Visit from Josey Wardle, Zero Carbon Futures – UK PEOPLE case study
Jack Heffernan, MA student, Durham University
On the 31st of January, we were lucky to receive a recent visit from Josey Wardle – infrastructure manager of Zero Carbon Futures, in order to gain expertise on the progression of electric vehicles (EVs) within the UK. Zero Carbon Futures is a low-carbon transport consultancy company, which has been responsible for delivering innovative projects throughout the UK, to help towns and cities adapt to the evolving EV market.
Such projects include the Plugged in Places initiative that developed an extensive charge point network across North East England, covering sections of Durham University’s car park. In addition, Zero Carbon Futures was a project partner in the UK’s My Electric Avenue initiative which saw entire streets of EVs simultaneously plugged into home-charging points. The project examined how the grid would respond to the elevated demand in electricity at a one time, which witnessed successful and promising results.
Josey offered an extremely interesting and insightful experience upon her visit, one particularly intriguing point being that she felt EV users should be responsible for funding new charging infrastructure, as opposed to council-provided funding – something that is currently the case for many public charge points throughout the UK.
Furthermore, Josey suggested that the location of said charging points is the upmost important factor to consumers as opposed to the associated costs. This was interesting, as our initial predictions regarding our research was that financial barriers would be the primary deterrent to EV uptake.
An issue that we have highlighted during the early stages of our research is that EV parking spaces are often taken by hybrid vehicles, despite their extremely small electric capacity. However, Josey brought to our attention that, to prevent this issue from prevailing, the UK government has cancelled its grant offer surrounding the purchase of a hybrid vehicle. Other government incentives that Josey expressed during her visit included free recharging at public charge posts; free facilities at whilst charging (Wi-Fi, toilets, seating areas); and permitting EVs to use bus lanes in congested areas.
According to knowledge provided by Zero Carbon Futures, Nissan have taken an unexpected volume of orders for EVs over the upcoming year, producing a waiting list for their model the ‘Nissan Leaf’. This is extremely encouraging as it represents the mounting popularity of EVs amongst the car industry in Europe.
Josey’s visit proved extremely valuable to our research and we would like to thank her for taking the time to educate us on the exciting, innovative projects surrounding the EV industry.