The problem of EV charging for drivers who rely on street parking (as do many apartment-dwellers in Europe and elsewhere) would seem to be a sticky one. But what if the solution were as close as the nearest streetlight? In 2017, German firm Ubitricity partnered with the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea to test the possibilities of installing public charging points in lamp posts.
Now a London startup called char.gy has launched a new lamp post charging solution. The first wave of the company’s open-access charge points are now live in Marlow, a town on the Thames west of London, and char.gy plans to expand to several London boroughs and other urban areas across the UK.
Part of the UK’s recently enacted Alternative Fuels and Infrastructure (AFI) regulation requires charging providers to support ad hoc public charging – that is, EV drivers must be able to charge their vehicles at any public charge point without the need for any subscription, membership card or special cable. Charge points in lamp posts can offer an unmetered electricity supply with an Unmetered Supply Certificate, issued by ELEXON.
All char.gy units are fully AFI compliant and ELEXON certified. They fit almost any lamp post and provide power levels of up to 7.7 kWh. Charging is activated via a smartphone app, which processes access and payments. Users can pay as they go, or opt for a cost-saving package rate.
The company says its charge points offer an easy-to-install option for local authorities that is more cost-effective than digging up streets to install new infrastructure.
“We want to make it possible for anyone to own an EV, particularly those without off-street parking,” said Richard Stobart, CEO of char.gy. “We want range anxiety and looking for working charge points to be a thing of the past.”