Revealed: The hardly-used electric car charging points costing taxpayers up to £4,000

The Northern Echo: PARK AND RIDE: General view of Sniperley Park and Ride site in Durham. Picture: DAVID WOOD PARK AND RIDE: General view of Sniperley Park and Ride site in Durham. Picture: DAVID WOOD

SOME electric car charging points in the North-East have been used so little each re-charge has cost the taxpayer up to £4,000, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Two charging points in County Durham have been used just twice since they were installed between 2010 and 2013, putting the cost of each re-charge at between £2,800 and £4,000.

The figures emerged as Durham County Council started charging for its 31 previously free-to-use points yesterday (Monday, June 23).

Independent councillor John Shuttleworth condemned the authority as wasteful and incompetent, but Liberal Democrat Mark Wilkes said he hoped pushing the technology would encourage more people to buy electric cars.

Adrian White, the council’s head of transport and contract services, said it was committed to supporting electric vehicles, to cut carbon emissions and support a North-East “growth industry”.

Global car giant Nissan manufactures its Leaf electric car in the region at Washington, where it employs 7,000 people, and sales are growing rapidly.

The Northern Echo:

Since the installation of one ‘rapid’ and 30 regular charging points across County Durham between 2010 and 2013, they have been used 2,937 times.

However, nine have been used on less than ten occasions and two, at Sniperley and Belmont park-and-ride sites, have been used just twice.

Car park points on Consett’s Albert Road and Stanley’s Scott Street have each been used four times.

In contrast, the County Hall facility has been used 544 times and the Belmont park-and-ride rapid charger 422 times.

Of the £5,000 installation cost of each point, the council paid half, or later a quarter, with grant funding covering the rest.

Additionally, the council paid the £600 to £3,000 it cost to connect each point to the electricity grid, bringing the council’s total bill to £81,000.

The council says charging £1-a-go for its 30 standard points and £5 for the rapid point will help cover their maintenance costs, around £200 per point per year, and encourage drivers to only use the bays when charging their vehicle.

Cllr Shuttleworth said: “The council uses the concept of electric cars and charging points as a smoke screen to hide the waste in both resources and facilities it creates together with incompetence throughout the organisation.”

But Cllr Wilkes said: “I am fully supportive of this particularly given that thousands of jobs across the North-East, particularly at Nissan, are protected with the production of the Nissan Leaf.

“Hopefully, by pushing this technology more and more people will decide to buy an electric car and help cut pollution.”

Mr White said: “With electric cars still relatively in their infancy it is not surprising that some points are yet to see more usage.

“The use of the posts has increased in the last year and, as the use of electric cars continues to grow, we would expect to see all points used more in the future.”

Elsewhere in the region, Sunderland – the home of Nissan – has 50 points, which were used 2,544 times last year.

In Darlington, where there are four points, a spokeswoman said demand was low.

North Yorkshire County Council has not installed any points, although there are several in York and Harrogate has won a government grant and is trying to secure match funding.

Northumberland, which has 18 points, is introducing a £5 charge for its eight rapid points from July 1.

Comments (11)

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11:22am Tue 24 Jun 14

jack114 says...

I live in Stanley and we have 2 of these charging points in the busiest car park in the town , I have never seen them used till a couple of days ago when a white Nissan Leaf made an appearence on 2 consecutive days , never seen again since.
These 2 spaces stand empty 24/7 and are a complete and utter waste of taxpayers money .
I live in Stanley and we have 2 of these charging points in the busiest car park in the town , I have never seen them used till a couple of days ago when a white Nissan Leaf made an appearence on 2 consecutive days , never seen again since. These 2 spaces stand empty 24/7 and are a complete and utter waste of taxpayers money . jack114
  • Score: -3

12:05pm Tue 24 Jun 14

durhamchap says...

Ditto with the charging points at the Arnison Centre,Durham.Until the battery technology improves I wouldn't even consider an electric car.Only way I could think of one was if all batteries used on the different makes of car were standardised and if it was possible to drive into a facility similar to a petrol station where a fully charged battery could be automatically put into the car after removing the used battery - maybe one day !
Ditto with the charging points at the Arnison Centre,Durham.Until the battery technology improves I wouldn't even consider an electric car.Only way I could think of one was if all batteries used on the different makes of car were standardised and if it was possible to drive into a facility similar to a petrol station where a fully charged battery could be automatically put into the car after removing the used battery - maybe one day ! durhamchap
  • Score: 0

12:12pm Tue 24 Jun 14

dingbatindurhamday says...

