Bristol and Wandsworth explore lamposts for electric vehicle charging in push for e-motoring infrastructure

Wandsworth Council website 051217The prospect of electric vehicle charging points being installed in every residential street in Wandsworth has moved a step closer after councillors backed ambitious plans for a major expansion in the borough’s e-motoring infrastructure, including exploring placing e-vehicle charging plugs in lamposts, while reports from Bristol offer more background on the business and environmental concepts.

image Wandsworth website

Wandsworth Council writes:

Following endorsement by the community services committee, council officers have now been tasked with exploring all available options for a major expansion of charging points across Wandsworth. And this will include evaluating the cost and logistics involved in placing e-vehicle charging plugs in every lampost in the borough’s residential streets.

Cabinet member for community services Cllr Jonathan Cook said:
‘The future of motoring is electric. The Government has announced that in 2040 petrol and diesel vehicles will no longer be sold in the UK. This means that councils need to start planning ahead now to make sure we deliver the infrastructure to keep people moving. Nowhere is this more relevant than here in inner London where air quality is a real concern.

Providing convenient charging is the key. We need to make it easy for people to go-electric. What we will now be doing is exploring all the available options to make this happen. Council officers will be drawing up a series of options to dramatically increase and improve coverage across the entire borough. There will be a range of options for us to consider once these investigations have been concluded but I am personally of the view that if the finances and logistics stack up then we should certainly be looking at as many lampposts as we can.’

Wandsworth currently has 35 charging points in 11 locations across the borough – and there are existing plans to install another 50 in 20 further locations by the turn of the year. This is already helping to make owning and running an electric car a much more attractive and viable option for many Wandsworth residents. But with growing concerns over air quality coupled with the recent Government announcement that petrol and diesel vehicles will no longer be offered for sale from 2040 onwards and banned from the roads entirely by 2050, Cllr Cook says now is the time to act.

He added: ‘We’ve already done a lot to tackle pollution in Wandsworth but we need to do more, and this ambitious initiative has the potential to achieve a real improvement in air quality. It would certainly help the Mayor achieve his pollution targets and following the introduction of his new T-Charge and his plans to extend the ULEZ zone to include the North and South Circular Roads in 2019 he will have extra revenue available to support tangible air quality initiatives like ours.  Helping to fund a dramatic and radical advance in e-motoring infrastructure is precisely the sort of project the Mayor needs to support.’

‘Councillors at last night’s meeting voted to instruct the town hall’s Director of Environment and Community Services to ‘develop this emerging and ambitious strategy yet further, by examining the technical and financial potential to deliver a network of such significant scale and coverage that it might cover all residential streets of the borough and would very likely positively influence behaviour change in terms of resident and business decisions on vehicle ownership.’

Lampost charging would have no impact on existing parking provision in the borough.

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The Bristol Post writes:

The firm OVO is currently working with Berlin-based ‘progressive energy’ company Ubitricity on installing 50 ‘SimpleSockets’ in lampposts on streets in a London borough. With OVO’s close link with Bristol and the fact that Mayor Marvin Rees has committed to Clean Air Zones earlier this year, Bristol could be next on the list for such an initiative. Talking in February of this year to the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, Mr Rees said: ‘Air pollution is a serious problem in Bristol and it is unacceptable that lives are at risk because of harmful traffic emissions. This isn’t an attack on motorists though – it’s about our wider need to develop a transport system that works best for everyone. We hope this funding will help us develop effective and affordable ways to improve air quality, whilst taking into account wider transport measures and traffic congestion, and the impacts of future growth.’

Bristol motorists can help encourage the migration of OVO’s lamppost scheme from London to Bristol by expressing their interest on the OVO Website. OVO and Ubitricity announced their partnership on Monday, November 13. The scheme, in association with Kensington and Chelsea Council, was launched with the intention of allowing residents to charge their electric vehicles with ease across the borough. Research by OVO suggests that drivers are reluctant to switch to electric vehicles because of a perceived lack of charging stations. The use of lamp-posts is to help drivers feel that on every street there is potential to charge up when needed.

An OVO spokesman said the scheme would be expanding as soon as possible: “The scheme and further expansion is part of OVO’s ongoing commitment to remove barriers to electric vehicle ownership in urban areas, to address air quality issues and reduce reliance on traditional petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. OVO are starting where its London offices are based but will use this trial to explore expanding further afield at the earliest opportunity.

‘We need to replace polluting petrol and diesel vehicles if we’re ever to improve air quality in our cities. Electric vehicles provide a solution – but many urban drivers don’t have off-street parking, so they can’t charge at home.’

These 24-hour charging ports will be located next to pay and display parking bays and can be used by anyone with the compatible charging cable. There is a charge of £1 for each charging session and a £1 charge for each hour after the first 24 hours. The charge is part of a deterrent to prevent people leaving their cars plugged in for longer than necessary, which should keep the supply and demand in check. The money raised from these charges will be used to maintain the equipment and potentially fund future deployments and replacements.

Founded in Bristol in 2009 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, OVO’s mission statement is a commitment to ‘a greener and fairer energy system’. They are the UK’s leading independent supplier, and serve nearly one million customers.


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