First street charger signals the new era of electric vehicles

Nusrat Ghani
POWERPOINT: Head of sustainability at the Council, Matt Bailey, and the new EV car charger

The device on Mount Pleasant Road can be used by two vehicles, with one side reserved for taxis to encourage the take-up of e-taxis in the town. The other side is available for use by all other EVs.

The ‘rapid’ charging point is located right next to the main taxi rank outside the station.

The Council has added EV chargers in several of its car parks in Tunbridge Wells and Southborough already, but this is the first kerbside charging point.

Users will be able to park their vehicles for up to an hour and recharge the battery while they go shopping in the town centre.

It comes as the government hopes to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2030, but local Labour councillors say TWBC is not doing enough to meet this intended change.

The Times reported last year that to install enough on-street EV chargers just to meet the current 2,930 people who hold residential parking permits, so do not have a drive or garage, could cost in excess of £32million.

Southborough & High Brooms councillor Luke Everitt commented that there is money available for the Council to meet this demand.

He said: “Currently, if you are a resident in this Borough who lives in a property with no off-road parking you cannot own an electric vehicle, should you be in a position to do so.”

He continued: “Both Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Kent County Council are eligible to apply for this funding but are failing to be proactive and equally failing residents who are in a position to own an electric vehicle to reduce greenhouse emissions and pollution.”

TWBC says its policy on installation of EV chargers is to see how demand for on-street charging evolves over time.

The unveiling of the new on-street car charger comes as a consultation on the plan for the future provision of electric vehicle chargers in the town closed this week.

TWBC say they will share the results of the consultation, which closed on Monday (July 5], with Kent County Council who, as the highway authority, are responsible for considering the provision of electric vehicle chargers on-street in Tunbridge Wells.

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