The UK Government has announced that it is investing £37m (US$46m) into British engineering to transform electric vehicle (EV) chargepoint infrastructure, revolutionizing the experience for the record levels of ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) drivers on the country’s roads.
The news comes on the one-year anniversary of the government’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy, which has driven a 60% increase in battery electric vehicle registrations this year compared to the same period in 2018. The strategy sets out new measures to clean up road transport and lead the world in developing, manufacturing and using zero emission road vehicles. The initiative has long-term aims of creating ‘carbon neutrality’, reducing vehicle pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and meeting ever-more stringent air quality standards. A total of 12 projects are set to receive a share of the new funding, to support the creation of innovations including wireless charging technologies, meaning electric vehicles of the future could charge without the need to plug in a cable. Through funding these projects, the government is incentivizing drivers to move towards buying electric vehicles, supporting the key aims of the R2Z strategy.
Urban Foresight, a smart city consultancy, has been awarded over £3m (US$3.7m) to roll out ‘pop-up’ chargers that are built into the pavement and provide a discreet, safe and low-cost charging solution for EV drivers without access to off-street parking. Other projects to receive funding include:
- A renovation project, installing chargepoints in car parks to allow for mass charging at night;
- A scheme to make use of existing Virgin Media physical and online infrastructure to deliver cost-effective and widespread charging, using high-speed internet connections to better share information online on charging progress and parking spaces;
- A cutting-edge storage and advanced electronics project that will deliver semi-rapid charging using a low power grid connection minimizing the need for costly substation upgrades;
- char.gy, an electric charging company, has been awarded over £2.3m (US$2.8m) and will use the funding to develop deploy wireless charging technology on residential streets without the need for trailing cables and additional infrastructure.
Initial three-month feasibility studies have been completed and the successful projects are moving onto the next stage of development.
“We’re charging up the transport revolution and investing in technologies to transform the experience for electric vehicle drivers,” explained UK Future of Mobility Minister, Michael Ellis. “Ensuring the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is reliable and innovative is encouraging more people to join the record numbers of ultra-low emission vehicle users already on UK roads.”
Keith Johnston, co-founder of Urban Electric, commented, “On behalf of the ‘Clean Streets’ consortium we are delighted to be a winner in the Innovate UK ‘Electric Vehicle Charging For Public Spaces’ competition. Together with our partners Urban Foresight, Co-wheels, Duku and AppyParking we look forward to demonstrating our pop-up charging hubs in Dundee and Plymouth and to bringing residential on-street charging for the 50% of people that park on-street at night in cities one step closer to reality.”