Pop up and charge! A world first rises from the UK’s streets

The world’s first pop-up electric vehicle charging point went live in the UK, with the aim to help motorists who lack off-street parking and charging. Product Design company, Duku, and sister IP firm, Albright IP, have developed the pop-up EV charge point in collaboration with Urban Electric, which is currently being trialled in a street in Oxford.

With a third of UK car owners lacking access to off street parking, the availability of EV charging points is an issue that could stall the uptake of electric vehicles. Six prototype charge points have now been installed as part of the project's pilot stage. Andrew Aylesbury, Duku Director, said: "Without access to charging points the electric car revolution could by-pass millions of people, particularly in the inner cities. Ironically this demographic is also one of the most likely to use an electric car, with short commutes into local towns or to train stations. If you can solve this problem, then you open up a huge market opportunity to increase the uptake of EVs in every single town and city.” Alex Lee, another of Duku’s Directors, added: "The project came with a huge number of challenges, from reducing visual 'street clutter' to the shallow amount of available depth below ground. Cities such as Oxford have a lot of historical architecture and utilities under the pavement. "So, minimising the depth below the ground is one of the big challenges. At the same time, it needs to rise up to a certain level to make it accessible for everyone, so we worked hard to miniaturise its components while also creating a charge point that could rise up to 800mm above ground level.”

A range of sensors to detect obstacles and monitor the performance of the charge point ensure a safe, intelligent design that eliminates the chance of the charge point coming into contact with anything such as a parked car. Safety cut offs also ensure that the charge point does not power up until it detects that a car is connected. Once retracted into the ground, the charge points sit completely flush with the pavement, preventing any trip hazards, and are only visible by a ring of light which highlights their position and lets users know of their availability. "It's certainly a complex system but overcoming challenges is something the team at Albright IP and Duku are used to. Getting them in the ground is a real milestone for the project and we're excited to see how they operate," added Robert Games, Managing Director, Albright IP. The trial will take place over the next six months and users will be able to book an electric car which has been made available for the period of the pilot. 

Image: Duku

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