York is “falling behind” on electric vehicle (EV) charging because residents living in terraced streets face a lack of options for powering them, councillors have claimed.

Council chiefs agreed on Monday to carry out a trial designed to boost EV charging capacity for homes without off-street parking after several councillors warned they were being left behind.

City of York Council describes itself as a “pioneer” in providing public EV charging infrastructure, but independent councillor Dave Taylor said the council was being “extremely negative” about the needs of residents living in the city’s 15,000 terraced homes.

Cllr Taylor, along with councillors Christian Vassie and Pete Kilbane, argued that too much focus had been placed on the city’s hyperhubs – the high-tech charging facilities at Monks Cross and Poppleton Bar Park&Ride sites.

“What people need is somewhere they can trickle charge their car overnight,” Cllr Kilbane said.

Council officers said their aim was to provide charge points within a 10 minute walk for significant areas of properties without off-street parking.

This is because installing on-street charging infrastructure in York is “not possible”, a council report said, while allowing residents to charge vehicles directly via their homes is “not safe” due to the risk posed by cables. The council is already having to take action against people who use this method.

Cllr Taylor said: “I am concerned that if we don’t do anything to serve the residents in the terraced streets, they won’t buy electric vehicles. But if they do, they will run cables across the pavement. Nobody’s going to walk 10 minutes in the rain to a car park.”

York Press: Cllr Dave TaylorCllr Dave Taylor (Image: Staff)

In Oxford, the council is trialling a method of using gullies in pavements to avoid trip hazards, while in Hampshire the council is allowing residents to use cable protectors.

Director of environment, transport and planning James Gilchrist said the council was monitoring trials elsewhere to see how they fared.

Cllr Vassie said: “I’m worried that we’re in a mindset of, instead of looking for solutions to help us meet what is the biggest challenge of our age, we’re treading tentatively and imagining why things can’t happen.”

York Press: Cllr Christian VassieCllr Christian Vassie

Head of highways and transport Dave Atkinson said: “We’ve had a fully funded EV charging programme that’s rolled out – a lot of authorities are in the infancy of that process.

“We sit at the top table. If we see an opportunity, we take that forward – there’s no sense that we’re sitting waiting for somebody else or for solutions to fall in our laps.”

Approximately three to four per cent of cars in York are thought to be plug-in vehicles.

The council has installed more than 100 charging points in York so far, with another hyperhub planned for the city centre.

In December, an average of 123 charging sessions were logged per day.

According to the council’s own climate change strategy, York needs to reduce its transport emissions by 70 per cent to hit net zero by 2030.

Council officers will now work up a trial to see how charging capacity could be increased on a terraced street.