A complete waste of time. That newfangled technology will never catch on, I mean look at computers and that world wide web thing.
A complete waste of time. That newfangled technology will never catch on, I mean look at computers and that world wide web thing. dingbatindurhamday
  • Score: 8

12:23pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Edmondsley says...

Could the white Leafs have been owned by Durham County Council?
Could the white Leafs have been owned by Durham County Council? Edmondsley
  • Score: -4

2:49pm Tue 24 Jun 14

studio says...

If central governments and councils used this money more wisely and worked with the developers to reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles, improve battery power and reduce charging time the whole idea wouldnt be so ignored by the public.

A majority of the general public dont have the finances to afford one of these cars ( average leaf costs circa 27k for a small car ) nor the time to wait while it charges.

At the moment these cars are just not practicle for the average driver. Imporve the points above and only then you may have something of interest for people. ( and something to fill those empty parking spaces! )
If central governments and councils used this money more wisely and worked with the developers to reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles, improve battery power and reduce charging time the whole idea wouldnt be so ignored by the public. A majority of the general public dont have the finances to afford one of these cars ( average leaf costs circa 27k for a small car ) nor the time to wait while it charges. At the moment these cars are just not practicle for the average driver. Imporve the points above and only then you may have something of interest for people. ( and something to fill those empty parking spaces! ) studio
  • Score: 3

9:34pm Tue 24 Jun 14

smiler03 says...

studio wrote:
If central governments and councils used this money more wisely and worked with the developers to reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles, improve battery power and reduce charging time the whole idea wouldnt be so ignored by the public.

A majority of the general public dont have the finances to afford one of these cars ( average leaf costs circa 27k for a small car ) nor the time to wait while it charges.

At the moment these cars are just not practicle for the average driver. Imporve the points above and only then you may have something of interest for people. ( and something to fill those empty parking spaces! )
I think you can very safely assume that car and other technology companies are investing many billions into electric cars and batteries.

There should be absolutely no need for investment by central or local government, unless of course that you personally are happy to pay more taxes for their development?
[quote][p][bold]studio[/bold] wrote: If central governments and councils used this money more wisely and worked with the developers to reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles, improve battery power and reduce charging time the whole idea wouldnt be so ignored by the public. A majority of the general public dont have the finances to afford one of these cars ( average leaf costs circa 27k for a small car ) nor the time to wait while it charges. At the moment these cars are just not practicle for the average driver. Imporve the points above and only then you may have something of interest for people. ( and something to fill those empty parking spaces! )[/p][/quote]I think you can very safely assume that car and other technology companies are investing many billions into electric cars and batteries. There should be absolutely no need for investment by central or local government, unless of course that you personally are happy to pay more taxes for their development? smiler03
  • Score: -3

6:09pm Wed 25 Jun 14

OldBiddyFrom Barney says...

When I was YoungHippyChickFromB
arney I used to believe that Green Living and loving each other was all we needed to make a better world. Now there are VIP areas at Glastonbury and when you try to tell people about The Battle Of The Beanfield ect (google it on You Tube) and why it mattered very very much people just stop listening.

The truth is the Green Movement now is just another con - sad but true. There's more on You Tube about New Age Travellers check out Seven Days at Stoneycross. I was there for that one.
When I was YoungHippyChickFromB arney I used to believe that Green Living and loving each other was all we needed to make a better world. Now there are VIP areas at Glastonbury and when you try to tell people about The Battle Of The Beanfield ect (google it on You Tube) and why it mattered very very much people just stop listening. The truth is the Green Movement now is just another con - sad but true. There's more on You Tube about New Age Travellers check out Seven Days at Stoneycross. I was there for that one. OldBiddyFrom Barney
  • Score: 0

11:30pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Electric car says...

I urge you to interpret this data carefully. It's not so much that people are not using electric vehicles but typically that the council have made some silly decisions about the locations of charging points.

Look at statistics in Durham: all charging points bar those in park and ride sites are being used on a regular basis. Let's think this through, why would an electric vehicle owner park their car outside of town and take the bus when there are charging stations smack bang in the city centre? Not very well thought through! Take the park and ride points out of the equation then the statistics are telling a different story.

