Features & Interviews

Sums of LEVI: EV Infrastructure pilot for local authorities in England

01 September 2022 #Features & Interviews

The Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) is a UK Government fund created to support the roll-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across England.

Earlier this month the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) awarded £10 million in initial funding to nine local authorities out of the 42 in England who applied to the LEVI pilot.

These were Barnet, Dorset, Durham, Kent, Midlands Connect (with Lincolnshire as a lead authority), North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Warrington.

As well as the £10 million LEVI funding, the project includes significant private investment and other public funding sources, with a total value of £20.5 million.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive said the LEVI pilot funding is a welcome step that will give drivers in the winning areas greater confidence to make the switch to electric motoring, and hopefully help inspire operators and local authorities across the UK to increase the roll out of charge points.

He added: “With manufacturers bringing ever-growing numbers of plug-in vehicles to UK roads, we can’t risk lacklustre infrastructure holding back Britain’s world-leading electric vehicle ambitions.

“We need a universal right to charge electric vehicles, for all drivers, wherever they live, wherever they travel, and whatever their needs.”

Thanks to the latest funding, an estimated 1,038 charge points will be installed across England, with the charge points delivered as a mixture of on-street charging and hubs.

Support for the local authorities also includes an EV charging insights toolkit, which provides up-to-date data on projected number of changepoints required, the current trajectory for installations, annual revenue, and operational costs for charge points.

Nottinghamshire County Council was awarded £774,000 from the LEVI pilot, which will enable its proposed EV cable channel pilot programme to be rolled out on a wider scale than previously planned.

This will provide eligible households without off-street parking the opportunity to commission Via East Midlands – highway partners of the County Council – to install cable channels from their property, across the footway, so they can charge their EV.

This will involve extending charging cables from their domestic EV charge point to the roadside without creating a trip hazard to road users or adding to street clutter.

The Council will now work with government to finalise the funding and programme arrangements, with the aim of launching the pilot programme in the coming months and potentially enabling delivery of 300 EV cable channels by March 2023.

Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “As a county, we must do all that we can to protect the environment, and that’s why it’s important that having an electric vehicle shouldn’t just be restricted to those with private parking.

“Nottinghamshire’s successful LEVI funding bid will help cover the costs of the delivery of the EV cable channels, which would otherwise have been funded by the household.

“A subsidised proposal offers a more affordable, accessible option for eligible Nottinghamshire households without off-street parking facilities, reducing potential barriers to funding the cost of the EV domestic charge point and EV cable channel.”

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire will see a new network of EV charging points installed at rural locations after it succeeded in its bid for £2.2m of funding.

Its proposals, for 140 charge points at locations across each of the county’s seven boroughs and districts, will be financed from LEVI as well as industry.

Each area will get 20 chargers with residential charge points in both on-street locations as well as larger petrol-station type charging hubs.

Charge points will be installed alongside battery storage units, which will be charged by solar panels, and technology has been chosen which is also sympathetic to the rural locations where they will be installed.

Cllr Greg White, executive member for climate change at the council, said the new network will give drivers without home chargers the confidence to switch to electric, and help reduce range anxiety among existing EV users.

He added: “The switch to electric vehicles is necessary as North Yorkshire moves towards becoming zero carbon, but the rural nature of the county presents some significant challenges.

“We worked hard to come up with an innovative scheme which will begin to provide the answers motorists need if they are to have the confidence to go electric.

“It is an important step in our plans to ensure the county has an EV charging network which can meet everyone’s needs.”

Kent County Council (KCC) is also receiving a share of the £10 million LEVI funding and the money is expected to deliver 26 public charge points across four different locations in the county.

KCC’s cabinet member for highways and transport, David Brazier, said: “The Local EV Infrastructure pilot will enable us to continue our work to increase the number of electric vehicle charge points in the county.

“It will also allow us to test out new technologies to bring forward charge points in areas constrained by electricity supply.”

Meanwhile, The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) believes the Government charge point pilot is the “perfect opportunity” for local authorities to meet both fleet and private electric vehicle drivers’ needs.

Gerry Keaney, BVRLA chief executive, said getting EV charging infrastructure right will be the difference between the UK meeting its net zero targets and falling short.

He added: “It remains a massive barrier to fleet users making the switch as investment to date has prioritised private users and overlooked the varied requirements of those driving for business.

“The Local EV Infrastructure pilot scheme is a very positive development. These trials mark the perfect opportunity for forward-thinking regions to become beacons of how to meet fleet and private user needs together.

“They are creating the templates for the rest of the UK to follow.”

The pilot represents the first tranche of what will be a £400m to £500m scheme to help drivers who do not have access to off-street parking at home, have better access to EV chargers.

Further LEVI funding is expected be open for local authorities to apply for by the end of 2022.


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