Charging ahead: Plan to boost electric vehicle infrastructure takes shape

Image of an EV charging station.

A Council-led plan to create hundreds of new public electric vehicle charging points across Manchester is gathering pace.

Manchester City Council is gearing up to begin a search for a charge point operator to supply, install and manage up to 200 connectors over a two-year period.  

It aims to use Council-owned car parks plus those at parks, leisure centres, libraries and other facilities to spark a significant increase in charging point provision. Where no suitable sites exist, consideration is also being given to using small parcels of underused council-owned land to ensure the availability of charging points across the city.  

£3.3m secured by the Council - £1.1m allocated by Greater Manchester Combined Authority as part of the City Regional Transport Strategy and an anticipated £2.2m from the Government’s Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund – will go towards installation costs with the operator meeting the remainder.  

As of April this year, Manchester had 155 electric vehicle commercially-operated charging points (with around 300 connectors.) But this number will need to significantly increase - by 2038 the number of electric vehicles in Manchester is estimated to increase to 140,000, representing 75% of all vehicles. A national ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles is due to come into force in 2030.  

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment, said: “Dramatically increasing the use of electric vehicles is an important part of reducing the city’s carbon emissions to tackle climate change. 

“We want to keep improving public transport and encourage active travel options, such as walking and cycling, for shorter journeys but undoubtedly electric vehicles also have an important part to play.  

“While residents lucky enough to have access to off-road parking will be able to install their own home chargers, we know that the 60% of our population who don’t will be reliant on a public charging network to enable them to make the change to cleaner vehicles.  

“We are aiming to help spark the expansion of Manchester’s public electric vehicle charging infrastructure to build capacity and confidence until it becomes viable for commercial operators to take over and become the main suppliers. This initiative will be an important first step.” 

A list of more than 40 potential locations for public electric vehicle charging points is currently being reviewed. It is anticipated that the search for a charge point operator for the Council-led scheme will begin later this year. 

The Council’s Environment, Climate Change and Neighbourhoods scrutiny committee will hear an update on Manchester’s Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy – which co-ordinates with a wider Greater Manchester Strategy – when it meets on Thursday 7 September.  

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