Electric cars: Fees brought in to stop drivers using charging points as free parking

ELECTRIC car owners are to be charged for powering up their vehicles at council charging points.

Fees will be introduced from November 16 after members of Fife Council’s economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee gave the plans the green light this week.

There are more than 40 public power units in car parks and transport interchanges across Fife including the park & rides at Halbeath and Ferrytoll, and Dunfermline Queen Margaret railway station.

By charging to use the Electric Vehicle (EV) points, the council says they can continue to maintain the existing network, making it more accessible and financially sustainable.

The fees will be 15p/kWh, plus a £1.60 connection charge per session. This means an average cost for electric vehicle users of 4.3p per mile.

Committee convener Councillor Altany Craik said that the fees would allow them to increase their offering for electrical vehicle owners.

“There’s a growing acceptance, in this era of severe budget pressures on local authorities, for the need to introduce fees for the EV charging network and move towards a self-sustaining service,” he said. “By investing in the network of charge points, we can ensure future growth.

“We also want to give people suitable and convenient access to our charging points so would like to remind users that parking bays with EV charging points are for charging only, not parking, and that any non-EV or an EV not connected to the charge point will be liable to a Penalty Charge Notice.

“Electric cars continues to offer substantial savings compared to the cost of an equivalent petrol or diesel car. We hope that the continued growth of our EV network will accelerate the use of green vehicles and further advance a green revolution.”

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By the end of 2020, the number of public charging points in Fife is set to increase to 68. Government grants cover the installation and initial five-year maintenance costs with Fife Council footing the bill for energy, long-term maintenance and replacement costs.

As reported by the Press in November last year, the measures – which had been due to be come into operation in April but were delayed by COVID – also aim to tackle current misuse where public charging points across Fife are being used by drivers for all-day free parking.

Senior manager for roads and transportation, Derek Crowe, said that the use of electric vehicles was increasing but the council’s current approach was not working.

“The infrastructure is not working as it was intended to work,” he said. “We see cars sitting in charging spots all day, who are maybe only charging for short periods of time, so they can make use of free, all-day parking.”

Analysis found that while the average charging time on the ‘trickle’ type of charger was less than an hour, cars were being left in the free parking space for an average of six hours.


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