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Surge in the number of electric and hybrid cars

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MOVES to make Jersey carbon-neutral by 2030 have been boosted by a rise in the number of electric vehicles and the rapid growth of the Island’s network of charging points.

Electric car charge point (26320437)

New figures released by Jersey Electricity show that the number of ‘pure’ electric vehicles has risen by 189 to 572 during the past 12 months, with a steeper rise in the number of hybrid vehicles – almost 1,000 are now registered, up from 271 in October 2018.

Those who need to charge their cars away from home now have 22 public charging bays available, with Jersey Electricity predicting that the number will more than treble over the next ten months, reaching 75 by September 2020.

Ian Wilson, energy solutions manager for Jersey Electricity, said among the new installations would – subject to planning permission – include two 50kw rapid chargers at Red Houses and Grouville. These bays, similar to an existing one at the Powerhouse in St Helier, would enable drivers to fully charge an average vehicle in under an hour, or achieve 80% charge in 25 minutes.

‘It’s not a straightforward exercise to install a charging bay - it’s necessary to locate a space that is well-located for users and the network and then gain planning permission,’ he said. ‘But we are working well with the government and making good progress.’

Mr Wilson said the ‘holy grail’ for vehicle charging would be when future technological advances enable users to charge a vehicle in ten to 20 minutes, little more time than is needed to fill a car with petrol.

‘Most people with electric cars will be able to charge them at home - what we are seeking to achieve is to provide a good range of charging facilities for those who don’t have that option,’ he said.

A number of major organisations in Jersey are electrifying their fleets. Jersey Post now has 69 electric vehicles among a fleet of 110 and States of Jersey Police have installed new chargers that will cater for a fleet that is set to expand significantly - currently the force has three electric BMW i3 vehicles.

Jersey Electricity chief executive Chris Ambler said: ‘An e-mobility revolution is already underway in other countries and is gradually taking hold here. With transport accounting for around a third of Jersey’s emissions and its electricity supply already virtually completely decarbonised, switching from diesel, petrol and oil to electricity is the most effective way of moving towards a zero-carbon Island.

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‘For the States Police to embrace electric vehicles, following the electrification of Jersey Post’s fleet, is further endorsement and we are delighted to help.’

Progress towards electrification have been welcomed by the States Member whose proposition led to a declaration of climate change emergency in June, Deputy Rob Ward, although he pointed out how much work was still to be done.

‘It’s really good that businesses like Jersey Post are getting on board with this - it makes such a difference in town and should be encouraged,’ he said. ‘But electric cars is just one part of a sustainable transport strategy, which in turn is part of the solution to the issue of carbon emissions, so there’s a long way to go.’

The government has committed to publishing a sustainable transport strategy before the end of 2019.

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