Trojan Energy have announced a new project to develop a single, publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) chargepoint that can be installed in the street outside a customer’s home and powered by their domestic electricity supply – the first on-street charger to allow this.
The new Aon Charger is being developed as part of the DoorSTEP project and will use Trojan Energy’s proprietary ‘flat and flush’ charging technology currently being demonstrated in the STEP project. Trojan’s chargers sit below the pavement surface and users access them by inserting a Trojan ‘lance’ to connect the charge point to their vehicle. This means there is no permanent clutter at the kerb when no EVs are charging. For the Aon Charger, an underground cable connects the chargepoint in the street to the home’s consumer unit via a small control box installed on the user’s property.
This set up will allow those without off-street parking to access the same low-cost charging rates available to EV drivers with chargers installed on private driveways or in garages. As the Aon Charger is installed in the street, the host can make it available to other EV drivers, helping to share the cost and increasing access to public charging in the area. In addition, with the chargepoint funded by the users, the burden on local authority budgets to provide public charging can be reduced.
The project is funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) in partnership with Innovate UK. As part of the project 25 prototype units will be trialled on selected streets in the London Borough of Brent and in three districts of Oxfordshire; South and West Oxfordshire and the Vale of the White Horse. Brent Council and Oxfordshire County Council are key project partners and hope to understand how the technology can be used to provide charging for residents that are underserved by existing chargepoint technologies.
Ian Mackenzie, CEO of Trojan Energy commented: “We are excited to be bringing a new version of our charging system to reality, with great partners who share our commitment to solving the interesting regulatory and contractual challenges that arise from an architecture that’s not been tried before. We know the trialists are going to love being able to charge right outside their front doors.”
The DoorSTEP trial, running from February to July 2022, is seeking to recruit two types of participants to use the technology; one will have the technology installed at their property (which will need to meet certain criteria), the other will have access to the charge points installed near to them but will not host the hardware themselves.
Councillor Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change Delivery and Environment, said: “Not having a safe and secure spot for recharging is one of the main barriers to people getting an electric vehicle. That’s why schemes like this are so important. We are delighted to be involved in this trial scheme and will move as swiftly as possible to a widespread roll-out of schemes like this in the near future.”
Cllr Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment at Brent Council said: “This is a brilliant initiative which helps us promote the use of electric vehicles to everyone and not just those who have off-street parking, and it has the added bonus of reduced costs. This is another positive step we are taking on our journey to reach zero carbon emissions by 2030.”
Strategic low carbon energy consultancy Element Energy are leading the project and will be conducting surveys and focus groups with the trial participants to understand how they have interacted with the technology. A key output of the project will be to understand how the trial participants are able to share access to the chargepoint and will include development of a digital charging marketplace. This will be accessed through a mobile app and create competition amongst the trial participants to encourage sharing and increase utilisation, helping to spread the costs.
Oliver Robinson, Senior Consultant at Element Energy and the Project Manager commented: “The chargepoints being developed under the DoorSTEP project are highly innovative, aiming to provide an experience that is as convenient as a home charger for those who lack access to private off-street parking. At the same time, by using a domestic electricity supply, we hope to reduce the cost compared to other public charging options and make this charging option available to as many local EV drivers as possible. This will help drivers who have so far been excluded due to lack of access to suitable charging infrastructure to make their next vehicle an EV.”
Last month (September) Transport + Energy spoke to Mark Constable, Head of Business Development at Trojan Energy, about why collaboration is key to solving the decarbonisation challenge.
Images courtesy of Trojan Energy/Darren Cool.