Essex Highways, Safer, Greener, Healthier

Electric vehicles (EVs)

Electric vehicles are still more expensive than many ICE cars and vans, but prices are decreasing, and we’ve seen a sharp rise in their use here in Essex. Even with the current grid mix, EVs contribute less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than ICE vehicles over their lifetime but EVs are only part of the solution to transport decarbonisation.

EVs still contribute to congestion – replacing a noisy traffic jam with a silent one. Congestion is financially and socially expensive, costing the UK 37.7 billion pounds a year, an average of £1,168 per driver. They are not free of particulate matter (PM) emissions either, and this has concerns for health.

Less private vehicular travel is by far the most effective way to reduce transport emissions, but where journeys are necessary, then these need to be decarbonised as far as practicably possible.Sustainable transport should be the natural choice for such journeys before network users consider using EVs, irrespective of their advantages.

The net zero transport commitment within Everyone’s Essex (2021) promises to deliver a step-change in sustainable travel across the county by reducing the need to travel and encouraging and enabling a shift towards more sustainable modes of travel. Combined, these changes will be the most effective way of ensuring Essex decarbonises by 2050.

Electric charging points

To support a transition to electric vehicles, motorists must be able to charge them, particularly on longer journeys. By 2030, an absolute minimum of 300,000 publicly accessible charging points are required across the UK. As of 1st April 2022, there were 32,290 public electric vehicle charging devices available in the UK (5,494 rapids). In Essex this figure was 363 (122 rapids), the lowest per 100,000 of population out of the central, south, and eastern regions.

Most charging is done at home, and most UK motorists have access to off-street parking. But in England, it is estimated that around 25% of all households with a vehicle park on-street overnight. This trend is expected to continue, however, the latest Zap Map EV Charging Survey reports that 40% of electric vehicle drivers use public charging at least once a week.

What is the Council doing about it?

Finding solutions which enable residents, especially those without access to off-street parking, to charge their vehicles effectively, reliably, and at fair prices is fundamental. However, different types of charging points charge vehicles quicker than others (see FAQs) and to deliver a step-change in sustainable travel, the right type of charger is needed in the right place. For example, we’re unlikely to consider fast on-street charging in residential areas because the power infrastructure won’t support it.

We are currently exploring options for charging point technologies and solutions and their feasibility and suitability for Essex. In the meantime, existing public charge points can be found here, including Gridserve’s first Electric Forecourt in Braintree:

Zap-Map EV charging app - Download the UK's number one charging app

We are committed to facilitating and supporting an Essex-wide charging network, but we will not be able to install chargepoints outside every house or on every street – after all, drivers don’t have personal petrol stations. To deliver our legal net zero commitments, we need to deter unnecessary travel or encourage more sustainable travel where travel is necessary. We want walking and cycling to be the natural choice for shorter journeys, not the electric car.

Suggest a location for a charging point

If you live in Essex and do not have access to off-street parking or know of any locations where a charging point would be advantageous, please submit a suggestion online. Although we cannot guarantee their delivery, all suggestions are gratefully received and will help us to identify demands for charge points and inform future delivery.

For more information

For more information on electric vehicles, please see the questions and answers.

Questions and answers

General questions

An EV is a vehicle which is either partially or fully powered on electric power. There are two main types: Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV).

The typical charging time for a BEV can range from 30 minutes and up to 12 hours, depending on the speed of the charger and size of the battery. They have a range of between 120-300 miles and are eligible for the Government’s Plug-In Car Grant, whereby people can get a maximum £1500 discount on a new EV under £32,000.

Transport is responsible for 49% of greenhouse gas emissions in Essex, and over 90% of this is caused by vehicular travel. The government has committed to phasing out petrol and diesel fuelled vehicle sales from 2030 and all new vehicles will be zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035.

Lifetime emissions from EV’s currently stand at 30% lower than an ICE vehicle in the UK, which will increase as we move towards renewable energy generation. Compared to an internal combustion engine, BEVs have approximately 99% fewer moving parts that need maintenance. Other advantages include:

  • Create very little noise
  • Have no exhaust, spark plugs, clutch, or gears

Although lower in emissions, EV’s do emit particulate matter (PM) from its brakes and tyres, the same as all vehicles, but PM is particularly harmful to people’s health. The most effective way to reduce emissions is to remove the source of the emissions as much as practicably possible.This means reducing the number of motorised private journeys that take place on Essex’s roads and encouraging as many of the remining trips to be made by more sustainable and active forms of transport, namely walking, cycling, and public transport.

No, an EV is still a vehicle which contributes to congestion and costs the UK economy billions of pounds every year. This causes a lot of lost personal and professional time, which can have widespread financial and social and consequences from delayed and unreliable journey times.

According to the Electric Car Cost Index (2021), EV’s become cheaper than ICE vehicles after 7 years, due to £1,300 lower annual running costs based on the combined costs of purchase price, tax, insurance, fuel/energy, and maintenance. EV drivers save over £900 a year, based on an annual mileage of 12,000 miles. Home charging which accounts for approximately 90% of all EV charging costs an average £405, which compares to an average cost of petrol or diesel of £1,435. Equally, average annual maintenance costs for ICE vehicles are £657, compared with £384 for EV’s. Insurance is typically cheaper for EV’s compared to ICE equivalent vehicles and EV users currently also benefit from not having to pay Vehicle Excise Duty.

