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Wokingham leading the charge for electric vehicles

Published: 19 Apr 2014 09:300 comments

THERE are calls for more charging points to encourage people to have electric cars.

Wokingham Borough Council has announced plans for five new charging points over the next year – but Bracknell Forest Council said it had no plans to introduce any.

Bracknell resident Dan Gilbert, who had an electric car delivered last September, said: “There seems to be a lack of interest from the [Bracknell] council regarding charge points in the area generally, we have Waitrose and BMW and I believe one on the High Street, but we asked about one outside the house and were basically told no.

“With regeneration coming can they not look at improving facilities that will benefit the environment?”

Bracknell Forest Council communications officer Sue Boyce, said: “Bracknell Forest Council does not provide any electrical charging points currently because there is still very little demand for them.

“People who own electric cars tend to charge them overnight at home. However, we will continue to monitor the numbers and the changes in this technology and may review the situation in the future.”

Wokingham Borough Council will introduce five charging points over the coming year.

These will be at the car parks at Shute End and Wokingham railway station, plus a site in Emmbrook yet to be decided and the new park and rides at Winnersh Triangle and Mereoak, Three Mile Cross.

Dual charging points are planned for the new park and rides, while single points should be introduced at the other locations.

There will be a cost to use the charging points, yet to be determined.

The project is being funded by a £265,000 grant from Department of Transport.

Cllr Chris Singleton – borough councillor for Emmbrook who drives an electric car, a Prius – said: “I’m delighted we have moved in this direction, and I hope other areas will follow suit.

“We must recognise that the investment is required as with any infrastructure. I think that someone has to take the initiative on this; if there aren’t charging points people aren’t going to have the ambition [to buy an elec-

tric car] and they won’t invest.

“There has to be a lead taken on this. We have decided to do it locally and I hope that more people will do so.”

Cllr Keith Baker, executive member for strategic planning and highways, said the initiative would give “forward-thinking” residents access to the latest technology. The move was welcomed by BMW, which has its UK head office in Ellesfield Avenue, Bracknell, and has charging points after introducing an electric car, the I3, last year.

Gavin Ward, media relations manager for the car giant, said: “They were all installed last year, it’s still very early days.

“It’s been a bit of a chicken and egg situation where no-one wants to install charging points if there are no cars, but no-one wants to buy the cars if there are no charging points.

“We would welcome anything that moves the situation along.”

The Department of Transport grant comes from a national pot of more than £9m from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, to which car giant has contributed some cash.

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