char.gy has partnered with Southwark Council to launch the first public lamppost electric vehicle (EV) charge points in London, offering a convenient way for plug-in car and van drivers to charge on the street.
The company will install 50 open-access public charge points in two areas of Southwark: Borough & Bankside, and Dulwich, catering for the charging needs of residents without off-street parking and EV drivers visiting the area. The first open publicly-accessible EV lamppost charge point in London is now live on Holmdene Avenue in Herne Hill for EV drivers to charge. Southwark Council plans to roll-out the remaining char.gy units within the next few months, supported by funding from the Go Ultra Low City Scheme (GULCS), which aims to improve air quality across the capital.
The lamppost charge points herald a new era in EV charging in which electric vehicle owners can charge using charge points that tap into the street-lighting network. Unlike most EV charging solutions, char.gy does not require users to have an RFID smartcard, membership, or a special cable to charge. Users plug a standard (Type 2) charging cable into the char.gy unit and enter the location of the unit into their device’s browser to begin charging, or simply visit the charge point’s dedicated URL.
Charging is activated via any smartphone’s browser application, which processes tariffs, payments and enables EV motorists to find their nearest char.gy point. EV drivers can sign-up at https://char.gy/start, and choose the flexible membership tariff that best suits their needs, including ‘pay-as-you-charge’ options and several package tariffs.
“We’re very excited to launch the first-ever open and publicly accessible lamppost EV charging units on the streets of London, with our initial roll-out in Southwark” said Richard Stobart, CEO of char.gy. “char.gy’s mission is to help more local EV drivers and visitors to the capital charge their plug-in vehicle – making charging your car as convenient as charging your phone, at home, while sleeping”.
Mr Stobart added that the company offers easy, affordable, open-access EV charging without the need to dig-up residential streets across Southwark to lay additional cables or add on-street electricity cabinets and that this means of on-street charging is a vital step towards reducing vehicle emissions across London.
78 percent of households in London don’t have off-street parking, meaning that widespread EV uptake is reliant on a viable, convenient means of on-street charging. Availability of charging infrastructure is one of the main reasons cited for people not switching to electric vehicles. UK Government legislation passed in November 2017, makes it a legal requirement for chargepoint providers to allow ad-hoc public charging.
Southwark Council is the first London council to work with char.gy following the lamppost-based EV charging system being awarded a place on the Go Ultra Low City Scheme (GULCS) Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Procurement Framework. Hosted by Transport for London, Greater London Authority and London Councils, and funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, the new framework aims to deliver over 1,000 on-street EV charge points across the London boroughs by the end of 2020.
The char.gy hardware utilises existing street furniture and infrastructure across Southwark by attaching its chargers to lampposts, avoiding the need for additional cables to be laid. char.gy units can be fitted onto most on-street lampposts and car park lampposts.