Collaboration the key to going further and faster in delivering local charging infrastructure – panel

A panel of local authority experts working every day on delivering electric vehicle charging networks have agreed that talking across the industry is vital to speed up delivery of charging networks.

The experts from Lancashire, Suffolk, Coventry and Midlands Connect were speaking at the Transport+Energy Forum in Birmingham.

During their initial descriptions of the projects they worked on, they all agreed that actually implementing charging schemes took longer than they would have liked. Even once their funding had been approved, they all said how they faced issues revolved around planning, procurement and legal matters.

Shamala Evans-Gadgil from Coventry said that, while she received the funding for trials of charging implementation in council-owned car parks, micromobility hubs and wireless charging in disabled bays, they hadn’t begun installation yet, while Matthew Ling of Suffolk bemoaned how “the time taken to procure things is really slow.” He also talked about how, in his trial of community-run chargepoints required training and expertise, rather than just “giving the equipment to the communities – that isn’t enough.”

Debbie King of Lancashire had sympathy for why things take so long, explaining that while EV charging is the number one issue for people tasked with delivering it, in a local authority “you need different teams to support the projects – such as legal, procurement and planning – and they’re all working on a hundred different projects.”

When Transport+Energy asked the panellists how things can be speeded up, Midlands Connect’s Bharat Pathania was unequivocal. “Knowledge sharing,” he said, and dealing with “the elephant in the room – planning,” where he said things would be speeded up if you can use tools to give you the right planning and data.

Matthew Ling concluded by saying that events such as the Transport+Energy Forum are essential for making things happen quicker because they allow people to learn from others’ experiences. “Talk to each other – learn from each other to speed things up,” he said. “Use every resource you can.  Make sure you ask people so what you put in place in your contracts is better than it would’ve been.  Put in standards, and extract all you know and interpret what it means.”

(Picture shows session chair Chris Rimmer of Cenex (standing) then L-R, Debbie, Shamala, Matthew, Bharat)

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