Context

An Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (EVI) Strategy is required for Portsmouth to expand the current electric vehicle infrastructure to meet the current and future demand for plug-in vehicles across the city. It will support the governments EV infrastructure strategy on a national level by rolling out electric vehicle infrastructure ahead of the phase out dates of sales of new petrol and diesel from 2030. It will also support Transport for Southeast’s (TfSE) EV infrastructure strategy by working towards net-zero carbon on a regional basis.

A Portsmouth EVI Strategy will support the adopted Portsmouth Transport Strategy (Local Transport Plan 4) through policy B – “Support infrastructure for alternative fuelled vehicles”. This will support the four strategic objectives of the LTP4:

  • Deliver cleaner air
  • Prioritise walking and cycling
  • Transform public transport
  • Support business and protect our assets

The EVI strategy will focus on supporting residents, fleet, public transport, and shared modes of transport conversion to electric vehicles. It will enable Portsmouth to become an EV friendly destination for those living, working and visiting the city. It will also support improvements to air quality and reduction to carbon emissions across the city.

Challenges

It is recognised that there are many challenges related to implementing an effective electric vehicle infrastructure network across the city. The city is densely populated with a population of 208,100 in 2021 (source – ONS Census Population data, quoted on the Portsmouth Demography webpage), estimated to grow to over 236,000 by 2041 (source Portsmouth LTP4). There is limited road space, particularly in Portsmouth’s Victorian terraced streets leading to certain types of EV infrastructure being problematic for areas around the city.

Due to the nature of high car ownership, Portsmouth is forecasted to have over 40,000 projected EVs by 2030. With limited highway space, competing demands for different modes of travel, and Portsmouth City Council having a lack of control over a significant proportion of commercial car parks; options for on and off-street charging for this number of forecasted EVs would be limited.

The United Kingdom is currently facing a global climate emergency and air quality challenges, but Portsmouth also faces its own air quality challenges at a local level. Portsmouth City Council has been served with a Ministerial Direction, requiring the council to achieve compliance with legal limits for NO2 in the shortest possible time in areas of exceedances.

Opportunities

The EV strategy will work towards addressing the challenges that current and future EV drivers face, when residing, visiting or working in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth City Council have been leading the way in on-street charging infrastructure since 2019 and now through the opportunity of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) funding we will be able to continue the substantial progress already made in on-street charging infrastructure across the city. The council will be looking to meet current residential demand for on-street charging with this funding, and then take a more strategic approach in the rollout of future phases of on-street charging to meet the forecasted demand for EVs in Portsmouth.

The strategy will also set out holistically how to maximise the potential for off-street charging in residential areas to meet resident needs, and in key destinations around the city for workers and visitor needs.

Through supporting key policies nationally, regionally, and locally, the EV strategy will support improvements to air quality and carbon reduction. It will also support key council projects around the city, such as, the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) and the future development of car clubs. Portsmouth City Council has set an ambitious target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, with a climate emergency declared by the council in March 2019 and the EV strategy will help facilitate meeting this target.

Draft objectives

Prioritise EV infrastructure for residents, enabling conversion to electric vehicles

This objective will provide equitable charging for all residents across the city and will support those residents without off-street parking who are unable to charge at home. It will help meet the demand for residential EV infrastructure now, and more importantly in the future, which will enable residents to convert to electric vehicles more effectively.

Transform infrastructure provision in Portsmouth to promote it as an EV friendly destination for those visiting and working here.
Portsmouth is home to a wealth of tourist attractions and businesses, which draws many visitors in throughout the year. This objective will help provide EV infrastructure for those visiting and working in the city, accommodating all drivers to Portsmouth’s amenities.

Support Fleet conversion to EV through providing supporting infrastructure to meet their needs.
This objective aims to decarbonise businesses vehicle fleets by providing the necessary infrastructure to meet the need of fast-expanding fleet conversion to electric vehicles.

Deliver in partnership EV infrastructure to support shared and public transport modes conversion to EV.
This objective aims to encourage wider sustainable modes of travel by facilitating each modes conversion to electric vehicles by providing the necessary infrastructure for this.

