Visitor to Hove dismayed by lack of working electric car charging points

Charging points for electric cars seemed to be in good supply in Hove but the reality left a visitor from Berkshire feeling flat.

Anna Polizio-Broom found all the chargers that she tried to use were broken, non-existent or unavailable due to parked cars.

Before heading from Sunningdale to see friends in the Poets Corner area of Hove, she checked Brighton and Hove City Council’s website for details of charging points and found plenty of chargers on the maps linked from it.

Mrs Polizio-Broom said: “I never thought it would be that complicated by any stretch of the imagination.

“We have always charged the car at home and knew I was going to Brighton and Hove so I thought it would be simple to check the map and saw there were various options.

“But it was not as easy as that.”

She tried the four charging points at Hove Station first and found out that all of the chargers there had been out of action for three months.

It was the first time that Mrs Polizio-Broom had tried to charge her eGolf away from home.

And her friends’ home, as with many homes in Brighton and Hove, did not have off-street parking.

During her search for a charging point, she found that some needed a specific swipe card and others were run off an app. She signed up with two of them, Electric Blue and Pod Point.

Mrs Polizio-Broom said: “I thought you turn up, make a payment and you’re good to go.

“The point we found at Richardson Avenue looked promising. I downloaded the app. It said it was charging.

“Then after 10 minutes I had a notification saying the charge had failed. This happened twice.

“After calling the company, they said they could see it was working from what they could see.”

Picture by Electric Brighton

There were other charge points that she could not access because ordinary cars were parked there as the spaces were not dedicated to electric cars.

She said: “It’s important at the moment as the government has announced it’s going to ban ordinary cars when the infrastructure is just not ready for it.”

Mrs Polizio-Broom said that the whole situation was a “logistical nightmare” as she had to drive around using up charge.

It was made harder because of the lack of off-road parking in the central areas of Brighton and Hove.

After managing to get a small amount of power so that she could drive to another charging station, she reached it only to find nothing there.

In the end her father-in-law came out to her from Coulsdon and she managed to get enough charge to return home.

She added: “People may say ‘she should have planned her journey better’ but it should not be this difficult.

“I won’t be visiting any time soon.”

Mrs Politzio-Broom’s friend, Christina Motture, of Sackville Road, Hove, was deeply disappointed that her home city had let her friend down.

Mrs Motture said that she was mortified for her friend,adding: “I thought we were a green city. I thought we were geared up for this.

“In the future, I assumed it would be an option to have an electric car without having a driveway but I don’t see it as a possibility now..

“I live in a terrace house and cannot cable out on to the street. I know I can’t do it at home. Now I know I wouldn’t bother to do it elsewhere.

“I didn’t realise you could have a lamppost charger that any other car can park in front of. What’s the point of that?”

In the past four years, demand for electric vehicles has increased nationally from 3,500 in 2013 to more than 145,000 by April 2019.

There is also a growing secondhand market for electric vehicles.

In November last year Brighton and Hove City Council chose Electric Blue to operate 200 new lamppost charging points funded by a £650,000 grant from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, a government agency.

The council said that it would monitor closely the need for exclusive recharging bays.

  1. Jim Ardell Reply

    Poets corner is such a dive, no wonder.

  2. Peter Challis Reply

    We need charging points in supermarkets, public car parks, work locations, railway stations, and if it ever happens, the park-and-ride.
    Installing charge points in the subset of lamp posts that are at the pavement edge (can’t have wires trailing across pavements), and are not antique (can’t be upgraded), will never support more than a subset of vehicles.

    If you are lucky to have a garage or private drive then you should be able to charge overnight, but the Green Party changed planning rules to restrict parking spaces in new builds to encourage of sustainable transport and discourage private motor vehicle ownership so making home charging almost impossible.

  3. Dave Reply

    Why on earth can’t you just use a contactless payment mechanism with charging points? The companies installing and operating these charge points seem to revel in making it as difficult as possible to use.

    Also, why isn’t our wonderful council insisting on a service level agreement as part of granting planning permission for commercial organisations? Is this too complicated for them?

  4. Nicky Brown Reply

    About a year ago I found myself unecpectedly in Brighton with my heavily pregnant daughter and not enough charge to get home – I’d been at the hospital so started at the Marina as I knew there were chargers there but needed to have pre-registered and have a specific card – several chargers later around Brighton and Hove (some I could find and some I couldn’t but all either didn’t work or not pay as you go) in the end I spoke to a very helpful person who directed me to a charger and controlled it over the phone for me to enable me to get home – finally made it at 3am after spending 3 hrs getting very cold and wet just trying to get my car charged. I normally charge my car at home and don’t take it outside my range as a result of this experience – I’ve tried looking at other destinations and it’s a minefield – even council run chargers across borders appear to be different. Range anxiety is a real condition!

  5. Argusnot Reply

    I’ll stick with my diesel

  6. MattR Reply

    Using a charging network could and should be easy. It is clearly not easy, not even for locals who regularly fail to get a charge. At one point I had remember having 2 cards, 2 fobs and 3 apps…it is a mess! I imagined that the latest set of lamppost chargers would allow local folk to charge reliably, leaving capacity for visitors…I was wrong! There are no road markings [what is that about]? Every charge with the exception of one [which was initiated by the operator] has failed after 10 minutes. The scheme appears not to have been well considered, deployed or engineered. I have needed to go backwards, from full electric [BEV] to an EREV [how i hate to use that stinking engine] to ensure i can get to my destination, a real shame.

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