My Urban Car

Charging Policy for local councils

What are the key components of a successful charging strategy?

Slow Charging should be available at close to the cost of charging at home in a driveway

Until EVs themselves reach cost parity with diesel and petrol vehicles, lower running costs are a key driver for EV purchases. This is entirely negated if on street providers charge far more than someone who can charge at home.

Essentially to succeed in making EVs work for all,  it is important people in flats and terraced houses are not discriminated against in the cost of running their electric car or van.

There are various types of charging that are available. While there is a risk that slow charging will become obsolescent as cars with bigger batteries become mainstream there is a place a mix of chargers from 7kW lampost chargers to 100kW rapid chargers.

Lamp post charging 

Advantages

  • These posts are slow but can provide shared bays between EVs and non EVs especially if 2 or 3 can be installed in a street.
  • Once installed bays can be set to be EV only based on demand – ie one dedicated bay for every 2-3 EVs parked in the street.
  • Cheaper to install and don’t clutter pavement.

Disadvantages

  • More suitable for residents than visitors -many types need a cable with a meter built into it.
  • As EV battery sizes grow charging speed on these will only really work for overnight topping up as a full charge could take 24hrs or more.
  • Ability to upgrade is uncertain
  • not quick – 3 to 7Kw

MyUrbanCar view

Lamp post charging is a low cost way to roll out charging capability with minimal cost and impact. Having to use a non standard cable to connect makes no sense. The new roll out in Southwark provides a genuine step forward by using standard cables, no need for membership and payment via an app.

Slow charging posts 

These posts have a place

Advantages

  • Highly visible and allow standard cables to be used and therefore useful for visiting EVs
  • To justify space and pavement space taken they could be be much faster than the speed of a lamp post charger & upgradable for faster rapid speeds in future. These chargers should be between 30kW & 50kW

Disadvantages

  • Highly visible
  • Tend to be installed in 3s. This probably makes sense economically but opposition might be reduced if not all bays were EV only to begin with in residential streets. This does cause an issue as EV drivers would “see” these chargers as available when looking at apps. The shared bay chargers would need to be hidden from apps showing availability. A solution might be to allow extra EV only bays once existing ones are in regular use. Perhaps over 7 charges a week averaged over a month would trigger another EV only bay.
  • these post charging posts, in London anyway, tend to be both slow and overpriced.
  • As a result they appear to indicate lack of demand for charging when they are simply not providing a good enough service at a reasonable price

Rapid charging

  • Charging of 50kW to 300kW speeds can be a premium cost option.
  • Should be EV only bays.
  • EV drivers will probably use rapid chargers less frequently – not least because it is more expensive. They will be prepared to travel to a location for a fast charge.
  • Fast chargers or slow chargers near retail and eating establishments will encourage owners to spend money locally as they charge.
  • Rapid charging slows down on most EVs once the battery is 70-80% full. It could make sense on a 50Kw charger to set a maximum time in the bay of 2hrs and 1hr on a 100Kw charger bay. This would allow a 0-80% charge on even the largest 90Kwh batteries on Tesla and Jaguar I-Pace.

Supermarket charging

  • for shoppers with dedicated spaces in convenient places
  • ideal for free or at cost charging – maybe attached to loyalty points or minimum spend.

Single EV payment card to work on multiple providers

  • the current system where people have to get cards from many providers (often with subscription fees) in order to access all the free charging points that are available is both annoying and inefficient.
  • local authorities can use planning rules to limit providers who can use the same payment methods.

MyUrbanCar view

The key consideration for a successful rollout of EV chargers in an area are:

  • A mix of fast and lamp post charging across an area provide a perfect mix for current EV’s.
  • Ensuring EV only space provision is adjusted according to demand
  • Charging cost for slow charging that is similar for on street as it would be from home
  • easy payment with ideally one membership or payment method for all chargers

David Nicholson

David Nicholson Is the founder of Rivergecko Ltd & MyUrbanCar which provide consultancy and advice for drivers and fleets to speed the transition from dirty fossil fuel transport to clean vehicles powered by renewable energy on land water and air.

The @MyUrbanCar twitter feed is a source of news & reviews of electric & plugin cars and vans in the UK.
The @rivergecko twitter feed & www.myurbancar.com websites bring news and opinion on cleantech transport including cars, vans, buses, trucks, shipping, rail & aviation as well as autonomous vehicles & renewable energy, air pollution & motor industry news.

David Nicholson has worked as an underwriter at Lloyd's of London since the 1980's. His interest in technology goes back many years including interactive mapping, apps, green tech, boats, solar and cars.

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