Is this the solution to charging an electric car if you don’t have a driveway?
Wandering down this leafy street in Berkshire, you would be forgiven for not realising that it may hold the answer to on-street electric vehicle charging. Having off-street parking is a luxury that many homes in towns and cities across the UK don’t have, and so on-street parking is the only option for those that have cars.
This particular street is home to three of ubitricity’s bollard charge points. Designed to blend into their surroundings, they do not look out of place with the red-brick terrace houses and well-maintained gardens.
On closer inspection, these charge points, which charge at 5.5 kW, are made from plastic and not cast iron. They are retrofitted, making use of the infrastructure already in place to power the streetlights.
Compared to the motorway rapid chargers, that offer 50 kW charging speeds and higher, the power output seems pedestrian. However, these charge points are an alternative to off-street home charge points, which typically have speeds between 3 and 7 kW, and offer a good option for overnight charging.
Are lamp post chargers a good idea?
The charging bollard’s chameleon approach may also be its most significant downside. Without signage and an obvious charging point, many of the chargers are ‘ICE’d’. That is to say, a petrol or diesel car is parked in front, resulting in an electric vehicle being unable to charge.
The area next to the ubitricity charge points on this street is not dedicated to an electric vehicle. Even if the driver of a diesel or petrol car knew there was a charging point, they have every right to park next to it, causing an issue if you are reliant on the charge points for overnight charging. However, when the majority of cars are electric, and there are more charge points, the problem will decrease.
Dan Bentham, Managing Director of ubitricity, is keen to stress that the majority of local authorities ubitricity partners with do not opt for dedicated bays, because of the cost involved. Most would rather spend their money on increasing the number of charge points available. He added, “ Charging your car should not be a chore. It should be convenient, simple and affordable for drivers and local authorities alike. With our unique lamppost and bollard chargers, our aim is to provide an EV charge point for drivers wherever and whenever they are parked, so drivers simply park, connect and go about their day”.
Ubitricity has over 2,000 charge points in the UK and offers a range of products, not just the bollard charge point. Details of these can be found on their website. They include various designs and charging speeds.
With sales of electric vehicles increasing, a solution for the 32% of homes without off-street parking must be found. Ubitricity’s bollard charge point is one of the answers to this problem, but dedicated charging spaces would help with the uptake and confidence in this elegant product.