CARDIFF will need nearly 10,000 electric vehicle charging points by 2025 to cope with the expected increase in electric cars.
The city will then need 40,000 charging points by 2030, according to the Welsh Government, assuming nine out of 10 vehicles will be electric in 2035.
It’s unclear how many of those charge points would be attached to homes or garages and how many would be publicly available. Cardiff currently has fewer than 100 charging points, according to the latest figures.
The thousands of extra charging points are just one part of a massive shift in how the city’s transport will change over the coming decade in the push to get to carbon neutral by 2030.
Other major shifts to how people get around the city include car clubs similar to the Nextbike bike-sharing scheme, potential pilots of electric scooter sharing schemes, hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, and charging drivers from outside of Cardiff £2 a day to use the roads in the city.
About 40 percent of carbon emissions in Cardiff come from transport. In 2018, road transport in the city emitted 645 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to climate change.
To reduce carbon emissions, sales of vehicles fuelled only by diesel or petrol will be banned in 2030. This will likely lead to a surge in the number of electric vehicles, with many more adverts for electric cars and vans already showing on television often.
But Cardiff council faces many challenges in adapting the city’s infrastructure to accommodate this surge, like whether the electricity grid can cope with the extra demand, what type of technology to use, and where to put these thousands of new charging points.
Council leader Huw Thomas said:
“I think this technology has some way to go in maturing. The idea of wholly shifting our car usage to a system charged via domestic household electricity actually has significant implications for climate change, in terms of generating that electricity. So there is that degree of impracticality.”
The challenges around the shift to electric vehicles were discussed by the council’s environmental scrutiny committee on Tuesday, May 11. Councillors on the committee received an embargoed report on the council’s One Planet strategy, the action plan to get Cardiff to net-zero by 2030. The full report will be published next week.
The report includes the Welsh Government’s prediction on how many charging points will be needed, the projects the council is already working on to cut carbon emissions, and the responses to a huge public consultation held over the winter about the net-zero plan.
Andrew Gregory, the council’s director of planning, transport, and environment, told councillors another challenge with electric vehicles was choosing which technology to invest in, and the risk that some charging points may soon become redundant.
“We’re moving as quickly as possible. There’s a wide range of proposals coming forward for fast chargers, chargers in residential areas, new technologies in terms of how that is provided through specific bespoke charging points or through existing infrastructure like bollards.
“But we don’t want to go ahead of the technology and make some presumptions about how this is going to be in two to three years in terms of the type of connections. Other cities have done that and are now finding they have got a load of redundant infrastructure that they have put in. So [we’re] trying to get the right balance.”
Other challenges include where to put them and the strain on the grid. Council experts are predicting drivers will increasingly often choose to charge their cars at destinations like supermarkets or gyms, rather than overnight. Electricity distribution network operators are warning there is not enough capacity in some places to cater for a big increase in charging.
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