Draft policies

Policy A: To continue to deliver the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme to meet resident demand initially, through low power overnight charging via lamp column infrastructure, then look to strategically expand on-street infrastructure based on geographical spread in the city.

As a densely populated island city with narrow streets and terraced housing many areas of Portsmouth do not benefit from off-street parking and suffer subsequent parking congestion posing a real challenge in providing electric vehicle charging infrastructure for residents. This why we are continuing to do deliver the on-street residential chargepoint scheme via lamp column solutions, where chargepoints are housed inside lamp columns to minimise street clutter and costs. This will be rolled out to meet current demand and then strategically placed across the city to meet exponential future demand for on-street electric vehicle infrastructure.

Policy B: To install designated parking bays for all EV infrastructure across the city and where appropriate limit usage to maximise equitable access.

It is important to ensure that all council installed electric vehicle infrastructure is accessible to all EV drivers by providing sufficient sized accessible bays and Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) to meet their needs. It is imperative to reduce the number of vehicles overstaying in designated EV parking bays, as this will help improve equitable access across the city to Portsmouth’s EV infrastructure. By limiting usage on appropriate locations, this will help deter EV owners from overstaying in certain locations. This could include time restrictions or financial disincentives.

Policy C: Investigate EV charging hubs in residential areas including car parks.

This policy aims to expand Portsmouth’s off-street charging network with fast chargepoints to increase the efficiency at which our residents can charge. It is important to understand that residents will all have diverse needs when it comes to charging their electric vehicle and we must not rely on the success of Portsmouth’s EV infrastructure being dependent on one mode of charging. Portsmouth’s EV infrastructure must be versatile.

Policy D: Explore the demand in all council-owned car parks to provide charging infrastructure at key destinations across the city.

Portsmouth is a popular tourist destination along the south coast of England, which means we will need to explore the provision of off-street destination charging at key areas around the city. This will give visitors the confidence and assurance that they will be able to charge their vehicle and make the journey home and not deter EV users from visiting the city.

Policy E: To support business in the city in providing and accessing chargepoint provision including enabling public access to private EV charging infrastructure.

By supporting the implementation of the necessary EV charging infrastructure for businesses around the city, this will help improve journey reliability for businesses who have converted to EV or are looking to, making the city’s economy more prosperous. By enabling public access to this, it also offers greater versatility for public charging options for residents and visitors of the city.

Policy F. Work in partnership to ensure the surrounding strategic road network and neighbouring areas have adequate charging infrastructure.

This policy will ensure there are sufficient electric vehicle charging points across the region to service the future demand. This will help be facilitated by TfSEs EV Infrastructure Strategy and promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing in the sector and region.

Policy G: To ensure sufficient EV infrastructure is available for the taxi trade in their conversion to electric vehicles.

From 2025, newly licensed vehicles must be electric or hybrid, meaning we need to ensure that sufficient EV infrastructure is available to the taxi trade. The council has already delivered three rapid chargepoints for taxis and PHVs and are looking to install a further 6. Beyond this we will look to further expand the EV charging network for the trade.

Policy H: To work with fleets to meet their EV charging needs at their depots, whilst exploring the opportunity of public access to the infrastructure.

By supporting the implementation of the necessary EV charging infrastructure for Fleets, this will help decarbonise fleet vehicles and improve the air quality across the city. By enabling public access to this, it also offers greater versatility for public charging options for residents and visitors of the city.

Policy I: To work with fleet operators to understand the needs of electric fleet vehicles registered to workers residences.

This aims to work with fleet operators to identify their workers charging demands to enable efficient transition of electrification of fleet vehicles and operations.

Policy J: To introduce electric car club vehicles in Portsmouth

This aims to introduce EV charging infrastructure to Portsmouth’s car club to help decarbonise the existing fleet of vehicles and improve air quality across the city and facilitate the electrification of the car club.

Policy K: To work with bus operators to continue to decarbonise Portsmouth’s bus network through zero-emission vehicles.

The council has worked successfully with bus operator First South through the Government Zero Emission Bus Regional Area scheme which will mean 62 new battery electric buses enter service next March, which serve four out of the five Portsmouth Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and cater for almost a quarter of bus passenger journeys in the Clean Air Zone (CAZ).