The government has announced £37m funding for British engineering to transform electric chargepoint infrastructure, aiming to “revolutionise the experience for the record levels of ultra-low emission vehicle drivers on UK roads.”
Innovations to receive investment include solar-powered forecourts, underground charging systems and electric vehicle wireless charging systems, with the government hoping the new infrastructure will encourage and make it easier for people to switch to electric vehicles.
Twelve projects are set to receive a share of the funding, and the news comes on the one-year anniversary of the Road to Zero strategy which, says the government, has driven a 60% increase in battery electric vehicle registrations this year compared to the same period in 2018.
Future of mobility minister, Michael Ellis, said: “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. Through funding these projects, the government is incentivising drivers to move towards buying electric vehicles, supporting the key aims of the Road to Zero strategy.”
Urban Foresight, a smart city consultancy, has been awarded over £3m with Urban Electric to demonstrate Urban Electric’s ‘pop-up’ changing hubs, which are built into the pavement and provide a discreet, safe and low-cost charging solution for electric vehicle drivers without access to off-street parking.
Further projects to receive funding include:
- A renovation project, installing chargepoints in car parks to allow for mass charging at night;
- A project leveraging 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 minimising the need for costly substation upgrades;
Char.gy, an electric charging company, has been awarded over £2.3m and will use the funding to develop and 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 successful projects are moving onto the next stage of development.
Richard Stobart, CEO of Char.gy, said: “Working in collaboration with the Open University and the University of Warwick’s WMG, we are excited to show that our ability to retrofit to existing electric vehicles and enable several parking bays per lamp column without the need for cables will accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles.”
Keith Johnston, co-founder of Urban Electric, said: “Together with our partners Urban Foresight, Co-wheels, Duku and AppyParking we look forward to bringing residential on-street charging for the 50% of people that park on-street at night in cities one step closer to reality.”
Sebastian Speight, managing director of infrastructure at Ingenious, said: “There are currently a number of market participants developing and implementing strategies for rolling out charging infrastructure but there is also a reasonable degree of uncertainty about the future patterns of consumer behaviour which creates a level of risk in these business models. A closer involvement from public stakeholders should enable greater visibility on these risks and increase the availability of private capital.”