Solar, high speed and wifi charging set to revolutionise electric transport

Artist impression of an electric chargepoint forecourt, with electric vehicles parked at charge points

  • twelve projects set to receive almost £40 million to revolutionise the experience of owning an electric vehicle in the UK
  • innovations to receive investment include solar-powered forecourts, underground charging systems and electric vehicle wireless charging systems
  • government aims for these innovations to encourage uptake of electric vehicles – a key aim of the Road to Zero strategy which celebrates one-year anniversary

Today (9 July 2019), the government announced it is investing £37 million into British engineering to transform electric chargepoint infrastructure, revolutionising the experience for the record levels of ultra-low emission vehicle drivers on UK roads.

Twelve projects are set to receive a share of the funding, to support the creation of innovations including wireless charging technologies, meaning electric vehicles of the future could charge without the need to plug in a cable.

The news comes on the one-year anniversary of the government’s Road to Zero strategy, which has driven a 60% increase in battery electric vehicle registrations this year compared to the same period in 2018.

Future of Mobility Minister, Michael Ellis, said:

We’re charging up the transport revolution and investing in technologies to transform the experience for electric vehicle drivers.

Ensuring the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is reliable and innovative is encouraging more people to join the record numbers of ultra-low emission vehicle users already on UK roads.

The Road to Zero strategy sets out new measures to clean up road transport and lead the world in developing, manufacturing and using zero emission road vehicles. Through funding these projects, the government is incentivising drivers to move towards buying electric vehicles, supporting the key aims of the strategy.

Urban Foresight, a smart city consultancy, has been awarded over £3 million to roll out ‘pop-up’ chargers which are built into the pavement and provide a discreet, safe and low-cost charging solution for electric vehicle drivers without access to off-street parking.

Further projects to receive funding include:

  • a renovation project, installing chargepoints in car parks to allow for mass charging at night
  • a project leveraging existing Virgin Media physical and online infrastructure to deliver cost-effective and widespread charging, using high speed internet connections to better share information online on charging progress and parking spaces
  • a cutting edge storage and advanced electronics project that will deliver semi-rapid charging using a low power grid connection minimising the need for costly substation upgrades

Char.gy, an electric charging company, has been awarded over £2.3 million and will use the funding to develop deploy wireless charging technology on residential streets without the need for trailing cables and additional infrastructure.

Initial 3 month feasibility studies have been completed and successful projects are moving onto the next stage of development.

Richard Stobart, CEO of Char.gy, said:

Our consortium is delighted to be funded by Innovate UK to demonstrate induction charging on residential streets in Milton Keynes, the London Borough of Redbridge and Buckinghamshire County. Working in collaboration with the Open University and The University of Warwick’s WMG we are excited to show that our ability to retrofit to existing electric vehicles and enable several parking bays per lamp column without the need for cables will accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles.

Keith Johnston, co-founder of Urban Electric, said:

On behalf of the ‘Clean Streets’ consortium we are delighted to be a winner in the Innovate UK Electric Vehicle Charging For Public Spaces competition. Together with our partners Urban Foresight, Co-wheels, Duku and Appy parking we look forward to demonstrating Urban Electric’s pop-up charging hubs in Dundee and Plymouth and to bringing residential on-street charging for the 50% of people that park on-street at night in cities one step closer to reality.

The announcement is another milestone for the government’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, which aims to tap into the extraordinary innovation across the country in order to make every day journeys greener, safer, easier and more reliable.

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