DRIVERS of electric vehicles across Cheshire West could soon have a range of new charging options after £2m of funding was secured by the council.

The Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) has awarded £2,049,000 from its Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funding (LEVI) to support EV charging solutions for those in the borough unable to charge at home (off street).

The council will now start an Invitation to Tender procurement process, to identify private investment from Charge Point Operators, to invest to deliver a commercial return over time. The public-private partnership will then deliver a comprehensive volume and type of chargers, meeting resident needs.

The majority of EV charging takes place at home, but this can be a challenge for residents without access to off-street parking.  The council says it aims to ensure residents will have easy access to EV charging, within a short walking distance through a range of car parks and on-street.

Council-owned car parks will be the first choice of where to site chargers. These car parks are often located in central areas. The plan will be to supply a quantity of chargers into these locations. As the demand for chargers increases the availability can be increased. Where car parks are further away than just a short walk, on-street chargers will be considered.

The new funding is expected to enable an initial installation of around 600 chargers, with approximately 300 in car parks and 300 on-street locations across the borough. The initial installation phase will start in late 2024 and is expected to take around five years.

The first stage will be engagement with possible Charge Point Operators taking place between April and June. Site feasibility studies will take place during the Summer 2024 with the first new charging points being installed Autumn 2024.

A six-week public consultation took place between 1 February and 15 March 2023.

There were over 200 responses to the consultation 70 per cent of respondents said they agreed with the aims of the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy.

The majority of respondents (53.9 per cent) considered that the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure will have a positive impact upon them.