Lamp posts through the streets of Kensington and Chelsea are to be fitted with electric vehicle chargers in a landmark project between the local council, OVO Energy and its technology partner ubitricity.
The new agreement will see 50 SimpleSockets installed across the borough which will draw 100% renewable energy from the street lights to give electric vehicle drivers access to new on street charging facilities.
Ubitricity founder Knut Hechtfischer has pointed out that the company’s smart charging solution allows customers to use the energy supplier of their choice when charging, rather than billing being decided by the charge point.
“This puts customers in the drivers’ seat when choosing where their electricity comes from, including a hundred per cent renewable sources,” he said.
The technology was trialled by the council earlier this year and is now being expanded to further increase ubitricity’s electric vehicle charging capacity across central London to become the largest charging network of its kind in central London.
Gerard Hargreaves, Kensington and Chelsea Council lead member for transport, said: “There is growing demand for charging facilities and a growing number of electric vehicles in Kensington and Chelsea.
“Most residents do not have access to off-street parking to charge an electric vehicle. Retro-fitting street lamps with charging technology allows drivers to conveniently charge their vehicles closer to home, while helping to tackle air pollution in London. Lamp post charging is also more cost-effective and much less obtrusive as the charging points require no additional street furniture.”
The council will begin installation of the new charge points in November and expects all the new charging points to be operational by the end of January 2018. They will be located next to pay and display parking bays to offer drivers two payment options for use.
Both require the purchase of a cable, with the first offering a cost of £199 if customers join ubitricity’ s monthly subscription scheme which costs £7.99 per month and charges 15p/kWh for electricity used. The second charges £299 for the necessary cable but with no monthly subscription, charging 19p/kWh.
With both options there will be additional charges of £1 for each charging session and a charge of £1 per hour after the first 24 hours of being plugged in. This is intended to stop people leaving their vehicle plugged in longer than needed, and to maximise the number of vehicles that can be charged from each lamp column.
The additional charges will be collected by ubitricity and paid to the council, with the income to be used to help maintain the equipment and potentially fund future deployments and replacements.
Tom Pakenham, head of electric vehicles at OVO, said: “We’re delighted to support the expansion of this pioneering programme with ubitricity and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council. With one million electric vehicles expected on the UK roads by 2022, it is important we continue to invest in technologies that solve the infrastructure challenges facing our cities.
“We want to remove barriers to electric vehicle adoption by providing innovative, simple and widely available urban charging solutions at a cost well below that of running a traditional car, and by giving people more control over their total energy usage.”
As well as working with ubitricity, OVO is also preparing to introduce a vehicle to grid (V2G) charger in 2018 that will enable drivers to sell energy to the grid from their electric vehicles.