The problem of electric vehicle spaces being blocked or hogged by drivers of petrol and diesel vehicles could soon be a thing of the past thanks to an innovative project being carried out by East Lothian Council and Fuuse.
The council has joined forces with vehicle chargepoint management platform, Fuuse, to tackle charging bay hogging and blocking in the area. The project will see sensors installed at two of Musselburgh’s town centre charging sites (Gracefield Car Park and Shorthope Street Car Park) where use of bays is restricted to plugged-in vehicles only. The sensor will detect the presence of parked vehicles and the Fuuse Aware module will alert the council’s parking management team if any of those vehicles aren’t plugged in.
This project forms part of the council’s wider strategy to provide attractive charging solutions for people without a driveway or a safe place to charge at home.
Additional sensors will be installed nearby at Eskside East where East Lothian Council will be deploying further bollard style “on-street” chargers following successful trials of these devices last year. These chargers will continue to have no restrictions on who can park next to them as the council recognises that parking is at a premium in many residential areas and it is essential to avoid resticting parking to just one type of vehicle.
To address the fear that these kinds of charger are frequently blocked the Fuuse App will display the availablity of parking space and not just the status of the chargers themselves. This will reduce driver uncertainty and doubt about the availability of chargers in Musselburgh.
EV drivers who remain in charging spaces beyond any permitted duration or after their session is completed can also receive notifications to vacate the space, allowing others to access the charger and avoiding fines.
East Lothian Council Transport spokesperson, Cllr John McMillan said: “For those who don’t have a safe place to park and charge at home, seeing live on-street status in their area will address potential concerns over finding an attractive space close to their home. We know this can deter people from switching to EVs. For those that choose to use our many Destination or Journey charging sites such as Gracefield Car Park – where use of bays is restricted to plugged-in cars only – they’ll know that any hogging or blocking will be detected and addressed by our Parking team.”
Dan Lucy-Lloyd (pictured above), Product Director at Fuuse, said: “This project with East Lothian offers the perfect test bed for how advances in chargepoint management can optimise existing infrastructure. Utilising the long range of LoRaWan technology, the solution will be easily scalable across urban and rural environments. This means East Lothian Council will be able to easily monitor and demonstrate the accessibility of their entire network, and will be setting an innovative example to local authorites throughout the UK.”
The innovation project is funded by Transport Scotland and managed by Scottish Enterprise, through the Can Do Innovation Low Carbon Challenge.
Images courtesy of Fuuse.