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Public charging provision in a village

Discussion in 'The UK and Ireland' started by tsh2, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. tsh2

    tsh2 Member

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    Cambridge, UK
    Our parish council recently mentioned, in passing and not seriously, the idea of providing public EV charging. I was wondering if anyone could point to some good examples, or potential issues. I'm in two minds about what this actually solves (there are 50 kW chargers within about 5 miles in 2 directions, and some 7 kW chargers not too far away).

    Residents would presumably have their own charging facilities, daytime visitors would need to charge in more than one location (given the layout of the village). Would weekend visitors actually want to leave an EV parked outside the village hall overnight?

    I'm assuming that there will be a use case within a few years, as the on street parking has eventually to support migration from ICE to EV everywhere. Maybe it is too soon to start guessing what makes most sense.
     
  2. Cowpring

    Cowpring Member

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    I do all my charging on public chargers (no access to power at home). There are a few situations where I would use a public charger other than my normal 50kw near my office (or Superchargers on a long trip):

    - If the charger offers me a parking space where there are no parking spaces. I.e. in a residential area where I have no permit, or all other public spaces are taken and the EV space is free, i'll always park in the EV space and get charge at the same time.
    - If the charger is located at an amenity that I need. For example a large Sainsburys near me has free PodPoint chargers, so will always use then to top up a bit while I do my shopping.

    And regarding overnight - i'd only be leaving my car charging overnight away from home/work if it was walking distance to my accomodation. Tomorrow night i'm going to Manchester for work, and the hotel i'm staying in uses a multi-story car park, which has free EV charging in it, so will get a full charge for free.

    So an EV point could be benificial - but location is key. If it's not near the village, or not near any amenities it might not beneifit the village.
     
  3. AnRev

    AnRev Member

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    I believe our small village Parish Council were thinking about putting in a car charger when refurbishing the village hall. They could not see how it would make any money (they are trying to think of fundraising ideas) but would be interested to hear if anything comes of it.
     
  4. Jason71

    Jason71 Active Member

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    is there any accomodation in the village without a private drive to charge on?
    If so it might be of huge benefit to those folks?
     
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  5. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    When traveling I often check PlugShare near meal times. If I find a spot with charging I often stop. So does your town want to attract people to come and visit or get local people to shop and or dine downtown? Our town installed 6 chargers downtown so I tend to frequent the establishments in the area. It is a relatively inexpensive way to attract customers and it helps show the public the town cares about the environment.
     
  6. adsheff

    adsheff Member

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    I'd advise going down the 7KW route. They are pretty cheap to install and I doubt people would go to a village to rapid charge. And the kind of rapid chargers you get in out of the way places tend to be awful CYC ones or something that requires an app then doesn't work. I number of 7KW chargers in pub car parks etc would be best.
     
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  7. tsh2

    tsh2 Member

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    So there is a pub (which might be persuaded to install something on their own) and small school, but no other businesses (not even a shop). So in this case it wouldn't necessarily generate revenue, unless it was always being used by residents. But it might be one of the more rational reactions to environmental worries.
     
  8. adsheff

    adsheff Member

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    From personal experience I would say a single charger is not enough. If you are a planning a trip, and you are in a position where you have to rely on charging in order to get back, you cannot rely on a single charger. I'd even be wary about two. I'd say a minimum 4. There's just too many things that can stop them working. This is one of the problems with the Ecotricity network. Many locations only have a single unit - you simply cannot rely on this so need backup plans in place if you're heading for one. That makes people avoid them altogether.

    You just have to look at Newcastle on Zap Map. On the surface, the council has done a great job of installing large numbers of chargers all over the city. But if you look an enormous number of them are not working, and the comments suggest that they are a pain to use and unreliable. Given this, I changed my plan when visiting Newcastle, I had planned to charge during the day but decided instead to make sure I had more than enough in the battery to get there and back.
     
  9. ianto999

    ianto999 Member

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    I'd put in 4 'dumb' (no apps or card needed) 7kw chargers in the pub car park, more visibility, pub might get trade, but make them aong way from where people prefer to park so that they don't get iced.
     
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  10. LukeT

    LukeT Member

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    The conversation has cropped up in our village too, but in a somewhat directionless way so far. It's either enabling residents without off-street parking to buy EVs or it's destination charging for visitors. If it's the former I'd start by speaking to said residents to consider immediate demand (I accept there may be an element of "build it and they will come" but not sure that's the case yet in truth). If it's the latter then it may be used by eg the pub to drive business as discussed above, and they could install cost effectively, eg with tesla.
     
