An electric vehicle charging trial in the United Kingdom is offering a neat solution for increasing access to charge points without cluttering up valuable footpath real estate.
When not in use, the new circular charge points by start-up Trojan Energy sit flush with the footpath, like trail markers along Melbourne’s “Golden Mile” or LA’s Hollywood walk of fame. When in use, the chargers resemble a small steel bicycle pump.
Trojan Energy’s trial got off the ground (figuratively speaking) this week, along one residential London street. It will expand to 150 charge points across two suburbs later this year.
Designed with input from Disability Rights UK, the chargers’ minimalist design recognises that walkers, people with disabilities and parents with pushers all need for clear, accessible footpaths.
“This project is a great example of how technology is being used to solve a real-world problem to ensure that our EV infrastructure fits in seamlessly in our local towns and cities”, UK transport minister Rachel Maclean said.
In Australian cities and suburbs, space for pedestrians is already under pressure from outdoor dining (particularly during COVID-19), motorbikes, NBN and planter boxes.
Designs like Trojan Energy’s could increase access to electric vehicle charging for households, especially those without off-street parking, without adding (much) to the clutter.
As part of the trial, UK electricity retailer Octopus Energy is offering an option for customers to bundle their car charging costs into their household electricity bills.
Trojan Energy’s trial joins other initiatives seeking to minimise the overall visual and spatial impact of electric vehicle charging technology in cities, such as tech giant Siemens, which is converting London lamp posts into hidden electric vehicle chargers, or the Californian city of Lancaster which has converted its street lighting into charging stations.
The trial is part of a Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways (STEP) project funded by the UK’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles.