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First on-street chargers in STEP trial go live in Brent

A Trojan Energy chargepoint in use. Image: Trojan Energy.

A Trojan Energy chargepoint in use. Image: Trojan Energy.

Five Trojan Energy on-street chargers have gone live as part of the Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways (STEP) project, led by Element Energy.

First announced in 2020, the project is to see 150 chargepoints across Brent and Camden, London, go live later this year. The first five, now live, are to be trialled by a small group of participants, carrying out real-world testing of the prototype system.

The on-street chargepoints sit flush with the pavement, with no permanent raised street furniture at the pavement edge. The system has been designed with input from Disability Rights UK to improve safety for all street users.

The full trial - which is funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles and delivered by Innovate UK - will see 10 sets of 15 chargepoints deployed on six streets in Brent and four streets in Camden, with each set of 15 chargepoints to be installed in parallel from one electricity network connection. Power is then distributed across the chargers, with UK Power Networks – a partner in the STEP project – having connected the first chargers.

Octopus Energy is also a partner in the trial, with the energy supplier offering customers the opportunity to merge their car charging costs with their home energy bill through its electric vehicle (EV) roaming service Octopus Electric Juice.

Earlier this week, the Electric Juice network added Mer to its roster of charging partners, which now include NewMotion, IONITY, Char.gy, Hubsta, Alfa Power, Franklin Energy LiFe, Plug-N-Go and Osprey.

Over 140 EV drivers have already signed up to the trial, which is set to run fully from September this year to March 2022. A further 75 have signed up as prospective EV drivers who intend to adopt an EV in the near future.

Element Energy has designed a survey alongside academic partner the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, with results from the pre-trial survey suggesting that 50% of EV driver participants find their current charging situation inconvenient.

One aspect of the trial Element Energy is particularly keen to understand is the impact of deploying on-street technology on the uptake of EVs, according to Sarah Clements, principal consultant and the project manager.

"STEP is tackling a key barrier to EV uptake by providing convenient access to chargers for those that cannot charge at home."

Lastly, Birmingham City Council forms the final consortium member, acting as an observer for the project and providing advice on how the technology could be implemented outside the capital.

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