With the hurdles that face electric car ownership diminishing, there are still some that are holding back the inevitable roll out of electric vehicles (EVs) as their main mode of transport. One of the last challenges to overcome is making sure that people that want an EV have access to a charge point at their home.
“90% of all charging is done at home, making running an electric car super simple.”
For a lot of people this isn’t an issue as they have off-street parking, however, there are a growing number of residences in the UK that do not have access to this. For these homesteads, parking their vehicle on the street outside or near to their house is their only option. In city centres, and for built up terraced areas, not having access to a charge point on the street that they live on could be the one thing that is holding many people back from jumping into the world of electric plug-in cars.
“What are the solutions to EV charging when you cannot charge on your own drive at home?”
The problem that people face in these types of premises is that they do not have a dedicated parking spot or drive directly outside of their house. For most vehicle owners this is where they would be able to park their car and charge from a point that is connected onto the wall of their residence. Considering there are a lot of homes without any off-street parking, there must be alternatives put into place that will cope with the growing demand for electric vehicles.
With grants from the Government available and companies within the private sector ready to install these charge points, where they are needed, why are there not more around? Especially when more than 40% of people in the UK are happy to switch to EVs if they were able to, according to a survey done by Sainsbury’s Bank in 2017.
“40% of people would switch to an EV if they were able to charge at home easily”
Being able to charge at home is a stumbling block that shouldn’t exist and the shoulders onto which the blame seems to fall is, unfortunately, local councils. Councils across the country have access to a hefty pot of money to do exactly this. Install charge points where they are needed.
“Local councils and central government are to blame for the lack of city centre residential EV charging points.”
But still, the rate at which they are being implemented is slow, at best. As of January 2018, only 5 councils had taken advantage of the money that has been put aside. So, is it because of lack of interest from the public? Or is there just too much red tape and not enough political will to gain access to the funding that is available?
“There are several solutions available right now for charging your electric car even if you don’t have off street parking, so don’t be put off even if you cannot charge directly at your home.”
Below is a list of just a few options that are currently available and accessible to anyone that wanted to get a charge point installed near their house.
- Lamp Post Charging
One way of getting quick access near you is to install charge points into lampposts, taking advantage of the wired-up street feature that already connects straight to the grid. This, alongside a charging cable that keeps track of how much electricity you use, is a simple solution to getting the plug-in points available quickly to those that need it. Installation costs are low and there are already a lot of lampposts out there! Companies such as char.gy or Ubitricity are already making this option a reality.
- Roadside Charge Stations
Another method is to install dedicated charge stations by the roadside. The benefit of having these types of charging points is that they are small and could be installed easily by the side of the road either near or outside a persons’ place of residence. They could also be wired to have more than one socket in it allowing the public to charge more than one vehicle from any single point. This option however is adding more structures to a road’s pavement, which isn’t ideal, but because of the size of them it wouldn’t be too different than having any other piece of street furniture on the side of the road.
- Curb side pavement charging sockets
A personal future favourite way of installing charge points is to trench a cable underneath the pavement leaving a socket charge-ready on the curb. These types of charge points would have a charge port on the edge of the pavement, giving you access to a charge cable that would reel straight out of the ground. This method is tidy as it doesn’t take up any space on the already busy streets, and you would be able to place them all the way along a road. Although more expensive it would be a wonderful way of getting a lot of charge points into the roads of the UK.
- Location Based Charging
There are also location-based options that, if installed sensibly, could mean people wouldn’t need to fully charge their electric vehicle at home every night. Charging stations and charging bays could be, and already are in some areas, put outside supermarkets, shopping centres, parks, pubs, places of work and park-and-rides around cities. This would take strain off people needing to fully charge their vehicle every evening as they would be toping up while out and about.
“Charging at one of the many nearby charging stations that are already in place is the most popular and straight forward solution presently”
These are just a few ways in which the problem of lack of off-street parking can be overcome. Having a mix of everything, however, is the quickest and simplest way to get charge points accessible to the growing number of EV Owners, and the most sensible approach to be adopted by local councils. The demand for Electric Vehicles is getting bigger by the year and like, with anything, there is not a “one-type-fits-all” option. Every road in the UK is different and with each difference there must be an option that suits. Luckily, there are many options that work extremely well – if implemented correctly.
All that needs to happen now is for the public to apply for charge points and then councils and private sector companies to install them. Here’s hoping.
Have you seen any good examples of public charge points that have been installed in your local area?
Send a picture and a comment to firstname.lastname@example.org