Maybe the best electric vehicle charging is the one that goes away when you aren’t using it. It’s at least an idea worth trying, thinks Urban Electric, which revealed the first images of its UEone “pop-up” charging hub today. Urban Electric says that this new kind of electric vehicle charging architecture “preserves the urban streetscape” and allows EV drivers to charge overnight while parked in the street and then make the chargers go away when not in use.
Urban Electric, based in the UK, was awarded 452,000 pounds ($546,000 U.S.) for its next-generation hub. The award was part of a 3.8-million pound ($4.6 million U.S.) project by Innovate UK to develop a “Clean Street” that allows on-street charging but also “minimises impacts on accessibility, functionality and the look-and-feel of city streets.” In its application for the grant money, Urban Electric pitched its chargers as a way to get EVs into the hands of more people. After all, in the UK, around 43 percent of households (up to 85 percent in some areas of London) can’t easily use an EV since they have no off-street parking space where they can install a charger. Since around 90 percent of EV drivers use at-home charging, this is an “unsolved barrier to EV adoption.” In a filing to Innovate UK, Urban Electric said that this problem affects up to 11.6 million households in the UK. Obviously, the problem is international in scope, but no estimates were given about how big it is there.
The lack of at-home charging for residents with only access to on-street parking affects up to 11.6 million households in the UK alone. This will severely limit the scope for future implementation of government policy to encourage the uptake of EVs.Urban Electric
Urban Electric says that its EV chargers can charge at 7 kW and require no special equipment. The company has already installed a prototype 6-charger hub in Oxford.
Urban Electric is currently conducting a crowdfunding pitch on Crowdcube. The mission there is to raise 250,000 pounds ($300,000 U.S.) in online investments to install up to 18 more of these pop-up charging hubs that would offer more than 100 charge points in Dundee and Plymouth.
Urban Electric Networks Ltd was founded by Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson and Keith Johnston and was voted as a Top 6 European Cleantech Start-up in 2018 by Climate-KIC, Europe’s climate innovation agency. The company is planning on going into commercial production if the current and upcoming trials are successful and says that it will earn money by selling electricity used to charge the EVs as well as with direct sales of its UEone charge points.