Professional raises concerns over electric vehicle charging points in Chesterfield

Stock picture of an electric vehicle being charged.
Stock picture of an electric vehicle being charged.

A man who has worked in the automotive industry for more than 20 years has voiced concern over new charging points for electric vehicles in Chesterfield.

James Hopkinson said six of the points at St Mary's Gate car park can be used by petrol and diesel vehicles - effectively 'blocking' electric vehicles from using them.

One of the electric vehicle charging points at St Mary's Gate car park in Chesterfield.

One of the electric vehicle charging points at St Mary's Gate car park in Chesterfield.

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Mr Hopkinson said: "This step from Chesterfield Borough Council is like putting some new disabled bays in but allowing able-bodied people to park in them.

"At a time when reducing CO2 is high on everyone’s agenda, this is just utterly ridiculous and insane from the borough council and needs calling out."

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, the borough council's deputy leader, said: "Tackling the effects of climate change is a key priority for the council which is why we have invested in electric car charging points in council-run car parks in St Mary's Gate, Durrant Street and Soresby Street surface car parks as well as in the new Saltergate multi-storey car park.

"Two of the charging points in St Mary's Gate car park are dedicated ones for the use of electric cars only while the other six are mixed-use and can also be used by other vehicles. This is based on the number of electric vehicles we estimate to use the charging points. As the numbers of electric cars increase, we have the flexibility to increase the number of charging points available."

In response, Mr Hopkinson said: "It's a confusing message the borough council is sending to early adopters of electric vehicles by allowing six of the charge points to be blocked by fossil-fuelled vehicles because they don't know what the uptake of usage of the points will be.

"How will they find out if they allow them to be blocked at peak times by people who don't need to use them?"

He continued: "The charge points installed by the borough council are also 7.2kw posts meaning it will take around six to eight hours to charge an electric vehicle fully.

"At a time when our high street is suffering unprecedented change, the borough council should be looking to attract electric vehicle users into the town centre by investing in 50kw rapid charge units which will charge a vehicle in under an hour.

"We are the 'gateway to the Peak District' and the charging network in the Peak is extremely limited.

"A well thought out electric vehicle charge network in Chesterfield would attract visitors to our high street while they top up their batteries on the way into the Peak District.

"It's clear from Coun Serjeant's response that EV charge points are being installed as a tick box exercise and not as a proactive way to attract visitors to our town.

"I would urge the borough council to seriously reconsider its electric vehicle strategy."

The Derbyshire Times asked the borough council if it wanted to reply to the comments Mr Hopkinson made in response to Coun Serjeant's statement, but the authority had not responded by the time of publication.