Please please please do not place negativity on the use of electric vehicles and charging points. THEY ARE NOT A WASTE OF TIME-Think about environmental impact and the solid foundation that has been laid for future development. We have a Nissan Leaf and are avid fans. I'll make sure we call in to Stanley (any suggestions as to what we could do???) to bump up usage at the charging point! Look out for us-we're blue!
I urge you to interpret this data carefully. It's not so much that people are not using electric vehicles but typically that the council have made some silly decisions about the locations of charging points. Look at statistics in Durham: all charging points bar those in park and ride sites are being used on a regular basis. Let's think this through, why would an electric vehicle owner park their car outside of town and take the bus when there are charging stations smack bang in the city centre? Not very well thought through! Take the park and ride points out of the equation then the statistics are telling a different story. Please please please do not place negativity on the use of electric vehicles and charging points. THEY ARE NOT A WASTE OF TIME-Think about environmental impact and the solid foundation that has been laid for future development. We have a Nissan Leaf and are avid fans. I'll make sure we call in to Stanley (any suggestions as to what we could do???) to bump up usage at the charging point! Look out for us-we're blue! Electric car
  • Score: 4

2:59pm Tue 1 Jul 14

studio says...

smiler03 wrote:
studio wrote: If central governments and councils used this money more wisely and worked with the developers to reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles, improve battery power and reduce charging time the whole idea wouldnt be so ignored by the public. A majority of the general public dont have the finances to afford one of these cars ( average leaf costs circa 27k for a small car ) nor the time to wait while it charges. At the moment these cars are just not practicle for the average driver. Imporve the points above and only then you may have something of interest for people. ( and something to fill those empty parking spaces! )
I think you can very safely assume that car and other technology companies are investing many billions into electric cars and batteries. There should be absolutely no need for investment by central or local government, unless of course that you personally are happy to pay more taxes for their development?
I would gladly see cuts in certain benefits to fund this. It will save us all money in the future.

In the long run, we wont have a choice of fuels.

invest money in other natural resource or nuclear power.

Better than seeing someone spend it in the corner shop buying 10 cigarettes and a bottle of cider.
[quote][p][bold]smiler03[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]studio[/bold] wrote: If central governments and councils used this money more wisely and worked with the developers to reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles, improve battery power and reduce charging time the whole idea wouldnt be so ignored by the public. A majority of the general public dont have the finances to afford one of these cars ( average leaf costs circa 27k for a small car ) nor the time to wait while it charges. At the moment these cars are just not practicle for the average driver. Imporve the points above and only then you may have something of interest for people. ( and something to fill those empty parking spaces! )[/p][/quote]I think you can very safely assume that car and other technology companies are investing many billions into electric cars and batteries. There should be absolutely no need for investment by central or local government, unless of course that you personally are happy to pay more taxes for their development?[/p][/quote]I would gladly see cuts in certain benefits to fund this. It will save us all money in the future. In the long run, we wont have a choice of fuels. invest money in other natural resource or nuclear power. Better than seeing someone spend it in the corner shop buying 10 cigarettes and a bottle of cider. studio
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Tue 1 Jul 14

smiler03 says...

studio wrote:
smiler03 wrote:
studio wrote: If central governments and councils used this money more wisely and worked with the developers to reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles, improve battery power and reduce charging time the whole idea wouldnt be so ignored by the public. A majority of the general public dont have the finances to afford one of these cars ( average leaf costs circa 27k for a small car ) nor the time to wait while it charges. At the moment these cars are just not practicle for the average driver. Imporve the points above and only then you may have something of interest for people. ( and something to fill those empty parking spaces! )
I think you can very safely assume that car and other technology companies are investing many billions into electric cars and batteries. There should be absolutely no need for investment by central or local government, unless of course that you personally are happy to pay more taxes for their development?
I would gladly see cuts in certain benefits to fund this. It will save us all money in the future.

In the long run, we wont have a choice of fuels.

invest money in other natural resource or nuclear power.

Better than seeing someone spend it in the corner shop buying 10 cigarettes and a bottle of cider.
You seriously believe that people shouldn't be able to spend their own money on what they want? Nobody can buy alcohol or cigarettes? Please note that Alcohol and Cigarettes ALREADY have very large extra taxes on them.

