Frequently Asked Questions

How do people without off-street parking charge their cars?

For those with their own driveways, charging at home overnight is an ideal solution, their cars are charged overnight and ready to go at the start of each day. But what about the significant number of people who are unable to charge at home?
We take a look at some of the solutions developing for those people without off-street parking.

Asking your council for charging infrastructure in your area

The Government provides funding to local authorities for installing on-street chargepoints in residential areas with The On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS). You will have to contact your local Council to find out whether or not they are using or planning to use the ORCS funds, and whether or not you may be able to ask for new chargepoints in your area.

If you live in Brighton & Hove and would like to ask the council to install a charger in your area, then you should email your request to local.transport@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

Lamp post charging

Fully Charged talk to Ubitricity and find out how their service is operated.

Charging equipment built in to lamp posts is a new way of charging that utilises the existing highway infrastructure, to reduce overall installation costs. The first service to emerge in the UK was Ubitricity, whose customers purchase a smart cable from them in order to use their charging posts on lamp posts around London.

One thing that lamp post chargers so far do not provide is a dedicated EV parking space. By not having a dedicated EV bay by each charging lamp post, costs are kept to a minimum, with services instead relying on their ubiquity to ensure access is available somewhere else nearby.

Other service providers are emerging at the moment, including Rolec StreetCharge and Char.gy.

The technology goes hand-in-hand with nationwide efforts to convert lamp posts to lower energy LED lighting systems, which reduces the overall power consumption of a lamp post causing it to effectively have spare capacity.

Running a cable across the pavement

If you can park outside your home, then it is of course completely possible to use your home power supply, the problem is getting the cable from your home to your car safely. It's certainly not ideal, but it is possible to charge safely and within the law.

Charging across pavement in a drainage channel

Example of a drainage channel being used in Essex
(Photo credit: SpeakEV user Tippers)

Using pavement drainage channels

Some properties have metal drainage channels running across the pavement to channel water from the house gutters to the street drains. In some parts of the country, EV owners have been able to use these to safely channel the cable from the house to the car.


Cable protector
Using a cable protector

If a cable is running across a pavement then it is vital that it is not a hazard to passers by. Cable protectors, like those used by utilities contractors, can be used to reduce this risk and ensure the safe passage for passers by.

What not to do

Cable hazard

A bare cable is a trip hazard
(Photo credit: SpeakEV)

In these frontier times of EV pioneers, people are trying different approaches in order to be able to charge at home, but not all are advised.

Simply trailing a cable without a cable guard is risky - If someone were to trip up and injure themselves, then you can be held responsible. This might be ok on private land but on a pavement used by the public, it's not a good idea..

Aerial cable

Dr Emmett Brown will coming whizzing down here any second...
(Photo credit: SpeakEV)

Likewise, to get around this by dangling a cable from above is also something that could pose a risk. Various EV owners around the country have been trying this, including by hanging a cable through trees and sharing their experiences online. But really, having cables suspended in this way is asking for trouble. 

It should be said too that using an extension cable with even a 10 or 13amp car charger is never recommended.


In Brighton & Hove

Councils around the country may have different policies on this topic. Here in Brighton & Hove, the council has recently published guidance on residents looking to charge kerbside from home.

I don’t have my own driveway or parking space where I live. How can I charge an EV when I am at home?

A number of residents have raised this and asked about using cables across the pavement. This raises a potentially significant issue about public safety and therefore the council’s Highways Team have been investigating possible options that could ensure any such activity would be undertaken safely and within existing legislation. They have concluded that the use of a heavy duty, non-slip/rubber cable protector mat to cover the cable is considered to be the most suitable solution. However, any piece of equipment that is being used to cover a cable that is crossing the pavement/highway should be:

  • Suitable for highway use i.e. should be able to protect the cable from vehicles crossing it, whilst still not creating a trip hazard.
  • Must be anti-slip.
  • Must be brightly coloured.

Do I need a permit or license for a cable?

Whilst the use of this type of equipment is not currently subject to requiring a highway license, the council does review its various policies periodically and they can change.

However, anyone who owns, or has identified, an item that appears to fulfil this criteria and who requires any further advice or confirmation, can email highwayobstructions@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Kerbside home charger

Twitter user @EVMaps worked with his local council in Margate to have a Rolec kerbside charger installed outside his home.

Kerbside home charger

(Photo credit: @EVmaps)

Unlike similar but public chargers, the charge post uses the electricity supply from the house it is in front of. There is a corresponding parking bay marked "EV permit holder" to ensure that parking is available for the owner, along with appropriate signage on the owners garden wall. The charging post was installed by council approved contractors and paid for by the owner.

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