Electric cars: Fifers may have to pay to charge

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Fife Council has updated its policy on electric vehicles – and that could mean owners paying at charging points.

The local authority also wants to thwart all-day parking in the bays reserved for powering up the vehicles.

At the economy, tourism and transportation committee on Thursday, councillors agreed to update their policy on vehicle charging points to make them financially sustainable.

As more people move towards using electric vehicles, Fife Council has found the bays are being used more frequently to the point where it is losing money.

The new policy will look at introducing charges in an effort to make them sustainable, and change the mindset of those who are using them as free all-day parking bays.

At the committee, Derek Crowe, senior manager for roads and transportation, said: “Over the last 10 years, the Scottish Government has been priming the network of electric vehicle charging points to local authorities, offering grants to install them.

“We will see the number of charging points rise from 39 to 68 by the end of the financial year.

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“However, the current arrangement of the council paying for the electricity, is not working. It’s a good idea – but it’s not working.

“We also see cars sitting in charging spots all day to make use of free parking.”

He added: “The principle of the policy is still to support a growing charger network, but it needs to move forward in a self financing way.”

Mr Crowe added that they proposed to implement the charges from April 1, 2020, and rates would be considered at the next meeting.

Councillor Lesley Backhouse, who owns an electric vehicle, said: “When you get an electric vehicle, generally the accepted etiquette is that you should not be sitting at a charging point all day. The average time to charge is just 55 minutes.”

Mr Crowe agreed, saying: “A lot of modern electric vehicles also now have apps that alert you when the car is charged, so you can move it.”

Cllr Ian Ferguson, who also owns an electric vehicle, said: “If in 10 years time, the norm is 500 miles a charge and there’s super fast charging in five minutes, it will be like getting petrol on a forecourt. You wouldn’t expect to get petrol and park all day on a forecourt, so it’s also important to challenge the way people think.”