Are convenient charging points the key to the take up of Electric Vehicles?

The demand for Electric Vehicles (EV) cars is starting to gather pace  – no doubt helped by the UK Government Road to Zero strategy which supports the development of “one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world”.  Including a £400 million Charge Infrastructure Investment Fund to help accelerate the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure is easily accessed and used throughout the UK.

It could be argued the growing choice in EV cars, government support and knowing it is the right thing to do are all possible influences on the growing demand for EV.  However, range anxiety is still seen as a major barrier to large scale adoption.  So is the key to reducing this anxiety and increase the uptake of EV to make it easy and convenient for users to charge cars as they go about their day-to-day business?

Currently, planning longer journeys is relatively simple as most motorway service stations have rapid EV charging points and Highways England are on track to deploy EV chargers within 20 miles of its network by summer 2019.

However, in lots of towns and cities EV charging points are often few and far between, resulting in EV users having to plan their charging time. When developing strategies for EV infrastructure it is important planners consider the need to provide accessible and convenient charging locations.

Sites which EV users are likely to visit regularly such as workplace and station car parks, restaurants, hotels, sports facilities, leisure parks, retail parks, supermarkets and garage forecourts must be encouraged to implement the necessary infrastructure, so that EV charging becomes as normal as filling a car with petrol.

Many towns and cities are planning ahead for this step change including London’s Go Ultra Low City Scheme (GULCS) which aims for London to become the “Go Ultra-Low emission vehicle Capital”.  In order to achieve this multiple charging points are being installed throughout the capital – from on-street charging via bollards or converted street lights to car club bays.  The next City of Culture, Coventry are installing both rapid and bollard charge points throughout the city in the next few months.  Portsmouth received funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to install c. 50 charge points across the city to encourage EV take-up.


Planning for EV Technology Changes

One thing planners do need to consider when developing an EV charging strategy is that charging networks are still in the relatively early stages of development and the technology continues to evolve rapidly.  New technology developments are likely to lead to EV charging points requiring more frequent upgrades than traditional street furniture, which design teams need to consider when specifying.

The NAL solutions for EV charging simplify and future-proof infrastructure installations include:

  • A universal foundation system consisting of a Shallow Foundation Retention Socket and two impactable X-Last Bollards, providing protection to the EV unit. Click here to see a case study from Coventry
  • Ubitricity have utilised the NAL X-Last Bollard to house their EV charging unit. The X-Last can be installed close to the kerb, take power from existing lighting columns or feeder pillars, as well as being able to withstand multiple impacts.
  • NAL Retention Socket system enables civil work to be completed before the charging unit is installed and quick replacement of future charging points.

For more information on NAL Universal Retention Socket system; call 01905 427100 or email