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Charge points go live as EVs added to council pool car fleet

27 July 2021 : Council news, Environment

Further to the announcement that Electric Vehicle (EV) charging would be introduced in council-owned car parks earlier this year, Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) has now completed the installation of five charging points in partnership with EV charge point supplier, InstaVolt.

In Taunton, a single charging station at Blackbrook Sports Centre was installed and switched-on for public use at the end of May. A further two charging stations are scheduled for installation later this year at Deane House.

Additionally, twin charging stations at Alexandra Road Carpark in Minehead and Exmoor House Carpark in Dulverton were also recently completed and brought on line between 22 and 23 July.

Each charging station offers between 50-120kW DC rapid charging, available for public use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on a no subscription, pay-as-you-go basis.

Users can easily locate the charging stations using apps such as Zap-Map, the newly launched InstaVolt App via Google Play and the App Store, or via the InstaVolt website.

To mark the new charging stations becoming operational, an informal gathering took place on Monday, 26 July at Exmoor House Carpark in Dulverton, attended by officers from SWT’s Climate Change team, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Councillor Dixie Darch and Ward Member for Dulverton & District, Cllr Nicholas Thwaites; along with Business Development Manager, Nathan Piper from InstaVolt.

Executive Member for Climate Change, Cllr Dixie Darch, said: “We’re delighted to offer electric vehicle charging in our car parks in partnership with InstaVolt.

“The completion of these charging stations supplements the additional charge points being installed by Swarco eVolt in our other car parks at Minehead, Porlock, Taunton, Watchet, Wellington, Williton and Wiveliscombe.

“Together, these will provide a network of accessible locations for EV drivers to make longer and cleaner journeys without the anxiety of potentially running out of power.

“As mentioned previously, I hope this increases consumer confidence to convert to electric vehicles as a more sustainable method of travel.”

Chief Executive Officer for InstaVolt, Adrian Keen, said: “As electric vehicle usage continues to ramp up, there is a significant desire for rapid charging points across the Somerset West and Taunton area.

“Ensuring we’re delivering the best options for SWT, we’ve installed our newest model at two of the five sites which are able to deliver up to 120kW – some of our fastest yet.

“The installation of these five InstaVolt charging stations is an exciting development in Somerset West and Taunton’s journey toward net zero, and we’re thrilled to form a significant part of it.”

In keeping with the ‘EV theme’, SWT staff travelled to the Dulverton event in the latest additions to the council’s pool car fleet – two newly leased Renault ZOE’s.

The Renault ZOE’s are fully electric each featuring 52 kWh capacity batteries, enabling up to 245 miles of driving between charges.

Once brought on line, the ZOE's will be charged from 0-80% in around 40 minutes using the charging stations scheduled for Deane House, which is where the pool car fleet is based.

Commenting on the new Renault ZOE’s, Cllr Darch said: “The acquisition of these vehicles is just the start; over time, we’ll replace 12 of our pool cars with EVs, which will help to improve air quality whilst saving a significant amount of carbon each year.

“We’ll also make long-term cost savings thanks to the lower running and maintenance costs of the electric vehicles.

“We hope our example demonstrates to local firms that going electric is not only environmentally friendly, but also helps to reduce vehicle running costs.”

The roll-out of EV charging infrastructure and switching to a mostly zero-emission pool car fleet forms part of the council's Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience (CNCR) Action Plan, helping the district towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

For more information about SWT's climate commitments and the actions its taking, visit the council's Climate emergency webpage.

For information about government grants to help meet the cost of installing workplace chargers, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/workplace-charging-scheme-guidance-for-applicants-installers-and-manufacturers.

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