A recent development in the race to provide street charging solutions for electric vehicles (EVs) has just won the UK’s GreenFleet award for industry innovation.

This charging station, designed by UK-based Urban Electric Networks, is controlled by an app on smart phones and rises from the ground when needed for use, and disappears again afterwards!

The system allows for charging at up to 5.8kW per instalation – meaning a rate of around 40km charged per hour for the average EV and allowing for most EVs to be fully charged overnight.

The pop-up device is designed to fit into shallow pits (through a fold-down design), enabling installation in areas with existing cluttered underground services.

It also incorporates a range of sensors to detect and avoid hitting obstacles (such as a parked car). As with all electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), it does not provide charge power until a car is connected.

Urban Electric pop-up pillar. Image: Urban Electric

A prototype six-charger hub has been installed in the UK city of Oxford for local residents to trial the pop-up charge points and report on their experiences.

Given almost 50% of urban UK drivers have to park on the street due to having no access to off-street parking, such a solution offers a very neat response to reducing street clutter when the EVSEs are not needed, yet allowing for easy access when it is wanted.

It will be interesting to see what comes of these trials, and whether the pop-up EVSE could provide a charging solution for inner-urban dwelling Australians – provided that is there is the will (and funding) to seed the installation of prototype systems here.

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