Published: 06:00, 21 April 2021
| Updated: 15:15, 21 April 2021
More than 650 new electric vehicle charging points are set to be installed across one district over the next four years to cater for the "huge demand" in battery-powered and hybrid cars.
Canterbury City Council predicts there will be a massive jump in the number of 'green' cars by 2025, with the current figure of 450 rising sharply to 9,000.
To cope with the predicted surge in ownership, the authority is looking to increase its offering of public charging points - which currently stands at just 38.
It is hoped that within four years there will be 700 dotted around the district.
The plans were discussed at Monday's policy committee meeting, with council leader Ben Fitter-Harding stating: "I'm very happy with this. I think it does certainly cement our goals and ambitions.
"It feels ambitious in terms of the number of chargers we're aiming for."
By 2030, new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from sale in the UK, followed five years later by hybrid vehicles.
With the future being very much focused on all things electric, the city council is looking to drastically increase its charging provision.
Guidelines state there should be an average of one socket for every 9.6 electric vehicles.
Air quality officer Kelly Haynes therefore told the policy committee a heavy increase in charging stations is required in car parks and on-street locations.
"It's clear we've got a huge demand and the predictions for the need are there for the immediate future," she said.
A typical electric car has a battery capacity of about 60kWh (kilowatt hour) - the equivalent of a 200-mile range.
Charging points in car parks across the district differ in power and speed, with the slowest 3kW stations - located at park and ride sites - taking 12 hours for cars to reach 35kWh of charge.
Faster 22kW points in Station Road West car park take one-and-a-half hours to reach the same level. The council says it will look to upgrade its existing low-powered stations.
During a meeting of Kent County Council, in which plans to install chargers in parishes in rural parts of the county were discussed, the authority estimated that £200 worth of electricity sales would be generated every month by each point.
They quoted costs for a single 22kw unit of between £2,000 and £3,000.
Canterbury believes there will be an additional 7,000 battery electric vehicles and 2,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the district by 2025.
While welcoming the electric-focused outlook, Cllr Dave Wilson (Lab) questioned if the flurry of new charging stations will instantly become outdated.
"Are we going to get something which is a white elephant because of the speed battery technology is changing?" he said.
"We're going to have 700 points around the district in 2025 - are we going to find them to be 700 redundant charging points by 2026?
"I'm wary about us charging ahead too quickly but I know that's a difficult balance as we need to encourage people to use the vehicles."
Surveys will soon be conducted to find out where there is demand for charging points to be installed.
The council plans to have an entirely electric taxi fleet by 2030, and is set to install rapid 50kWh charging points at cab ranks in the city within the next four years.
The authority will receive funding from the Energy Savings Trust to cover 75% of the cost of the new charging points.
The strategy for electric vehicle provision was unanimously approved by the policy committee.