First-of-a-kind on-street electric vehicle charge points go live for testing in the London Borough of Brent.
Five Trojan Energy charge points have been installed in Brent’s Mortimer Road for a small group of trial participants to carry out real-world testing of the prototype system. The full trial of 150 charge points across Brent and Camden will then go live later in the year.
The new on-street charge points sit flush within the pavement, with no permanent raised street furniture at the pavement edge. Importantly, the system has been designed with input from Disability Rights UK to improve safety for all street users.
This technology is revolutionary in providing a solution to deliver vital on-street charging to help reach Net Zero, whilst keeping our streets clear of clutter.
These first charge points represent a critical moment in the three-year Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways (STEP) project funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and delivered by Innovate UK, which has seen the charge points developed from concept, through manufacturing and now deployment.
Start-up company Trojan Energy have designed the unique flat and flush charging system for those without access to off-street parking. 15 charge points are installed in parallel from one electricity network connection, with power distributed across the chargers.
London’s electricity network operator UK Power Networks, a partner in the STEP project, has connected the chargers to the energy system. The network is closely involved in ensuring the radical new chargers can help manage the additional load presented as the uptake in EVs continues and more people charge at peak times.
Ian Mackenzie, CEO of Trojan Energy, said: “Trojan Energy is delighted to reach this important milestone in the STEP project, as it represents the first implementation of our flat, flush and future-proof charging technology. We’d like to thank Innovate UK for their support, all the project partners for their expertise and help, and OZEV for their funding. We can’t wait to see the first driver reactions and hear their feedback so we can generate learnings for the wider project rollouts across Brent and Camden.”
Transport Minister, Rachel Maclean, said: “Innovation is key to creating cleaner, greener local communities – not only in the capital, but right across the country. This project is a great example of how technology is being used to solve a real-world problem to ensure that our EV infrastructure fits in seamlessly in our local towns and cities.
“This is crucial as we build back greener and encourage more people to make the switch, which is why I’m delighted this government is backing its delivery.”
The full trial will see 10 sets of 15 charge points deployed on six streets in Brent and four streets in Camden. Information about the trial streets and recruitment areas can be found on the Trojan Energy website.
Over 140 EV drivers have already signed up to test the technology in the full trial running from September this year to March 2022. A further 75 have signed up as ‘Prospective’ EV drivers, who intend to adopt an EV in the near future.
Strategic energy consultancy, Element Energy, are leading the project and have designed a survey alongside academic partners Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds to evaluate the success of the project.
Results from the pre-trial survey suggest that 50% of EV Driver participants find their current charging situation inconvenient and are in need of a better solution, with over 70% stating that the availability of local charging points was an important factor for their EV purchase.
Sarah Clements, Principal Consultant at Element Energy and the Project Manager, said: “The sheer volume of participants signed up to this trial demonstrates the crucial need for on-street charging in residential areas. STEP is tackling a key barrier to EV uptake by providing convenient access to chargers for those that cannot charge at home.
“One aspect we are particularly keen to understand is whether deployment of this on-street technology will give confidence to local consumers to upgrade to EV – an important policy focus in the UK today.”
As part of the trial, award winning renewable electricity supplier Octopus Energy is offering the opportunity for customers to merge their car charging costs with their home energy bill through Octopus’ EV roaming service, the Electric Juice Network. This will create a seamless system for paying for all the electricity they use in one place, as if charging at home.
Phil Steele, Future Technologies Evangelist, Octopus Energy, said: “Better accessibility and provision of easy-to-use electric vehicle chargers is the key to breaking down barriers in the switch from petrol to electric cars.
“On-street charging will play a critical role in the widespread take-up of electric cars. So we’re super proud to be part of the STEP project, powering the next generation of on-street chargers which integrate seamlessly into their surroundings.
“Charging electric cars on the street becomes even more convenient for our customers as they can have their costs sent straight to their energy bill via the Electric Juice Network, building an even more enticing case for people to give up their gas guzzlers for good.”
Jillian Anable, of the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, said: “Our study of the EV owners and prospective owners signed up to the trial shows that exposure to the technology and having it available in such close proximity is significantly likely to accelerate the adoption of EVs in residential areas.
“Only a quarter of those currently owning EVs in the area were happy with their charging options before the trial and over three quarters of prospective EV owners intend to buy an EV over the next year, with half of them citing the prospect of having Trojan’s technology nearby as having had an important influence on this decision”.
Ian Cameron, Head of customer service and innovation, UK Power Networks, said: “The new charging technology we are trialling has significant potential for the future of on-street charging. It is vital all our customers have access to the necessary charging infrastructure if the UK is to meet Net Zero by 2050 and this is an exciting step in the right direction to accelerate the uptake of EVs.”
Images: courtesy Trojan Energy Ltd. / dcoolimages.com