UK takes the next STEP in curbside electric vehicle charging
Birmingham is part of a project developing a world-first technology that could unlock electric vehicle charging for people without driveways or garages
After collaborating in the first phase of the project, Birmingham City Council will now be observing an upcoming trial in London. This will provide important findings ahead of the development of Birmingham’s city wide EV charging strategy.
Startup company Trojan Energy is installing 200 of its chargers across two London boroughs: Camden and Brent. Each charge point is slotted into the ground with a flat and flush connection. The technology has no permanent footprint or street clutter as the hardware is only visible when a vehicle is charging.
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.
The technology consists of 2 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.
Trojan Energy Managing Director, Ian Mackenzie said "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 curbside charging to cities where the need to transition to EVs is greatest. Our technology will allow us to electrify whole streets at a fraction of the cost of traditional charging infrastructure and without the need for curbside clutter. We are really looking forward to the challenge of bringing this revolutionary new solution to London and beyond”.
Element Energy, a strategic energy consultancy specialising in the analysis of low carbon energy, are leading the project. Element Energy will be guiding the project using their sectoral and project management expertise, to achieve the best commercial and environmental return for investment.
Celine Cluzel, Element Energy Director, said “STEP is trialling a solution to what is often the Achilles’ heel of charging infrastructure: scalability. The project is also conducting research on consumer and wider street users’ preference – a typical gap in research so far. These facts, combined with the excellent team brought together, make us confident that the trial will be a significant step forward for the uptake of electric vehicles.”