Lancashire's 150-strong electric vehicle charging network is now live
Drivers of electric vehicles can now find a place to park and plug-in when visiting most of Lancashire's town centres thanks to a project to install 150 on-street charging points.
The partnership between Lancashire County Council and BP Chargemaster is nearing completion and reached a milestone this week with the opening of a new charging 'super hub'.
It features the largest concentration of public rapid chargers in the North West of England, and is the first such facility for drivers using the M6.
The 18 chargers are based on a Park and Ride site near J34 at Lancaster, offering drivers passing through Lancashire on longer journeys the opportunity to fully charge their vehicle in less than an hour, depending on the model, as well as being a convenient place to plug-in and catch a bus into the city.
Meanwhile work is nearing completion to ensure electric vehicle-only parking bays can be enforced at a further 32 locations across the county which form part of the scheme, with parking restrictions reserving them for use by electric vehicles being agreed by the council's cabinet last week.
Most of the charging points are accessed via on-street parking bays in town centres, with some also at transport hubs such as Park and Ride facilities in Preston and Lancaster, and the Preston Bus Station car park.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The government has provided funding to establish 150 charging points in the county to increase take-up of electric vehicles, reduce emissions and improve air quality, and I'm glad that these points are now available for people to use.
"Most of them are in town and city centres for the convenience of people making local journeys, but we've also recognised that our Lancaster Park and Ride site is strategically well-positioned to provide a service for all electric vehicle owners.
"The way the motor industry is evolving suggests we're only going to see people using more electric vehicles in the future, and I look forward to them becoming a more common sight in Lancashire."
The charging points are part of the nationwide Polar network operated by BP Chargemaster.
Matteo de Renzi, CEO for BP Chargemaster, said: "Lancashire County Council has been a great partner to work with in electrifying an entire county, helping drivers in the region to make the switch to electric vehicles.
"We are particularly proud of the launch of the first public rapid charging hub on the M6, which will make electric driving on the motorway in the North West even easier."
The charging points are a mix of 50kW chargers which can provide a full charge for many electric vehicles in 1 hour, and 7kW chargers which can provide a full charge in as little as 3 hours.
The programme to establish more electric vehicle charging points follows a successful bid by Lancashire County Council for £14.8m from the Department for Transport's Highway Maintenance Challenge Fund to invest in new technology, including a rollout of LED streetlights.