Solihull’s Electric Vehicle Strategy has been developed with the central aim of ensuring that when any existing petrol or diesel powered vehicle owned or operated in the borough is sold or scrapped, it is replaced with an electric vehicle, leading to reductions in carbon emissions and improvements in air quality.
The strategy seeks to address current barriers while supporting the widespread transition to electric vehicles, which is now rapidly accelerating following international, national, regional and borough wide climate commitments.
To accompany the strategy an EV Action Plan has also been produced which establishes series of achievable commitments set against clearly defined timeframes.
- Reliable, convenient and affordable charging in the borough
- Awareness of the benefits and availability of services
- Engagement to understand and address challenges and concerns
- Council leading the way
- Clean air
- Reduced carbon emissions
- Sustainable economic growth
Solihull’s Electric Vehicle Strategy sets out a clear roadmap towards achieving these outcomes by focussing on expanding charging infrastructure, and putting electric vehicles at the centre of future planning, parking and public transport decisions. It also looks at how we will promote electric vehicles through our advocacy and outreach and incorporate them into the Council’s own operations and resources.
The strategy forms part of the Council’s wider UK Central Solihull programme, delivering key infrastructure projects to support sustainable and inclusive growth across the borough and to complement the investment stimulated by the connectivity associated with the forthcoming HS2 Interchange Station.
In 2021 the Council commissioned an electric vehicle charging demand modelling project to establish the number of public charge points that we’ll need in Solihull by 2030. You can read the Jump Start Report here.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
An electric vehicle (EV) is any vehicle that is powered by an electric motor. When we talk about electric vehicles, we usually mean vehicles that are solely powered by an electric motor which runs off the power supplied by a battery pack which can be recharged by plugging the vehicle in (see Vehicle Charging). These electric vehicles are known as BEVs (battery electric vehicles) or sometimes full(y) electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle is also often used as an umbrella term for any vehicle using an electric motor all or some of the time. The Energy Saving Trust website explains the differences…
All you need to know about electric vehicles - Energy Saving Trust
Electric vehicles typically cost more to buy or lease than internal combustion vehicles (ICE), often around a third more on a like for like basis. They do however cost significantly less to run with home charging offering the cheapest way to recharge and at a cost up to ten times lower than running a petrol vehicle. BEVs (battery electric vehicles) also tend to need less maintenance as they are mechanically less complex and have fewer moving parts.
EVs convert almost all the energy stored in the battery directly into motive power but may be less efficient when heating or air conditioning is in use. As a result, the driving range may be reduced in the winter or on very hot days. BEVs are therefore much more energy and cost efficient to run than ICE vehicles, which typically convert less than a third of the energy in the fuel into motive power. Like any vehicle, the aerodynamics, weight and rolling resistance will ultimately determine how energy efficient the vehicle is.
As a rule of thumb, if you drive more than 5,000 miles per year you are likely to be better off switching to an electric vehicle sooner rather than later. If you drive less than this and don’t need to change your vehicle in the short term, you may be better off keeping your current vehicle until the cost of new and second hand vehicles is more comparable with ICE vehicles.
As far as you like, but you will have to plug it in now and then! The range an electric vehicle will travel in between charges depends on many factors such as battery size, efficiency, load, and weather conditions. The average weekly distance driven by UK drivers is around 125 miles, meaning all but the very smallest urban EVs will likely only need to be charged up once a week. Ranges can vary from 50 miles up to well over 400 miles, but most new EVs coming to market are capable of 200 miles or more real-world range. Almost all EVs can be charged quickly on a DC charger like you may find at a motorway service station. In the time it takes to stop off for a loo break and a cup of coffee you could add around 75-150 miles of driving range by plugging in at a 100kW+ ‘rapid’ charger.
Yes, although it’d be better not to use a personal vehicle at all if you can help it.
Whilst the benefits to local air quality from eliminating exhaust emissions are clear, generating power to recharge batteries does displace emissions from the vehicle to power generation equipment located elsewhere. This is still much better in terms of air quality and CO2 emissions than burning fuel in an internal combustion engine and will only get cleaner over time as the UK electricity supply moves towards being zero emission by 2035.
Because they contain batteries that typically contain materials that can be energy consuming to extract and harder to reuse or recycle than components of combustion vehicles, the environmental impact of producing an electric vehicle can be higher. This is quickly offset though by the reduced impacts over the lifecycle of the vehicle.
Read more about the common misconceptions about electric vehicles on Gov.uk.
