London of late has been rolling in the electric car news. The goal in that major European city of lowering its carbon emissions from greener vehicles is well under way through efforts like brand new all-electric taxi fleets and increased electric vehicle usage at nearby Heathrow airport. Now comes word of free electric vehicle charging points being offered as part of a trial to better understand the impact of EV use on the electricity network.
The Low Carbon London trials, according to its backers, are “designed to prepare Britain’s power infrastructure for greater use by electric vehicles and enable the vehicles to be recharged conveniently in London, both at home and on-street.” With some 22 per cent of carbon emissions coming from transport in London, it is believed there electric vehicle usage is a key part in helping cut down those emissions, and local utility UK Power Networks, in looking to understand how this will impact its local grids, is making this charging points offer available to EV users on a first-come-first-served basis.
As part of the trials, free 16-amp charging units “will be provided by UK Power Networks from charger manufacturers and they will be connected to the electricity network by UK Power Networks via home owner and businesses electrical systems.” These units typically take about six hours to charge a family car. Drivers taking part in the trials will be kept up to date on the findings of the research and will have an online account where they can view their energy use and charging details.
And, as a nice added bonus, once the research is complete in 2014 the chargers can be kept by those who took part in the trials.
While the trials are going on, engineers, according to Low Carbon London, “will study the charging habits of EV drivers to plan for projected peaks on the electricity network. Each charger will securely transmit the time and duration of each recharge to the research team, where the data will be scaled up to illustrate the potential impact on the electricity network if the majority of drivers on the road were using EVs.”
The trials are being funded by UK Power Networks, via the Low Carbon Networks Fund, and Transport for London (TfL), from funds secured via The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) Plugged in Places scheme. To take part in the free charging point offer, or find out more, noted its backers, one should call 0800 859 5378, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.lowcarbonlondon.info.
“This research will enable us all to not just discover the future impact that charging cars at home and at work could have on the electricity network,” said Nick Fairholme, director responsible for Source London at TfL in a statement, “but also to encourage the uptake of more electric vehicles in the capital.”