Exeter electric car charging points removed

By Miles Davis
BBC News Online

  • Published
Electric car charging point
Image caption,
Electric car charging points in Exeter are being removed due to "teething problems"

Electric charging points for the public to recharge cars are being removed and replaced due to "teething problems".

The plan to install 16 rapid charging machines on streets around Exeter was supposed to put "Exeter on the map with the UK's most sustainable cities".

But the charging points that were installed are being taken away.

The project has been funded by Innovate UK and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, part of the Department for Transport.

Rapid Charging Devon, the organisation which is managing the project, said private company Gamma Energy would be meeting all of the costs of the withdrawal of the machines and their replacement with different models.

Some charging points were put in place in 2021 but workmen were seen removing some of the points in early June 2022.

The area where the charging machines once stood is now marked by a bollard.

Image caption,
Some of the charging points have already been removed

In response to questions from the BBC, Rapid Charging Devon issued a statement which said some of the rapid chargers were "not working as consistently as we would like".

It said rather than continuing "with an intermittent service, we have decided to replace all the chargers with a different model".

The statement went on to say: "As with any new technology there can be teething problems and the replacement costs are being met by the private company involved.

"Whilst this will cause some inconvenience in the short term, ultimately Exeter residents will get reliable EV charging on their doorsteps thereby helping our city transition to a net zero future."

'Hugely exciting'

The private sector-led scheme was first announced in March 2021 by Devon County Council, involving the council, operator Gamma Energy, supplier ZPN Energy, community car group Co Cars and renewable energy organisation Regen.

At the time Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highway management, said: "This initiative is hugely exciting and puts Exeter on the map with the UK's most sustainable cities."

Regarding the news of the removal of the charge points, Mr Hughes said he still believed Exeter was leading the way.

He also pointed to Devon County Council rolling out 80 electric vehicle charge points in 38 car parks across the county over the next 12 months.

Neither the initial cost of the project, nor the cost of replacing the machines, has been made clear.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport declined to comment on the situation in Exeter, but said it was investing £1.6bn in charge point networks across the UK.

The eight charging points in Exeter each consisted of two rapid charging machines. It is not clear how many of the charge point installations were completed.

A spokesperson for ZPN Energy, which supplied the machines, said: "ZPN Energy delivered the charge points as contracted and completed the project.

"There is no cost to the replacement of the units to ZPN, nor do ZPN have any responsibility for their operation."

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