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London boroughs trial flat and flush kerbside EV charging

Green tech start-up Trojan Energy is installing 200 of its chargers across Brent and Camden as part of the Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways project.

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The chargers slot into the ground and the hardware is only visible during charging
The chargers slot into the ground and the hardware is only visible during charging

London is to become a testbed for kerbside electric vehicle charging.

 

Start-up Trojan Energy is installing 200 of its “flat and flush” chargers which are slotted into the ground across the boroughs of Brent and Camden.

 

The company claims the technology has no permanent footprint or street clutter as the hardware is only visible when a vehicle is charging.

 

STEP project

 

The Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways (STEP) project has been awarded £3m in co-funding by Innovate UK. If successful it will enable entire streets to be filled with the charge points so that no matter where a driver parks, they will be able to charge their EV.

 

In June, the Aberdeen-based green tech company secured £4.1m in seed funding.

 

The technology consists of two parts: a charge point slotted into the ground and a lance, which is inserted into the charge point in order to charge. The charger can provide charge rates from 2kW to 22kW, and up to 18 chargers can run in parallel from one electricity network connection.

 

This will in turn create opportunities for electric vehicle owners to use spare capacity in their batteries to provide services to electricity network operators which could make the cost of owning and running EVs cheaper.

 

The London boroughs of Brent and Camden both report having rapidly growing EV usage, encouraged by council policy which aims to drive down air pollution in their neighbourhoods.

“I hope these discreet kerbside chargers will make electric vehicles accessible for more people and get us one step closer to our aim of becoming a zero-carbon borough”

“We’re thrilled to be among the first to try these innovative new charging points. Electric vehicles will play an important part in improving our local air quality which we know can have a detrimental impact on people’s health,” said councillor Shama Tatler, lead member for regeneration, property and planning at London Borough of Brent.

 

She added: “I hope these discreet kerbside chargers will make electric vehicles accessible for more people and get us one step closer to our aim of becoming a zero-carbon borough.”

 

The technology has been developed by Trojan Energy, a team of ex-oil industry engineers who want to use their subsea skills to contribute towards solving the problem of high CO2 emissions.

 

"We are grateful for the support we have received from our consortium partners and Innovate UK. This backing will allow us to bring our discreet kerbside charging to cities where the need to transition to EVs is greatest,” said Trojan Energy managing director, Ian Mackenzie. “Our technology will allow us to electrify whole streets at a fraction of the cost of traditional charging infrastructure and without the need for kerbside clutter.”

 

Wider research

 

The project is being led by Element Energy, a strategic energy consultancy specialising in the analysis of low carbon energy. Celine Cluzel, Element Energy director, said STEP is trialling a solution to what is often “the Achilles’ heel” of charging infrastructure: scalability.

 

As part of the project, research will be undertaken on consumer and wider street users’ preference, “A typical gap in research so far,” added Cluzel.

 

Other members of the consortium include UK Power Networks, Birmingham City Council and the University of Leeds. Renewable electricity supplier Octopus Energy will also be recruiting its customers for the trial and providing expertise in backend billing.

 

A key aspect of the trial involves collecting consumer feedback on the technology and gathering new information on the charging behaviour of EV drivers who park on-street. This research will be led by the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, alongside input from Element Energy, which have previous experience of conducting EV trials.

 

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