Start-up company Trojan Energy is installing 200 of its kerbside electric vehicle (EV) chargers across Brent and Camden as part of a trial in the capital.
Each charge point is slotted into the ground with a flat and flush connection, says Trojan. The technology has no permanent footprint or street clutter as the hardware is only visible when a vehicle is charging.
The Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways (STEP) project has been awarded £3 million in co-funding by Innovate UK.
The technology consists of two parts – a charge point slotted into the ground, and a ‘lance’ which is inserted into the charge point in order to charge.
The charger can provide charge rates from 2kW to 22kW, and up to 18 chargers can run in parallel from one electricity network connection.
Cllr Shama Tatler, lead member for regeneration, property and planning at London Borough of Brent, said: “I hope these discreet kerbside chargers will make electric vehicles accessible for more people and get us one step closer to our aim of becoming a zero carbon borough.”
Trojan Energy managing director, Ian Mackenzie, said that the backing from Innovate UK allows it to bring its “discreet” kerbside charging to cities where the need to transition to EVs is greatest.
“Our technology will allow us to electrify whole streets at a fraction of the cost of traditional charging infrastructure and without the need for kerbside clutter.”
Element Energy, a strategic energy consultancy specialising in the analysis of low carbon energy, are leading the project.
Celine Cluzel, Element Energy director, said: “STEP is trialling a solution to what is often the Achilles’ heel of charging infrastructure: scalability.
“The project is also conducting research on consumer and wider street users’ preference – a typical gap in research so far. These facts, combined with the excellent team brought together, make us confident that the trial will be a significant step forward for the uptake of electric vehicles.”
Other members of the consortium include UK Power Networks, Birmingham City Council and the University of Leeds.
Renewable electricity supplier Octopus Energy will also be recruiting their customers for the trial and providing expertise in backend billing which will be invaluable to EV owners.
A key aspect of the trial involves collecting consumer feedback on the technology and gathering new information on the charging behaviour of EV drivers who park on-street. This research will be led by the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, who are a world-renowned research establishment, alongside input from Element Energy who have previous experience of conducting EV trials.
Feedback from this research will crucially inform the development of commercialisation plans.
UK Power Networks’ Dr Giulia Privitera said: “Off-street parking makes up 60% of residential parking in London, and we have a responsibility to make sure that no customers are left behind in the electric vehicle revolution. We are excited to support this project and look forward to seeing the insights it will offer us into consumer behaviour.”