Even worse you want to confiscate money off people to invest in an industry (electric cars) that is being funded in huge amounts by the motor industry already?

You even want "certain benefits" stopped so that that money can go towards an electric vehicle which ALREADY has £5000 funded to it by the Government?

You should be the founder member of the "Ban disposable income and pay !00% taxes" party.
[quote][p][bold]studio[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]smiler03[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]studio[/bold] wrote: If central governments and councils used this money more wisely and worked with the developers to reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles, improve battery power and reduce charging time the whole idea wouldnt be so ignored by the public. A majority of the general public dont have the finances to afford one of these cars ( average leaf costs circa 27k for a small car ) nor the time to wait while it charges. At the moment these cars are just not practicle for the average driver. Imporve the points above and only then you may have something of interest for people. ( and something to fill those empty parking spaces! )[/p][/quote]I think you can very safely assume that car and other technology companies are investing many billions into electric cars and batteries. There should be absolutely no need for investment by central or local government, unless of course that you personally are happy to pay more taxes for their development?[/p][/quote]I would gladly see cuts in certain benefits to fund this. It will save us all money in the future. In the long run, we wont have a choice of fuels. invest money in other natural resource or nuclear power. Better than seeing someone spend it in the corner shop buying 10 cigarettes and a bottle of cider.[/p][/quote]You seriously believe that people shouldn't be able to spend their own money on what they want? Nobody can buy alcohol or cigarettes? Please note that Alcohol and Cigarettes ALREADY have very large extra taxes on them. Even worse you want to confiscate money off people to invest in an industry (electric cars) that is being funded in huge amounts by the motor industry already? You even want "certain benefits" stopped so that that money can go towards an electric vehicle which ALREADY has £5000 funded to it by the Government? You should be the founder member of the "Ban disposable income and pay !00% taxes" party. smiler03
  • Score: -2

3:40pm Thu 3 Jul 14

feasty says...

I have had a Leaf now for a couple of months, I have travelled about 5K miles in mine in this time. I only use rapid charges and only travel where rapid charges are available. So I see the lesser charging points as a bit of waste of time. I would love to travel to more places in my leaf, but because a lot of places have not installed rapid charges then I don't go there.
In my opinion I am not the only EV driver that doesn't go places as the rapid charges are not available.
I would encourage all councils to put in rapid charge points only, using a rapid charge point only takes 30 mins so it can be used a lot of times in a day.
For those reading this article and not quite getting the EV car thing and thinking that the technology isn't there yet. YOUR WRONG. yes the technology is getting better all the time, but it is a 2 way thing, people need to buy the cars to fund the technology, councils and private businesses need to put in the charging points to help the EV users get about.
The price of £20k for a Leaf seems a bit steep but we will save £20K in petrol over 4yrs and it will have paid for itself and we will be left with a vehicle that we can run far cheaper than a petrol vehicle and it will have cost us nothing.
People get in one and give it a test drive, you will be surprised how good a leaf is.
PS I have no connection to Nissan other than I have purchased a leaf off one of their dealers.
I have had a Leaf now for a couple of months, I have travelled about 5K miles in mine in this time. I only use rapid charges and only travel where rapid charges are available. So I see the lesser charging points as a bit of waste of time. I would love to travel to more places in my leaf, but because a lot of places have not installed rapid charges then I don't go there. In my opinion I am not the only EV driver that doesn't go places as the rapid charges are not available. I would encourage all councils to put in rapid charge points only, using a rapid charge point only takes 30 mins so it can be used a lot of times in a day. For those reading this article and not quite getting the EV car thing and thinking that the technology isn't there yet. YOUR WRONG. yes the technology is getting better all the time, but it is a 2 way thing, people need to buy the cars to fund the technology, councils and private businesses need to put in the charging points to help the EV users get about. The price of £20k for a Leaf seems a bit steep but we will save £20K in petrol over 4yrs and it will have paid for itself and we will be left with a vehicle that we can run far cheaper than a petrol vehicle and it will have cost us nothing. People get in one and give it a test drive, you will be surprised how good a leaf is. PS I have no connection to Nissan other than I have purchased a leaf off one of their dealers. feasty
  • Score: 2

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