Lack of chargers slows electric car sales

Car dealers have warned that a lack of rapid charging points in Cumbria is preventing sales of electric vehicles from taking off

A lack of facilities to charge electric cars is holding back sales in Cumbria. A grant of £562,500 was awarded to Cumbria County Council last year to install a network of rapid chargers. These devices are capable of recharging an electric car in 30 minutes, while conventional charging points take several hours.

However, 15 months after the funding was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg there is still no sign of the points being rolled out.

Currently, the only rapid charging points in Cumbria are located at Southwaite, Tebay, and Killington services on the M6.

These points were expected to be supplemented with additional charging stations in Carlisle, Penrith, Keswick, Cockermouth, Kendal, Barrow, Workington, Whitehaven, and Millom. This was expected to cost around £35,000 to £40,000 each.

Solway Renewables, the firm that helped the council secure the cash, has expressed its frustration at the delay. Director Suzanne Burgess said making charging points more widely available would give Cumbrian motorists greater confidence to buy.

She said: “Dealers are telling us that people aren’t buying electric cars because there is so little coverage with rapid chargers.

“I don’t understand what the issue is. Cumbria County Council don’t have to contribute any money – it’s fully funded.”

Electric cars have a range of around 80 to 100 miles between charges. The council said it had yet to decide whether or not to take up the government grant.

A spokesman said: “We are still assessing the viability of the scheme and whether to accept the offer of funding from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

“The OLEV offer is contingent on a number of contract conditions, and we have not yet decided whether it is viable for Cumbria or not.”

However, the county councils said it remained committed to having electric vehicles in its own fleet.

Cumbrian Nissan dealer J Edgar & Sons said they had sold around 25 electric vehicles to date.

General Manager Jason Edgar said: “The main reason we haven’t sold more is the lack of charging infrastructure.”


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