVs. This will be especially important as EVs are such a fast evolving technology and people requiring updates and information from a reliable, trustworthy source.
We are able to support other organisations transition to EVs in various ways. The Government suggests that local authorities provide support to organisations through methods such as engagement events, try before you buy schemes, charging infrastructure, supporting last mile delivery for organisations and raising awareness of funding such as the Workplace Charging Scheme.
All of the aforementioned objectives EV1-8 will require communication, engagement and guidance to some extent - whether it is through large-scale initiatives, informative social media campaigns, website content, guidance documents, community talks, and so on. Demystifying EVs will help to encourage people to transition more quickly. Information will need to be provided around EV benefits, where people can charge conveniently and the various funding streams and incentives available.
We will be working with other local authorities in Hertfordshire through the HCCSP on joint initiatives to encourage residents and organisations to transition to EVs. One element currently being explored is a Taxi Vehicle Licensing Policy to support the accelerated uptake of EV taxis.
EV 10: Policies and Key Documents
We will ensure that all related EV work is sufficiently supported by, and incorporated into relevant policies and key documents, such as the Local Plan, Transport Plans and other emerging documents.