COMMENT: The number of charging points needs to be increased

In the hi-tech 21st century, it seems an anachronism that the majority of us are still driving around in vehicles that require fossil fuels and an engine to power them.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 12:00 am

It's been that way ever since 1885, when Karl Benz designed and built the world's first practical car to be powered by internal combustion.

He revolutionised travel and consigned horse-drawn transport to history. So why all these years later are we still waiting for a zero-emission successor to make Mr Benz's invention redundant?

More and more environmentally-conscious people are buying electric cars, but it's still a small percentage of the overall driving population.The number of electric cars in Portsmouth was just 2,025 in 2019.

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Why? Well, cost is an obvious deterrent. Until prices come down to make them more affordable, the majority of motorists won't consider changing.They may want to go green, but it has to make economic sense.

Then there's the distance you can travel on a single charge. This is improving all the time, but having a limit on how far you can go is putting some off.

Finally, there's the reliance on finding charging points if you need to plug in. Compared to the network of petrol stations in this country, the number is tiny.

But it's heartening to see that Portsmouth - where air quality is particularly affected by traffic - is leading the way, with figures showing we have more electric charging points than the UK average.

Data from the Department for Transport revealed there were 64 public charging points in April this year. But to put it in perspective, this is still only 30 for every 100,000 people.

The city council aims to provide 79 more and we certainly hope the number continues to rise. Because in order for electric vehicle ownership to grow, there must be the facilities to match.