Solihull has the highest proportion of Electric Vehicle (EV) ownership anywhere in the Midlands*, with over 9,500 already registered across the borough. On world EV day (Thursday 29 September) we take a look at the work being carried out to further accelerate this vital transition to cleaner transport.
In July 2018 the Government announced that it would be banning the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and published its Road to Net Zero Strategy, an ambitious roadmap towards delivering zero emissions transport across the UK.
In response Solihull Council set to work devolving its own EV Strategy ‘Going Electric’ with the central aim of ensuring that when any fossil fuel powered vehicle owned or operated in Solihull is sold or scrapped, it is replaced with a vehicle with zero harmful tailpipe emissions.
The Council’s EV strategy, which is updated every two years, encourages wider adoption of EVs across the borough and tackles some of the current barriers slowing down this transition. It also looks at how to help change people’s perceptions of electric vehicles and what support can be given through local planning, licensing and regulations.
Acknowledging that it has a key role to play, especially in areas such infrastructure, Solihull Council is pushing the roll out of much needed EV charging infrastructure, including on-street charging for those that can’t charge at home. In March 2022 the Council set a short term target to increase the number of public chargers put in place by tenfold from 60 to 600 by 2025.
To accompany the recently updated EV Strategy an ambitious new EV Action Plan was approved earlier this week, identifying targets in seven key areas where the Council has either direct or, at least, some influence. These include; charging infrastructure, Council operations and resources, communications, public transport, shared transport, commercial vehicles and planning, regulation & guidance.
The bold action plan establishes clear achievable commitments set against defined timeframes for example, ensuring all replacement fleet vehicles are zero emission capable and setting a target of at least 275 EV charge points per 100,000 populations by end of 2025.
Cllr Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning & Housing:
“Road traffic currently accounts for nearly 40% of the borough’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, so making the switch to electric vehicles is going to be an essential part of our own journey towards net-zero. By accelerating the switch away from fossil fuelled vehicles we have an exciting opportunity to drive improvements in air quality that will benefit the health and economy of Solihull and, alongside future technologies and automation, radically change the way we travel.
“Helping to remove barriers and encourage wider take up of EVs is the key objective of our EV strategy. Of course we can’t make this happen by ourselves but there are key actions that we can, and are, taking as a Council that can make a real difference and empower our residents to feel confident in making the switch when they are ready.
“One area we have a key role in is facilitating the roll out of EV charging infrastructure. Around 71% of homes in Solihull have the space to park off-street and could therefore enjoy the benefits that home charging offers. However, for the other 29% public charging infrastructure is essential so we need to ensure that its available and accessible for all. We can also focus on upgrading our own fleet of vehicles and supporting taxis and private hire vehicle owners to do the same.
“Solihull is leading the way on EV uptake in the West Midlands and is the ideal location for early investment in charging infrastructure. From ground-breaking trials, using our very own electric self-driving shuttle, to ambitious plans at the NEC, to deliver of one of Europe’s largest EV charging hubs, we are gearing up for an exciting shift towards a cleaner more efficient age of road transport.”
If you want to find out more about EV ownership and what Solihull Council is doing to help make the switch to EV easier a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions can be found on the council’s website.
*According to data from the Department for Transport