The plight of urban dwellers who have no assigned parking spaces is emerging as the next big roadblock to faster EV adoption. In London, an estimated 78% of households have no private parking spaces, and Mayor Sadiq Khan has set a target of deploying 50,000 charging points in the city by 2025.
With encouragement from local government, companies are coming up with creative ways to get large numbers of charging points into service quickly—for example, a startup called char.gy is installing chargers in lamp posts.
The latest outside-the-box idea comes from a couple of companies that want to unlock the potential of what the Brits call “lock-up garages” (we Yanks tend to call them “self-storage units” or “mini-warehouses”) by turning them into local charging hubs.
InfraTech Property Solutions (IPS) manages hundreds of lock-up sites around London. SSE Enterprise provides various energy and communication solutions, including EVSE. The two firms have formed a partnership to build smart charging sites called Digital Community Hubs (DCHs), which will combine rapid charging with 5G and Edge computing technology. According to the companies, a typical DCH will consist of 10-20 fast charging bays, with solar panels, battery storage and coffee service for waiting drivers. IPS will provide the real estate, and SSE Enterprise will design and operate the EV charging infrastructure.
The project team hopes to establish a pilot site near Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 later this year—a prime location to serve electrified delivery vans and taxis. The ultimate aim is to roll out up to 1,000 sites across London and the Home Counties—a number that could potentially account for around 10% of Mayor Khan’s infrastructure target.
“This project has the capability to provide the mass rollout of EV charging that London is crying out for as more and more consumers switch to EV,” said SSE Enterprise EV Sector Director Kevin Welstead. “Space in the capital to build charging hubs is like gold dust, but thanks to the network of lock-up garages tucked away across the city managed by IPS, we can build a network that could charge a tenth of all EVs in London.”
Harriet Dudding and Steve White, Founding Partners of IPS, said, “Local communities will benefit hugely from our Digital Community Hubs with the provision of the latest technology in EV charging, local Edge computing facilities, 5G telecoms and energy generation in a one-stop shop facility.”
Source: SSE Enterprise