Charge is on to plug gap in electric-car revolution

DRIVERS of electric vehicles (EVs) in Northumberland have received a further helping hand now that two charging posts have been installed in Ponteland.

The 3kw/7kw double bay chargers at the car park off Thornhill Road can accommodate both existing EVs, which use the current three-pin plug, and new vehicles coming onto the market that can get a quicker charge through the 7kw side.

The charging points were put in place to plug a gap in the network within Northumberland and prepare for the expected surge in EV sales, with the Nissan Leaf going into production in the region next year.

The county council benefited from a 100 per cent subsidy introduced by Charge your Car, the North East’s Plugged in Places scheme, to ensure the region is fully ‘joined-up’ with charging points.

Sustainable Transport Officer Sarah Rowell said: “Northumberland County Council is committed to working with Charge your Car to install a comprehensive network of charging posts across the county.

“The new charger at Thornhill Road in Ponteland will help to ensure that there is an even spread of charging points throughout Northumberland.

“The location was also identified as having the potential to increase electric car ownership so the installation is a way of future-proofing ourselves ahead of the expected upturn.”

To date it has installed charging points at five locations throughout the county, including Morpeth, Hexham and Alnwick, and it is currently considering putting in place another two.

The council has further demonstrated its commitment to EVs by taking part in the on-going SwitchEV electric car pilot programme. 

The third EV to be trialled by its officers is a Nissan Leaf, which is being used between May and October.

Charge your Car Project Manager Josey Wardle said: “We are delighted with the way the network is progressing with the support from partners like Northumberland County Council.

“It’s important that EV drivers have easy access to charging points, wherever they are in the region and the new site in Ponteland works to plug a gap in the network.

“We’d urge other organisations and businesses to take advantage of the funding that’s in place towards the installation of EV charging points while it’s in place.”

The project was launched in early 2010 after North East England was named as one of the first three areas to put in place a comprehensive EV infrastructure and given funding to support the installation of charging posts in car parks, on streets, at residential and in commercial locations.

To date there are almost 500 charging points installed throughout the region.

The Charge your Car team caters for regular and ad-hoc EV users via its membership scheme and innovative PAYG facility.

A 100 per cent subsidy is still available for a limited time for businesses and organisations in Northumberland wishing to have a charging point installed on their premises.

For more information, telephone 0191 490 2474 or visit www.leadthecharge.org.uk