Connected Kerb is working with Kent County Council to provide a blueprint for local authorities to deliver electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to hard-to-reach communities.
In the project’s first phase, Connected Kerb is installing 40 charging units across 20 Kent parish sites.
All income from the chargers will be reinvested into the local community or used to support the rollout and maintenance of more chargers.
Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, says that access to charging infrastructure is one of the “biggest barriers” to the uptake of EVs.
“Although demand for chargers is higher in dense urban areas, the lack of infrastructure in out-of-town communities leaves people concerned about switching to EVs,” he said.
“It is vital that access to public charging is equitable across the entire country and we bring an end to the EV charging postcode lottery.”
The distribution of EV charge points across the UK is massively varied. For example, around a third of the UK’s public charging network is located in London, equivalent to 63 public chargers per 100,000 people.
This compares to areas like Gravesham, Kent or Castle Point, Essex, which have just 3.7 chargers per 100,000 people.
According to the UK Government, access to convenient charge points is essential to ensuring communities do not become isolated, either because they become unreachable for other EV motorists, or because they themselves are unable to utilise new EV technology.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has also highlighted the risk that electric car owners in some areas could be “left behind” as a significant challenge to the industry, with a lack of infrastructure potentially stifling EV uptake.
Pateman-Jones continued: “Nobody should be left behind by the EV revolution because of where they live.
“Our partnership with Kent County Council shows that the economics of installing EV charging in non-urban areas is much more favourable than many believe. This is a recipe for success for local authorities across the UK.”
Installing public charging infrastructure outside of busy urban areas has typically been a challenge for the industry.
Lower grid capacity and fewer connections increase upfront cost, with lower footfall compounding the challenge by extending the return-on-investment period.
With some rapid chargers costing upwards of £100,000 to install, and with lifespans of between 5-10 years, the economics rarely add up, says Connected Kerb.
As part of the company’s mission to make EV charging accessible for everyone, wherever they live, it says that its technology and business model enables local authorities to provide all communities with accessible, low-cost and reliable public EV charging.
The chargers also feature additional smart capabilities that can facilitate air quality monitoring, parking management, CCTV, road sensors, 5G connection, autonomous vehicles, route planning and power demand forecasting, it says.
Tim Middleton, transport innovations programme manager for highways, transportation and waste at Kent County Council, said: “This partnership offers a fantastic opportunity for Kent businesses, residents and visitors to have equal access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure – not only is this crucial as we move closer to the 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars, but it means that Kent can play its part in the transition to decarbonisation.”
The EV charging units are being installed at a range of sites, including village halls and car parks, beginning from this month.
Every charger will provide a 7kW – 22KW fast charge and will feature contactless payment via the Connected Kerb app.
The project has received funding from the Kent Lane Rental Scheme, the Department for Transport (DfT) and parish councils, and for some locations 75% of the costs were financed through the UK Government’s On Street Residential Charge Point Scheme, available to all local authorities in the UK.