A screen shot of a few of the participants  in the Kensington Society virtual event about electric cars, with councillor Cem Kemahli, lead member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, in the middle in the top row and councillor Johnny Thalassites, lead member for Planning and Transport, in the lower lefthand corner.

Virtual event about electric cars was a great success

On 24 February, the Kensington Society held a very successful on-line event with councillors Johnny Thalassites and Cem Kemahli via Microsoft Teams about electric cars (EVs) in general and the council’s efforts to help residents with the ongoing switch-over from petrol and diesel cars in particular.

In spite of the short advance notice – less than a week – 55 members had registered to take part in the online event, which was using Microsoft Teams, and more than 40 showed up.

Most of the questions and discussions were, understandably, about the expansion of charging points in the borough. At the moment, there are some 1,000 EVs in the council’s resident parking scheme, but that number will grow rapidly as the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will stop in less than ten years’ time. So, while current EV owners say that they don’t find it very difficult to find street charing points in their area, the situation will be very different if 20,000 are chasing charging points.

However, Cem Kemahli, who was an early EV convert, explained that in reality, most users won’t need overnight charging every evening, but perhaps only once a week. Also, the big oil and gas companies, like BP, Shell and Total, are investing heavily in EV charging across the UK, adding ultra-rapid charging points to their forecourts. They will eventually begin replacing their traditional pumps with charging points, as the demand for petrol and diesel goes down while the demand for electric charging increases. So, traditional forecourts are expected to handle more and more of the charging in the future.

The two councillors informed us that from April 2021, all residents in the borough who live on a public road will be within 200 metres of at least one EV charging point – either a modified lamp post or a designated charging point of the pillar kind (mainly ones set up by Source London, which now is owned by French Total). Also, the cost of a resident parking permit for an electric car, regardless of size, will only be £21/year from April 2021 if it’s the only car in the household.

It was obvious that most attendees thought it was a very useful and interesting event, with several sharing their experiences as EV owners, while others asked very good questions or came with practical suggestions that the two councillors promised to look into.

The council has provided us with an unedited video recording of the talk, which can be reached via this link. It starts five minutes into the talk and runs for 54 minutes.

First published 06/03/2021, updated 09/03/2021