FOR people dependent on street parking, charging an electric vehicle can become a major headache. Already there is negative press about cables across pavements as people try and find ways to overcome this obstacle.
But a potential solution to this problem is being trialed by the London Borough of Brent. Start-up company Trojan Energy has designed a unique flat and flush charging system for those without access to off-street parking. The system has been designed with input from Disability Rights UK to improve safety for all street users.
Five Trojan Energy charge points have been installed in Mortimer Road for a small group of trial participants to carry out real-world testing of the prototype system. The full trial of 150 charge points across Brent and Camden will then go live later in the year.
These first charge points represent a critical moment in the three-year Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways (STEP) project funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and delivered by Innovate UK, which has seen the charge points developed from concept, through manufacturing and now deployment.
Fifteen charge points are installed in parallel from one electricity network connection, with power distributed across the chargers. London’s electricity network operator UK Power Networks, a partner in the STEP project, has connected the chargers to the energy system. The network is closely involved in ensuring the radical new chargers can help manage the additional load presented as the uptake in EVs continues and more people charge at peak times.
The full trial will see 10 sets of 15 charge points deployed on six streets in Brent and four streets in Camden. Information about the trial streets and recruitment areas can be found on the Trojan Energy website.
More than 140 EV drivers have already signed up to test the technology in the full trial running 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.
Strategic energy consultancy Element Energy are leading the project and have designed a survey alongside academic partners Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds to evaluate the success of the project. Results from the pre-trial survey suggest that 50% of EV Driver participants find their current charging situation inconvenient and are in need of a better solution, with over 70% stating that the availability of local charging points was an important factor for their EV purchase.
Ian Mackenzie, CEO of Trojan Energy, said he was delighted to reach this important milestone in the STEP project, as it represents the first implementation of the flat, flush and futureproof charging technology.
“We’d like to thank Innovate UK for their support, all the project partners for their expertise and help, and OZEV for their funding. We can’t wait to see the first driver reactions and hear their feedback so we can generate learnings for the wider project rollouts across Brent and Camden.”