The Nissan plant at Sunderland has been a major part of the landscape for many years now, and indeed earlier this year the UK government announced plans to assist with the creation of an electric vehicle manufacturing line using taxpayer’s money. While the use of taxpayer’s money in the commercial marketplace is one which always attracts very different opinions it seems that the north-east of England may be the electric vehicle centre of the UK outside of London.
Whether this is a coincidence with the location of the Nissan car plant is a matter for debate but even the slightest of glimpses at the north-east charging network structure will certainly give you food for thought!
Charging networks in the UK
The UK government has announced a number of different initiatives to encourage the installation and building of both public and private electric car charging points. Interestingly, while outside of London there is scope for significant improvement, it seems that the local authorities in the north-east of England are light years ahead of their counterparts. After introducing the first electric vehicle charging station back in 2010 there are now 1150 charging points in the north-east. They consist of a variety of public and private initiatives and even take in 12 quick charging stations which are relatively new to the UK.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The recent news flow from the EV industry suggests that more and more charging stations are appearing in the US and around the world. Have you seen any new charging stations in your area?"
If you contrast the use of these charging stations against for example, Bristol, where recent figures suggested minimal use of council charging points, charging stations in the north-east of England were used over 26,000 times during 2013 so far. This equates to an enormous 745,000 miles creating potential savings of £90,000 for electric vehicle drivers. When you also take into account the 144,000,000 g of CO2 which have been taken out of the environment it certainly begins to hit home.
The north-east/Scotland corridor
Interestingly, despite the ongoing quest for independence by Scotland, there has been collaboration between local authorities in the north-east and their Scottish counterparts to create a corridor of electric charging stations. This particular strategy is proving to be very successful and is likely to be something that will be replicated by other local authorities up and down the UK. By working together it is possible to create a local electric car charging network and then, simply by joining the dots, a national electric car charging network.
The beauty of this introduction of electric car charging stations is that the likes of Nissan will be encouraged to create more and more electric vehicles in the UK. It could also attract other electric car manufacturers to the UK which would not only create direct jobs but also peripheral trade for local businesses.
While the north-east of England, in the shape of the Nissan car plant, has always been a major element of the modern UK automobile industry, few could have predicted the ongoing success of electric car charging station installations. While many local authority sat on their hands and wondered what to do it seems that local authorities in the north-east of England took up a variety of financial incentives by the UK government to create an impressive network.
It will be interesting to see how this development impacts upon the future strategy of Nissan and other electric car manufacturers who will surely be very pleased to see local authorities taking such a proactive stance in relation to electric car charging points?