Electric vehicles

An Electric Vehicle (EV) is a vehicle that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using energy stored in batteries, compared to internal combustion engine vehicles which use petrol or diesel. Overall EVs are quieter, have no exhaust emissions, and lower emissions.

The sale of new cars and vans powered only by petrol and diesel will be banned in the UK from 2030, and many car manufacturers now offer a selection of electric vehicles within their range.

We have answered some common questions on electric vehicles to help make your switch to electric easier:

Where can I charge my electric vehicle?

For some people who have off street parking for their vehicles most charging can take place conveniently at home. However, for a significant proportion of the population who do not have off street parking, alternative charging facilities are required. The private sector are installing chargepoints, with more than 200 currently available across Surrey. The Districts and Boroughs in Surrey are responsible for many of the public car parks and many are installing EV chargepoints, with more than 70 in operation and many more planned. Surrey County Council as the highway authority are also trying to tackle the climate emergency by installing on-street chargepoints across the county, through our Electric Vehicle Charging Point Pilot.

The number of public charge points is growing daily and your employer may also provide a charging point at work. To find your nearest charging point, try one of these sites:

Requests for public chargepoints can be made using our new interactive map Have Your Say Today – Surrey EV – Commonplace.

What types of electric vehicle are there?

There are four main types of electric vehicle:

  • Full EV (BEV) – A vehicle solely powered by batteries which needs to be plugged in to be charged.
  • Plug in range extended EV (E-REV) – A vehicle powered by batteries, but with a small petrol/diesel generator fitted, that can help extend the range of the vehicle by topping up the batteries while driving.
  • Plug in hybrid (PHEV) – A vehicle which can be powered both by electric and a conventional diesel/petrol. It can both be plugged in and fuelled conventionally. The vehicle is driven by either or both engines to generate maximum efficiency.
  • Conventional hybrid – In a sense, the opposite of the range extended EV, these vehicles have a conventional petrol/diesel engine and supporting electric motor.

Electric vehicles are usually extremely quiet to drive and, thanks to producing no exhaust emissions, do not contribute to local pollution levels. They cannot however be considered emission free, since generating electricity in the UK produces greenhouse gases which translate into CO2 emissions of on average 70g/km for fully electric cars.

How much does an electric vehicle cost to buy and charge?

Whilst the purchase price of an electric vehicle is generally higher than a petrol or diesel vehicle, you can get a grant of up to £2,500 on the purchase price of brand new low-emission vehicles with the government's plug-in vehicle grant (GOV.UK).

Electric vehicle running costs are often lower than those of a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle. The costs of charging vary considerably depending where you charge and the speed of the charge. The convenience of a faster charger is often more expensive. It is usually most economical to charge an EV at home using your domestic electricity tariff. Where Surrey County Council have installed chargepoints on-street the tariff is currently 30p per KWH.

Fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are also exempt from the London congestion charge and become particularly cost effective for higher mileage drivers where their daily distance travelled is within the vehicle range or where charging is available at work.

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

Charge times vary from model to model because of their battery size and the maximum charge rate they are designed to accept. There are a number of options for charging electric vehicles either in your home or at a public charging station.

  • 'Slow' points use a standard 3 – 7 KWH (8 or more hours for a full charge)
  • 'Fast' points 7 – 22KWH (4 to 6 hours for a full charge)
  • 'Rapid' points 50KWH or greater (typically 80% charge in 40 minutes)

Ultra-Fast chargepoints can deliver even faster charging speeds for those vehicles capable of higher charging rates.

How far can an electric vehicle travel without recharging?

The range of modern electric vehicles has been increasing over recent years and the latest consumer models, such as the Renault Zoe, have a range of 250 and other models even 300 miles on a full charge. Some models can have significantly shorter ranges of 100 miles or less and as batteries get older range may also be adversely affected.

What is Surrey County Council doing to increase availability of chargepoints?

We are intent on upholding our commitments to improving air quality and addressing the climate change emergency; both of which are key priorities for us and require urgent action. The objectives of increasing the availability of public EV chargepoints are aligned with the ambitions set out in the government's 'Road to Zero' strategy published in 2018, as well as the council's Climate Change Strategy and proposed Surrey Local Transport Plan (LTP4).

We believe that the private sector has a significant role to play in providing EV chargepoints, be that in EV forecourts, supermarket and other retail car parks. Boroughs and Districts in Surrey will also continue to play an important role by continuing to install chargepoints in public car parks.

Surrey County Council are currently working towards the wider roll out of EV on street chargepoints across the county. There are a number of issues being considered before we can scale up installations, such as the impact on current parking availability on the public highway, identifying suitable sites, developing a sustainable business model and arranging both the capital and revenue funds required to deliver and operate the network. We hope to be able to confirm a strategic plan for installations within the coming months.

Right now we are currently undertaking an EV charging infrastructure pilot in 4 boroughs set to deliver 80 chargepoints. Further information on the pilot can be found on our dedicated Electric Vehicle Charging Point Pilot page.

Can I charge my electric vehicle outside my house?

If you have space on your own property to park your vehicle, it is possible to have a dedicated fast charge point installed in your home for which government grants for electric vehicle charging infrastructure (GOV.UK) are available for up to 75% of the installation costs.

We are often asked about trailing a charging cable from a property across a public footpath. Under the Highways Act 1980, Part IX Lawful and Unlawful Interference with Highways and Streets, it is illegal for any person to place or run a cable or wire along or across a public highway. Having the cable trail from a home, across the footway to a car may cause a safety hazard to pedestrians who are entitled to safely use the full width of the footway. Surrey County Council therefore does not allow this, although potential solutions will be kept under review.

Surrey will continue to review research and trials into systems such as under pavement channelling to cater for charging cables but does not at this time authorise such systems.

Requests for public chargepoints at on-highway locations can also be made using our new interactive map and survey on Commonplace Have Your Say Today – Surrey EV – Commonplace.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or comments, please email:
electricvehicles@surreycc.gov.uk


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