The trial, which is being run by Connected Kerb in conjunction with Lambeth Council, will see 22 on-street EV chargers installed in 11 council estates across the borough – locations where few people have their own off-street parking. By 2022, the goal is to work with other charge point operators to have more than 200 charging stations across the borough, ensuring that no household is more than a five-minute walk from a public charger.
Figures from fellow charge point manufacturer, Andersen, suggests that around 80 per cent of current EV owners have off-street parking, enabling convenient charging at home. However, around 40 per cent of dwellings in the UK don’t have this facility. This disparity is higher in towns and cities – the places that stand to benefit the most from quieter, cleaner EVs.
Connected Kerb will be supplying chargers which juice at a speed of 7kW, enabling users to park up for those who need to use them to form habitual charging habits and use the infrastructure for a predictable amount of time – maximising utilisation. Contactless payment alongside a single tier tariff across the borough will ensure that both access and costs are fair and equal to everyone.
The chargers themselves differ from those more commonly found across the country, with Connected Kerb’s USP being that the charging infrastructure is located below the ground. Installations can remain passive until the connectors are installed above ground to meet demand – effectively ‘switching on’ the supply. For local authorities, knowing that the infrastructure is in place and ready to go when needed means that it can better manage the economics of borough-wide projects.
Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, said: “People often think electric vehicles are the preserve of a fortunate few with detached houses and driveways, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With running costs much lower than petrol and diesel cars, all communities, regardless of where they live, their social background, or whether they have a driveway or not, have lots to gain.”
Local resident, Ahai Ahluwalia, has benefitted personally and reckons it’s encouraged others to switch to an EV: “The installation of the chargers has had a really positive impact on the estate. I’ve spoken to neighbours who have actually made the switch to an electric vehicle because of the chargers going in and they are reassured that they can easily charge outside their flat – it’s amazing! The more boroughs and estates this type of project can happen in, the better.”
Whilst fit-for-purpose public charging is the best solution to mass adoption of EVs, owners who have off-street parking are renting their facilities in increasing numbers. Online matchmaker of car owners and privately-owned off-street parking, yourparkingspace, now has more than 6500 spaces with EV charging on its books.
The premise is simple: Enable those with an off-street parking space with a charger to offer their parking space and – if they want – their charger for use by other drivers for a cost. Yourparkingspace isn’t the only company offering this service; Co Charger is a company that deals solely with community-provided EV charging.
For urban locations like Lambeth, the mixture of new and convenient public charging as well as the local community creating a network of private chargers could help fill the gap between the desire for people to buy an EV and the available charging provision.