Public charging, as the name suggests, is where EV charging sockets are provided by a charge point operator or organisation and are available for members of the public to use. All public chargers must have a means of ad-hoc payment, such as a website or mobile app, to allow drivers to pay for a charging session without having to register or set up a subscription.
There are 3 main types of public charging for electric vehicles.
Transit Charging – Transit charging is aimed at drivers who need to charge quickly, either to complete a work duty cycle or because they are on a journey that exceeds the range of the vehicle. Transit chargers are mostly provided where recharging of vehicles is the primary reason for a stop, but there will often be some sort of amenity or rest stop offering close by. Because it requires a lot of power to charge quickly, transit charging tends to be more expensive than other forms of public charging.
Destination Charging – Charging at a destination such as a supermarket, town centre car park or leisure facility is typically a secondary reason for parking at that location but offers drivers the chance to charge their car whilst doing something else. The speed of the charger will typically be matched to the likely parking dwell time. The Council will be putting in place up to 500 destination chargers by 2026 and there are likely to be a similar number in privately owned car parks in Solihull before 2030. Prices for destination charging can vary depending on the location. Some may be free, whilst others may charge a fee. Where a fee is paid it will likely be more expensive than charging at home but cheaper than transit charging. In some cases, the fee for charging may incorporate the cost of parking, so despite being a higher unit rate it could work out very close to home or on-street charging prices.
Nearby Charging – Chargers placed at the roadside (on-street), or in free communal parking areas close to residential dwellings are known as ‘nearby’ chargers. Nearby chargers are typically slower than transit and destination chargers as they are aimed at residents who park there overnight or during the day. Because the charging power is lower, nearby chargers are typically the cheapest form of public charging and offer residents an affordable charging option within walking distance of home. Although not quite as cheap as charging on a home EV tariff, residents do not need to pay for or maintain a home charger, and an alternative is likely to be available nearby if the nearest charger is unavailable. Nearby chargers can also be useful for drivers of work vans than cannot park and charge them off-street.
If you’d like to suggest a location for the installation of a public nearby or destination charge point, you can email us at email@example.com
The Energy Saving Trust has published useful guidance on its website that makes getting to grips with charging at home or on the move easy. They’ve also produced useful videos covering the basics of Electric Vehicle Home Charging, Public Charging, electric vehicles for disabled drivers and electric vehicle servicing and maintenance.
If you can, then we’d recommend you do. Charging at home is typically the cheapest way to run an electric vehicle. A home charger may cost in the region of £1,000, but the upfront cost is likely to be paid back by savings against refuelling/recharging at a forecourt within 3 years depending on how far the vehicle is driven.
You may be able to get a charger fitted for free through the dealership or lease company you go with for a new EV.
You can only fit a charger at home if you have an area of hardstanding suitable for parking your car off-street, such as a driveway or garage. If you don’t already off-street parking, but do have sufficient space, you’d need to create an area of permeable hardstanding and apply for a vehicle access crossing (VAC/dropped kerb) before your charger can be installed.
All new home chargers must be smart, which means that they can access the internet and can be programmed to charge only at certain time or under certain conditions, such as when your home solar panels are generating enough power, at a schedule specified by the driver, when electricity is cheapest if you’re on a flexible home energy tariff, or when the carbon intensity of the electricity network is below a certain level.
In future, home chargers are likely to allow compatible vehicles to discharge power back into your home, so you could use your car battery to meet expensive peak energy demand before recharging it during a cheaper off-peak period. This is known as vehicle-to-home (V2H/V2X) or bi-directional charging.
If you are the homeowner, you do not need permission from the Council to install a home charger provided you have a suitable area for off-street parking such as a driveway or garage. If you are a tenant or leaseholder, you will need permission from the owner / landlord. Solihull Community Housing have delegated authority to permit installation of a charger if your property is owned by the Council. You do not need planning permission to install a charger for off street parking unless the property is a listed building.
Yes, permission will only be granted if you already have a dropped kerb and hardstanding. If you do not have an off-street parking space but do have a dedicated blue badge (disabled) parking space directly outside your home, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options.
Permission will not be granted for an EV charger from your home supply if you live in a Council owned flat or house with a communal parking area because you need legal entitlement to a parking space and charging cables cannot be trailed over public land, such as pavements, even temporarily. SCH tenants can contact SCH directly or email email@example.com to express an interest in having a shared EV charger fitted within a communal parking area.
If you live in a privately owned flat or house with a communal parking area, your landlord or managing agent may be able to arrange for a shared EV charger to be fitted by an OZEV approved installer. This may be cheaper for tenants than using public chargers and could generate an additional income for private landlords.
Landlords may be eligible for financial support through the EV ChargePoint grant for Landlords.
