8 lessons for developing successful EV strategies

April 11, 2022

1. Prioritise mode shift over electrification. It is crucial that all EV strategies recognise that walking, cycling and public transport are the preferred means of travel and sustainable modes should always be prioritised over electrification.

2. An effective EV strategy should be tailored to the local context. Context varies across the UK and it’s important to tailor the strategy to the needs of local communities. For example, in our most recent strategy for Blackpool, the strategy is being specifically tailored towards local needs which includes acknowledging high levels of deprivation and the needs of the visitor economy. Extensive and ongoing stakeholder engagement is key to this tailoring. It provides an in-depth understanding of local needs, challenges and opportunities.

3. Strategies need to set out the role of key players, to provide clarity on how the vision will be delivered and to ensure key actors are clear of their roles and responsibilities. Delivery of adequate charging infrastructure creates many interdependences between sectors and groups, including local authorities, charge point operators and district network operators. Providing clarity on roles and responsibilities will help maximise outcomes.

4. Charging infrastructure should be accessible to all. This includes charging infrastructure being accessible to people with disabilities or dexterity impairments and ensuring that infrastructure does not impede movement on the footway (e.g. to pushchair or wheelchair users).

5. We must develop inclusive strategies which consider the needs of all users. All too often charging infrastructure has responded to the needs of more affluent groups. This has resulted in households without off-street parking being underrepresented in EV adoption to date. We also need to take a strategic and spatial approach to charging provision to address and prevent gaps in the network.

6. Successful delivery models are a key component to the successful roll out of charging infrastructure. By providing projections of demand and infrastructure requirements EV strategies are a key tool for supporting funding bids to Government and leveraging investment from the private sector including charge point operators.

7. The cost of grid upgrades remains a significant barrier, particularly to the roll out of rapid charge points. We also need to consider the burden that a fully electric fleet will place on the energy network. Continued and sustained investment in the transition and distribution network, as well as continued investment and development in smart charging (including vehicle-to-grid and smart charging) will be key.

8. There are risks and lost opportunities if we address the decarbonisation of vehicle types in silo. To support future proofing we need to think beyond the immediate focus on electrifying cars and light goods vehicles and consider the broader interplays as we begin to decarbonise buses and heavy goods vehicles. A wider approach will help us maximise the use of charging infrastructure, minimise the need for energy upgrades and help avoid the proliferation of charging infrastructure. Local authorities considering how to share their bus charging infrastructure with the public provide a prime example of how we can harness opportunities across vehicle types.

We are working with many clients to deliver successful EV strategies across the UK. If you are part of an organisation looking to implement EV infrastructure and would like to discuss your situation further, please call us on +44 (0)1392 574250 or email info@cityscience.com