Cars have the power – electric charging stations come to Reading

PLANS to install electric car charging points across Reading have been welcomed – but there are concerns that the plans don’t go far enough.

Reading Borough Council made a succesful bid for Government funding for five charging sites.

The £127,500 allocated by the Department of Transport will cover 75% of the cost, while the Council will cover the remaining 25% from its Transport budgets or from sponsorship.

The charge points will form part of a new national network which will allow electric car drivers to plan longer journeys and encourage more use of electrically-powered vehicles.

The money includes:

  • £112,500 for the installation of three rapid charge points for electric vehicles at Kenavon Drive, Rivermead and Palmer Park. Rapid chargers typically charge 80% of an electric vehicle’s battery in 20-30 minutes, therefore facilitating longer journeys by enabling drivers to quickly top-up their vehicle.
  • £15,000 for the installation of two fast charge points at Rivermead and Palmer Park. Fast chargers typically charge an electric vehicle’s battery in 3-4 hours, thus serving a different market to rapid chargers (for instance users of the leisure facilities at Rivermead and Palmer Park).

Welcoming the award, the Council’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Tony Page, said: “I am very pleased that the Council’s bid for this funding has been successful. We are committed to supporting Reading’s Climate Change Strategy and this will be an important contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions on local roads.

“Although electric cars are not widely used in Reading at the moment, there is evidence that they are becoming more and more popular across the country as motorists seek less-polluting forms of transport.

“The provision of these charging points will help to encourage local motorists to make the switch from petrol and diesel-powered cars and this will bring environmental benefits.”

The Council says it is keen to work with partner organisations who can provide specialist technical expertise, support and funding for the project.

The low take-up of electric vehicles means that Rob White, the Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Reading East and Councillor for Park Ward, had a cautious welcome for the plans.

“It’s good to hear that we have this funding for more charging points in Reading,” he said.

“However to put this into some perspective in 2012 just 2,237 electric cars were sold and registered for the ‘plug-in car grant’ across the whole country.”

The Green candidate, who is also a councillor for Park Ward, where some of the charging stations will be sited, said that the Government should do more to make greener transport options available to ensure that carbon dioxide targets are met.

“What we really need is massive investment from the Government to improve walking and cycling facilities, as well as making public transport cheaper. This would need to be backed up by a campaign to change people’s habits. Only then we start to see the shift in behaviour that is necessary.”

The Reading East seat is currently held by Conversative MP Rob Wilson. Labour’s candidate is Katesgrove councillor Matt Rhoda. No other candidates have been announced.