Bristol

Bristol's electric vehicle charging points seldom used

Electric car charging points and two empty bays
Image caption Bristol City Council said it did not expect to have high take off figures at first

Most electric car charging points in Bristol remain unused despite costing more than £100,000 to install.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show for the second half of 2012 there were just 14 users.

The council's 36 charging points were installed in 12 car parks in an attempt to boost electric car take-up.

Bristol City Council said it was committed to providing the infrastructure to allow people to make the change.

"We don't expect to see high levels of take up at first, but the electric car market has huge potential for growth, and we are confident that electric is a big part of the future," a spokesman said.

"People won't invest in electric cars until the infrastructure is in place to support their use," he added.

'Figures skewed'

Dr Ben Lane from website Next GreenCar said nobody really knew when the sales of electric vehicles would take off.

"There is accelerating growth around the world but we are doing that from a very low base [with] a couple of thousand sales per year in the UK.

"I feel confident within 10 years we'll be seeing tens if not hundreds of thousands around the UK," he added.

The council figures, released to the BBC, show the total number of hours used during the same period to be 551.21, an average of 39 hours per user.

However, this figure appears to be skewed as records show one motorist left their car on charge for nearly 15 days.

Drivers using the charging units pay the normal parking charge but the electricity is supplied at no cost, as long as they sign up to provide basic details of their electricity usage four times a year.

Other non council electric charging points are available across the city - a mixture of free and paid-for.

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