“Electric car requires charging – stop removing parking spaces”

This is a debate article. The opinions expressed are the writer’s own.

DEBATE. An electric car does not have to go to a petrol station but can be charged when parked, at home or at work. It is therefore paradoxical that the policy is towards fewer parking spaces on neighborhood land, writes Ander Ydstedt, KAK.

The interest in electric cars is great and increasing. Every second car that is said to be rechargeable and every fourth is an electric car. At the same time, a policy is now being implemented that goes against the increased proportion of electric cars. To be able to charge, you need access to parking, but many municipalities work consistently to reduce the availability of parking spaces on neighborhood land, adjacent to housing and workplaces. A government inquiry has recently come up with proposals that give municipalities the opportunity to reduce parking requirements.

Most people who choose a car rightly see the need for their own parking space to be able to charge the car overnight as a prerequisite for getting an electric car. According to a new Skop survey commissioned by KAK, a large majority of Swedes (64 percent) see it as absolutely necessary to have their own parking space with the opportunity to recharge if they were to buy an electric car.

That is a perfectly reasonable result. The average distance traveled by car in Sweden is about 30 km per day, but of course it differs a lot between different cars and over the year. However, most Swedish motorists would probably do very well with night charging and for that matter also a car with battery capacity for less than 100 kilometers range. In practice, larger battery capacity is used only once a year, but with large environmental effects from production and increased weight as a result.

A big advantage of the electric car is that it does not require you to go to a special petrol station, but you can get the car charged when it is still parked. Nevertheless, the focus of the political debate is entirely on fast charging in public environments that burden the electricity system, both production and electricity networks.

KAK has also been in contact with the electricity companies in the three major cities, which confirms the picture that there is also no capacity for fast charging to any great extent than at present. In addition, battery life is affected by fast charging.

A number of investigations establish the benefits of “normal charging” in connection with parking. Not least in view of the occasional strained situation for our electricity system.

Inquiry Sweden without fossil fuels 2040 (SOU 2021: 48) proposes that “Charging infrastructure should be integrated into the electricity grid in an efficient way by a large part of the charging taking place at lower power levels and utilizing various possibilities for so-called demand flexibility, so that the additional electricity and power demand does not contribute negatively to existing capacity problems in parts of the electricity grid today ”.

The most obvious form of “demand flexibility” is to charge over a longer period of time and preferably at night. This is also the most common form of charging electric cars. According to the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, about 80–90 percent of the charging takes place at individual parking spaces, at a home or workplace, where the car is parked for a longer period of time.

It is therefore paradoxical that the policy both nationally and in many municipalities is towards fewer parking spaces on neighborhood land for housing and work – the parking that is best suited for charging. In the above-mentioned study, Sweden without fossil fuels 2040, there are restrictions on parking (parking figures for construction, state parking tax) as a means of control for a “transport-efficient society”. Another current study, Strengthened planning for sustainable development (SOU2021:23) proposes that the municipalities should no longer have to set requirements for parking spaces at new buildings.

State and municipalities must make a 180-degree turn in parking policy to make it easier for more rechargeable vehicles. This is especially true in the areas where access to parking close to the property is worse – which coincides with the areas where the load on the electricity system is greatest. Increased electrification of car traffic requires that there are parking spaces.

Ander Ydstedt, chairman, expert council, Royal Automobile Club (KAK)

Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by www.nyteknik.se.

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