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Electric car owner from Kinloss calls for non-electric vehicle owners to stop parking in charging bays

By Garry McCartney

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Derek and Janis Thompson at the electric parking bays on Leask Road which is always occupied by non electric cars...Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Derek and Janis Thompson at the electric parking bays on Leask Road which is always occupied by non electric cars...Picture: Becky Saunderson..

AN electric car owner claims fossil fuel-powered vehicles are blocking charge points in local parking lots and endangering his wife’s health.

Retired RAF pilot Derek Thomson of Upper Hempriggs, Kinloss reported the issue to Moray Council as he often cannot re-charge his Nissan Leaf at the Leask Road and Tulloch Street car parks because the charge parking spaces are occupied by Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles.

He said: “In electric vehicle parlance, the spaces get ICE’d! In an area where charging spots are few and far between, this is a problem for EV (Electric Vehicle) drivers. Charging points are also an essential part of promoting green tourism.”

There are also tariffed charging points at the train station car park, Orchard Road car park (which includes a 50KW rapid charger and Forres Enterprise Park (which has two chargers).

Moray Council traffic engineer Kevin Price replied to Derek’s complaint, pointing out that signs are already in place identifying the spaces for EVs only.

He said: “It’s not been possible to complete the revised road markings due to long term equipment breakdowns. I’m hopeful this can be rectified shortly and will request that parking attendants visit the site and serve penalty notices if appropriate. We’ve tried to resist coloured surface for car charger bays as it places a strain on maintenance budgets.”

Lack of access to charging points is a serious matter for the family as Derek’s wife, Janis, has been undergoing chemotherapy and needs him to drive her around.

Derek said: “Depending on the type of charger, charging can take some time. For example, several points in Forres are AC chargers rated at 22KWh, while others are rated at 7KWh. There is currently one DC-capable charger rated at 50KWh. Our car can accept charge from any but its electrics limit the charge rate. A charge of 30 per cent to 100 per cent on an AC charger takes about five hours. On a rapid DC charger, it takes about an hour.”

Typically, the Thomsons use their EV for local trips with the occasional drive to Aberdeen for hospital appointments. Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has well-marked and accessible charge points on the ground floor of its multi-storey car park.

Derek said: “Charging is only really an issue on long journeys but there are apps to plan them and find charge points.”

When charging at home, the Thomsons pay 16p per unit and home charging costs just under £31 for nearly 1200 miles driven. External charging costs were less than £10.

Derek said: “Once we get SMETS2 smart meters fitted, we can switch to a tariff that provides four hours of electricity overnight at 5p a unit. This will make a significant saving as we can program the car to only charge itself during cheap time period.”

Derek confirmed charging away from home costs vary from free to £3.80-a-session to 40p a unit.

He said: “It all depends on who owns the charge point and what they want to charge. How often is dependent on use. Because we can charge at home, unless we are planning a long journey, we let the charge state get down to 50/60 per cent before plugging in at home. You could get into a routine of just plugging in when you park up for the night.

“At home, if we got back at 11pm with 20 per cent battery, the battery would be fully charged by the time we needed to use it the next morning.”

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