While the purchase costs of EV’s are higher than ICE vehicles, which is a deterrent for some, the lower running costs each year (despite rising energy costs) means they are better value for money over the course of the ownership period.

Source: EVs are cheaper to own than petrol and diesel cars over a 7-year period | This is Money

All EV’s are built to meet the same rigorous design and manufacturing regulations as ICE vehicles. EV’s are also engineered to prevent battery fires especially in the event of a collision and they have systems which automatically isolate the battery and disconnect the power in the event of a collision.

Since 1st July 2019, there has been a requirement for all new EV’s to be fitted with an electronic noise emitter. This means that they have devices, usually located behind the front and rear bumpers, which generate a sound at a frequency that is like ICE vehicles at similar speeds. The noise is particularly noticeable when parking, reversing, or travelling below 12mph. From September 2023 manufacturers are also prevented from installing an acoustic vehicle alert systems (AVAS) pause switch.

Source: How safe are electric cars? | Autocar

Charging

There are many different types and providers for home charging points. The best option will depend on your circumstances and these range in price from around £400 upwards. Unfortunately, from April 2022, the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVhS) whereby the government provided rant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing EV smart chargepoints at domestic properties across the UK is no long open to homeowners (including those with mortgages) who live in single-unit properties such as bungalows, detached, semi-detached or terraced housing. It will however remain open to people who live in flat or in rental accommodation. For more information, please see: Grant schemes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Please ensure you use an approved installer and electrician with charging point knowledge and skills to install your charging points safely. Chargers installed by unapproved electricians could mean your charge point warranty becomes void, which could prove costly should anything go wrong.

No, under the Highways Act 1980 (section 178), residents are not permitted to place any wires over, along or across a highway without the consent of the highway authority for the highway. Due to the safety issues that trailing charging cables bring, ECC as the highway authority do not permit them across, over, or along the highway and will likely take enforcement action to remove the cable, should it become aware of such existence. ECC is exploring opportunities to increase the ability of residents to charge EV’s, particularly where they do not have access to off-street parking, because EV’s are a part of the solution for driving down carbon emissions.

Most EVs and non-rapid EV chargers in the UK are compatible with either a Type 1 or Type 2 inlet socket which are supplied with the vehicle. Rapid chargers have tethered cables that are permanently connected to the charging unit. But most rapid chargers have two of the most used rapid charge connectors (CHAdeMO and CCS) and users select the one that fits their EV.

The Renault Zoe is the only EV vehicle in the UK that takes AC rapid charging and uses a different connector, but most rapid chargers will have this available as a third cable.

Tesla uses its own rapid chargers called the Tesla Super Chargers and which cannot be used by other types of EVs.

Your EV dealer, lease company or handbook will let you know what type of charging port it has. The simplest way to locate suitable charging points is by using Zap-Map or another provider. Zap-map is particularly useful as it can be filtered by connector type, EV type, charging speed and shows the status of the charger. Source: Electric car charging – how it works and how much it costs | RAC Drive

The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging points for eligible business charities and public sector organisations. For more information and how to apply, please visit: Grant schemes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Most EVs and non-rapid EV chargers in the UK are compatible with either a Type 1 or Type 2 inlet socket which are supplied with the vehicle. Rapid chargers have tethered cables that are permanently connected to the charging unit. But most rapid chargers have two of the most used rapid charge connectors (CHAdeMO and CCS) and users select the one that fits their EV.

The Renault Zoe is the only EV vehicle in the UK that takes AC rapid charging and uses a different connector, but most rapid chargers will have this available as a third cable.

Tesla uses its own rapid chargers called the Tesla Super Chargers and which cannot be used by other types of EVs.

Your EV dealer, lease company or handbook will let you know what type of charging port it has. The simplest way to locate suitable charging points is by using Zap-Map or another provider. Zap-map is particularly useful as it can be filtered by connector type, EV type, charging speed and shows the status of the charger.

Source: Electric car charging – how it works and how much it costs | RAC Drive

There are three main charging options for EV drivers: slow, fast, and rapid. The speed at which a vehicle is charged is measured in Kilowatts (kW). Slow chargers are around 3kW, taking on average around 10-14 hours to charge. These are ideal for using at home and at workplaces. A fast charge is classed as 7kW-22kW and will charge in around 4 to 6 hours. Rapid chargers are 50kW-120kW and will provide a full charge in about an hour.

Technically this is allowed, however it is recommended that you get the permission from the user whose car is plugged in to a charging point. If this is not possible, and it is not an absolute emergency, please refrain from unplugging any vehicles from charging. As an EV user you can then expect the same courtesy shown to you.

No, charging points and associated EV charging parking bays that are installed on the highway can and will be accessible to everyone.

If you on intending to mainly charge from home and travel locally, then you may not feel or have the need to join a public charging network. However, if you are intending on using your EV for longer journeys and need to charge away from home, then you will need to consider which network(s) would be suitable. For more information, please see: Guide to electric car charging - EV charging for beginners (zap-map.com).