Edinburgh’s electric car drivers are set to be given more time

Tuesday April 23rd 2024


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

Edinburgh’s electric car drivers are set to be given more time at council-operated charging points.

Maximum stay periods across all types of chargers will be extended after an annual review found some customers said current limits were “too short”.

The council said the changes were also being implemented “in recognition of increases in vehicle battery sizes”.

If approved by councillors at the transport committee on Thursday the maximum stay at ‘rapid’ EV chargers (50kW) will increase from one hour to 90 minutes from “early summer”.

“Such an increase would better meet demand whilst still helping to achieve a turnover of vehicles and customers using rapid chargers,” a report going to the committee said.

At ‘fast’ chargers (22kW) the limit will jump from three hours to eight hours. At park and ride sites, this will increase to 16 hours so that “people spending the day in the city for work or other purposes need not rush back to attend to their vehicle”.

However while maximum stays at fast bays are currently only enforced from 8am to 8pm they “must now be applied 24/7” due to changes to the payment service provider used by Charge Place Scotland, which is used by all Scottish councils to host their chargers.

The stay limit at on-street ‘standard’ charge points (7kW) will remain 12 hours while also being lifted to 16 hours at park and rides.

The report said the Charge Place Scotland network “does not have the required functionality” to stop units from charging once a vehicle battery reaches a certain level, so such an approach was unfortunately “not currently feasible”.

Transport convener Scott Arthur said: “One of the issues is that as EV usage in the city grows, as do the charging rates and charging ability of cars. So it’s important we review how we’re operating our infrastructure in terms of where it is and also how long people can charge for.”

Meanwhile Cllr Arthur mooted plans to raise parking permit charges for electric vehicles, which are currently included in the lowest size band.

“The current band set-up is really designed for diesel and petrol cars and most people know that the bigger your engine, the more you pay for your permit,” he said. “But if you’ve got an electric car, no matter how big it is, you get the lowest band parking permit.

“I think we’re at a stage now where we can afford to review that because what we want to discourage is people swapping big petrol of diesel cars for big electric cars. Quite a lot of people, particularly in the city centre, feel intimidated by larger vehicles moving around.

“Perhaps it was last reviewed when EVs were first coming on the scene and we really wanted to encourage people to use them, so they were set at that lower level – or left at that lower level – but I think now EVs are becoming more mainstream it makes sense.”

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