Your car charger needs to be as close to where you normally park your car as possible. The charger cannot face directly onto the highway or be within two metres of it. You'll need an electricity supply to whichever location you choose, with a dedicated connection on your home's consumer unit to provide enough power.
The installer may require the consumer unit upgrading to accommodate the charger. This must be done prior to the installation taking place. If you live in a Council property you must contact SCH for further advice before authorising any changes to the consumer unit (fuse board).
Check the length of cable that comes with the charger or car you're considering buying, and make sure it will reach the charging point on your car. You should ensure the cable is long enough that you can avoid pulling the cable taught or parking your car at an angle to get it to plug in.
Finally, consider where the cable will be while the car is charging. Try to avoid having it trailing across an area where you walk regularly as it may be a trip hazard, particularly at night.
Yes, the charger cannot be larger than 0.2 cubic metres which if it was a box, it would be 20cm x 20cm x 20cm.
Your electric vehicle charging point must only be installed by a skilled person registered with a competent persons scheme and authorised by OZEV. Charge point installations must have an RCD built into the unit and be installed in accordance with:
BS EN 61851-1:2019
The current edition of the IET Wiring Regulations – currently BS 7671:2018+A1:2020
The recommendations of the IET Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installations (as amended)
The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations.
The installation should consider the requirements of BS 8300:2009+A1:2010 and the requirements of disabled people.
The final installation shall be in accordance with the current edition of the Building Regulations Part P (Electrical Safety – Dwellings).
Equipment installed shall meet the applicable minimum IP ratings set out in BS EN 61851-1:2019 and BS 7671:2018 according to the usage location.
The electrical supply of the final installation should allow the charging equipment to operate at full rated capacity. Where local supply constraints prevent operation at full rated capacity, the charging equipment shall be classified according to actual output capacity.
The charge point installers must also notify the relevant Distribution Network Operator (DNO) directly of the installation of a charge point. Full guidance for the electric vehicle connection process can be found on the Energy Networks Association (ENA) website. This is to minimise the chance of power quality issues to electricity customers.
If you live in a Council property, a copy of the Electrical Installation Certificate must be provided to SCH on completion of works along with the make and model of the charger unit and a clear photo of the installed charging point.
In the event you want to remove the charger, the Government regulations compel you to remove the charging point “as soon as reasonably practicable” and reinstate the wall or patch of ground to its previous condition. If you simply no longer want to use it, but don’t mind it being there, you can simply isolate it at the consumer unit (fuse board) and leave it in place. You must however ensure that the equipment is not damaged or left in an unsafe condition.
The Council has made a commitment to reduce its own operational CO2e emissions to net zero by 2030 and to be a net zero Borough by 2041 through the Net Zero Action Plan (NZAP).
This will be achieved through the actions in the NZAP, through the Solihull Connected transport strategy and through ‘Going Electric’ our Electric Vehicle Strategy and Action Plan.
The Council operates a fleet of around 65 vehicles, with Solihull Community Housing (SCH) operating around 75 in addition.
By the middle of 2022 8 Council vehicles were full battery electric. 20% of the Council fleet vehicle are set to be full battery electric by the middle of 2023.
All Council and SCH vehicles are scheduled to be switched to battery electric by the end of 2025, and all Council contractors will be required to operate only zero tailpipe emission vehicle by the end of 2030 (sooner in some cases).
The Council is establishing a Workplace and Depot Charging Working Group to define the strategy that will enable full electrification of the Council fleet and support other fleet operators. The Working Group will be established by the end of 2022.
Whilst the Council is not legally required to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure, we recognise that as a Local Authority and Highways Authority we are in a unique position to be able to support the transition away from polluting internal combustion engines toward vehicles with no harmful tailpipe emissions.
Alongside WMCA, National Grid and Western Power Distribution we have the ability to ensure that private investment into electric vehicle recharging infrastructure is targeted to meet the needs of Solihull businesses and residents.
The Council owns a small portfolio of 62 public electric charging connectors that are operated under contract by SWARCO through their E.Connect network. Other public chargers in the Borough are owned and operated by third party organisations, and other than requiring relevant planning permission and or traffic regulation orders, are not within the direct control of the Council. Mapping services like Zap Map show a live view of all of the public charging devices currently in operation in Solihull and beyond.
Yes. We have modelled future EV charging demand for Solihull out to 2030 to identify the number and types of charging devices needed to keep ahead of demand. You can find the results of that modelling exercise in our Jump Start report, and you can see more about how we plan to enable provision of infrastructure ahead of the demand curve in our Going Electric Action Plan.