For those with 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 millions of people in households who are unable to charge their vehicles at home? We take a look at some of the solutions developing for those people without off-street parking.
Using public charging networks
The simplest way to keep your vehicle topped up is to use the public charging networks, just like you would a petrol or diesel vehicle at a petrol station. If you get to know where your local charge points are with services like Zap-Map, you may be able to slip it into your weekly routine: doing the shopping, going to the cinema or gym, for example.
Without shopping around, you can expect to pay a bit more than those who can charge their vehicles at home (but still not as much as petrol or diesel). If you're smart though, it is possible to charge for as little or even less than home charging costs, thanks to membership systems such as Polar Plus. You can see the real-world expense of charging your vehicle on the public networks on our most recent EV network cost comparison.
Charging at work
For those who drive to work, charging there makes perfect sense: it's where their cars will be sat idle for the daytime. For many businesses, installing a charge point at work is an excellent way for them to do something pro-active about reducing the carbon impact of their business. What's more, they can make use of the Government's Workplace charging scheme to reduce the cost of installation. If you drive to work and would like a charge point installed there, talk to your employer to see if they'd consider it.
Friends, Family and charger-sharing
If you are not able to charge at your own home it may be possible to charge at a friend's house, or a family member. There are also a growing number of services which enable people with home chargers to share their charger with the public, such as Co-Charger and Plug-Share. Those sharing their chargers can normally choose whether they wish to share them for free or for a small fee. In some close-knit communities, charger sharing could be a great way to access chargers near you more conveniently.
Ask your council for charging infrastructure in your area
The Government provides funding to local authorities for installing on-street charge points 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 charge points 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 email@example.com.
Charging equipment built into lamp posts is a new way of charging that utilises the existing highway infrastructure, helping to reduce overall installation costs. The first service to emerge in the UK was Ubitricity, whose customers purchase a smart cable from them to use their charging posts on lamp posts around London.
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 lamppost, causing it to effectively have spare capacity.
Here in Brighton, over 200 Lamp Post chargers were installed in Spring 2020 following a government grant from the Office of Low Emissions Vehicles. These chargers are available to both residents and visitors, with some locations offering reserved parking and others being shared. They are operated by Electric Blue and are accessed using a smartphone app, which handles account and payment management for users.
British company Connected Kerb are developing new kerbside chargers which aim to help those without off-street parking but providing smart yet subtle new charging infrastructure options. They are also one of several companies worldwide developing a wireless charging solution, which could one day be the most effortless way to charge an EV.
These chargers help to solve an increasing concern about the rise of street-furniture and pavement clutter. The chargers live underneath the pavement, completely hidden from view, rising out of the ground when needed for use.
If you're interested in these new chargers, you can register your interest on Urban Electric's website at urbanelectric.london.
Kerbside home charger
Twitter user @EVMaps worked with his local council in Margate to have a Rolec kerbside charger installed outside his home.
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 point was installed by Council-approved contractors and paid for by the owner.
Cables across the pavement
With some people able to park close to their homes, it's tempting to want to run a cable across the pavement to their car. A few councils, such as Hampshire County Council, have advised residents on how to do this safely; but other councils are advising against it altogether. Make sure you ask your local council what their policy is. Many pavements are cluttered with bins, recycling boxes, bikes and parked cars - cables are yet another potential hazard for pedestrians, wheelchair users and people with buggies. So it is understandable as to why some councils are urging against it.
Apart from the law to consider, any issues that arise from running a cable across a pavement will put the owner of that cable under direct legal responsibility. It is a risk which may simply not worth the effort.
In Brighton & Hove
If you live in Brighton & Hove and are considering how to charge your vehicle from home safely across a pavement, it is not recommended by the Council. If you have any questions in regards to this, we suggest contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article last updated on June 18th 2020.