September 29, 2020

Do you have an EV but no driveway? 

Do you long for the convenience of charging your electric car where you normally park it overnight? 

Would you like to avoid the chore of driving to a charge point and then either:  

  1. killing time while you wait for it to charge 
  2. or clock-watching to avoid overstay penalties? 

Yes? Then here’s some good news for you. 

The lampposts in your street can be converted to EV charge points. Meaning charge points can come to you.  

But only if you ask your council to provide charge points because you lack a driveway. Councils can access special government funding to pay for this.  

Most councils have a form or an email address on their website where residents can apply. The easiest way to find it is to search “EV charging” or similar on their website.  

The more residents that make a request, the more likely your council will take action.  

Don’t hold your breath. It can be a lengthy process in the best of times. And this year councils have been stretched by coronavirus.  

But don’t give up either! Cleaner transport is in all our best interests and the Government wants to “build back better”.   

So go make that application 

Or carry on reading if you’d like to know what goes into bringing charge points to your street lights.  

 

Bringing EV charge points to your street 

To date we’ve helped over 20 councils create a low-cost charging amenity for their residents by installing our charge points in well over 2300 streetlights across the country. 

Not only is using the lamppost the cheapest way to install lots of public charge points – meaning low refuelling costs for EV drivers – it’s also the least invasive for your street. It avoids lots of bulky street furniture cluttering up your pavements. 

As news spreads, we’re receiving more requests from new EV drivers asking for a charge point outside their home. 

The thing is we have to work with your council to make this happen. So we thought we’d explain the key parts of the process to help you help us help your council put an ubitricity charge point or three in your street. 

 

1. Installing public chargers is different to private ones 

The street is a public space, managed by your council. As the highways authority, they control – and normally own – what is installed on it. Private companies and individuals can’t install privately owned equipment on roads and pavements without the council’s agreement. 

Also charge points that are installed on street must be available for everyone to use. To ensure street relationships stay neighbourly, we encourage councils to install several charge points per street.  – to make access easier and avoid conflict between neighbours. 

 

2. Is your street suitable 

So, how will your council evaluate your street? The choice of locations depends mainly on whether a) there is enough demand and b) whether it technically feasible to install charge points there. 

 

3. Demand 

Councils look at residents’ requests and try figure out which request they should prioritise first. 

For instance, a request from a resident who drives a taxi or delivery van can help a council make greater local air quality gains than occasional drivers who use their cars sporadically. 

Equally there are social justice considerations to take into account. For instance, people with disabilities rely on their car to get around and maintain their independence. They’re not “high milers” but their car is important to their living standards. 

Most councils are very aware they need to put charge points where there is a local need, so your request as a new EV owner is very helpful. 

4. Technical feasibility 

As soon as the council chooses which streets they want to equip with charge points, we check which lampposts are right for a charge point. We check factors such as: 

  • whether the spare electrical supply available to power the charge point. We can normally get enough power to charge your car at 5.5kW – roughly three times faster than a three-pin plug.  That charges an efficient EV at 20 miles an hour.  
  • the condition of the internal wiring 
  • the size of the lamppost – is there enough room for the extra fuses and charge point electronics 
  • the position on the pavement. If the lamppost is at the back of the pavement, we can still use the power supply and house the charge point in a small bollard at the kerb. 
  • the local parking conditions (not too close to other driveways, corners, double yellows etc). 

Once all that is agreed, the installation process is quick. An experienced installer can install and commission the charge point in under an hour.  

So what can you do to get charge points in your street? 

First of all, tell your council! Often councils have a webpage where you can register a request directly with the council itself. For a list of London Councils visit this website. It shows you who to contact and what information to provide for your request in every London borough.  

If you’re outside of London, have a look on your local district council’s website and the county council.

While that might not be exactly the answer you’re hoping for, we hope it at least explains the process. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch! Drop us a line at contact@ubitricity.co.uk