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  11. Glan gluaisne

    Glan gluaisne Supporting Member

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    My experience, as a fairly regular destination charge point user, is that some locations are pretty pointless places to put them and some are very much better. Locating a 7 kW charge point, or array of them, in any location where users are only likely to be around for an hour or two is pretty pointless, as not many people will be that interested in such a small amount of energy, especially if the charge point has a payment system, which one funded by a PC would probably have to have, unless there's funding for energy available from somewhere else.

    The worst example of a completely useless charge point installation I know of are two in a pay and display car park in Amesbury. They only charge at 3 kW, and cost an arm and a leg to use. You have to pay the normal parking fee, plus the Polar Instant £1.20, admin fee (unless a subscriber to Polar Plus), plus £1.50 per hour for energy (so 50p/kWh), making it an expensive stop for just a few miles of range.

    The best ones are those located where people are likely to be parked for a few hours, or overnight. Hotel and B&B parking areas, or parking areas near places of interest that people may visit for most of a day, are great. I regularly use hotel destination charge points, as they are every bit as convenient as charging at home.

    Having been a Parish Councillor, my concern would be how any PC funded charge points would be maintained, and how the operating cost would be recovered. PCs are often very good at coming up with ideas and initiating things like this, but in my experience they are far less competent at things like maintenance. Even getting simple maintenance stuff done, like looking after playground equipment, fixing fences, getting footpaths repaired, etc almost always relies on some DIY from volunteers. A charge point would need some form of ongoing maintenance contract, as well as a means for recovering the energy cost. Not impossible to resolve, but it might be best to form a community enterprise that could manage and look after any charge points that have been initially funded by the PC. That's a system that seems to work well for running things like village halls, so there's no good reason why it shouldn't work for public charge points, really.
     
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  12. Yev000

    Yev000 Active Member

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    You could just provide some 3 pin plugs for free (2Kwh), if people are going to park for a long time, like overnight. That way you don't lose too much energy and you let people stay for longer.

    With 7Kwh you charger for a max of 1-2 hours unless you are really empty. Which is not enough to do anything before having to move.

    Can convert 10 parking spaces and let people charge while staying in your village.

    Just think, one 50Kwh rapid charger can feed 25 parking spaces with 2 Kwh each. People already park for long periods, and if they are only there for a little while they get the charge they used to get there back. Easy to maintain...

    Or provide some commando sockets for people who want a bit quicker, like at a camping site. Really the only thing a dedicated type 2 does for you is allow you to charge money. If it's already a paid car park, you are already charging money. If its a free car park, some 2Kwh 3-pin plugs would be welcome or I can do without.
     
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  13. ThrustSSC

    ThrustSSC Member

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    Evesham
    The key here is WHY the council would want to do that. If it's to attract visitors, with the economic benefits of that, then multiple 7kW chargers is way more sensible than a single rapid 50+kW one. The latter would be used for the equivalent of a "wee stop" whereas the former would incentivise people to stay a while (and spend more!).

    The former would also be much more useful for residents wanting to charge overnight - and if put on an Economy 7 arrangement could actually be a smart way of giving the loyal locals a better rate than the visitors, as well as helping ensure the visitors get availability in the day.
     
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  14. tsh2

    tsh2 Member

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    Cambridge, UK
    Current thought is that we should be looking at on-street residential charging. 16A will be plenty for most people to top up over night, and I expect use in the day would be minimal. However, this comes with the risk of an electricity cost of ~£100 per month.

    I'm not finding much information about products that address the pricing in a very effective way. I think what would be nice is a chargepoint that provides up to an hour free, else requires registration - but does anyone provide this without charging £1.50 per hour? I guess the Polar model doesn't pay for electricity out of member's free charging.
     
  15. cliffski

    cliffski Supporting Member

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    I looked into this a bit recently for fun (I'd love to do it as a commercial investment), and actually charging points are not as expensive as people think, and it seems easy-to-run commercial charging services are a kind of turnkey service already:
    Commercial EV Charging For Fleets, Workplaces And Apartments — EO Charging | Smart electric vehicle charging

    Given decent EVs can go 200+ miles, I think what we really need more of right now is a lot more big charging locations at motorway services etc. I know eventually we need home charging situations for people without off-street parking, but frankly a model 3 is still pretty pricey and there are a lot of AUdi/BMWMercedes owners to sell cars to before charging infrastructure becomes a limiting factor.
     

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