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UK EV recharging infrastructure planned

The UK has moved a step closer to a fully operational infrastructure capable of charging electric vehicles at home, in car parks, at the kerbside, and at the workplace.

VINCI Energies United Kingdom has announced a partnership with Brighton-based Elektromotive, pioneers of the Elektrobay charging station, to install the world’s first fully-connected recharging infrastructure for pure electric and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.

Together VINCI Energies and Elektromotive claim they will provide a complete solution for recharging electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The new partnership will combine Elektromotive’s technological expertise in the development of recharging facilities, with VINCI Energies’ United Kingdom’s expertise and capacity to design, implement, operate and finance large infrastructure projects.

The details of how this electrification of the UK will happen are still not clear, but the idea is that the partnership will ensure that the infrastructure can be deployed with appropriate speed and scale to support the fast-developing new market of electric cars.

Services such as help desks, emergency call-out and maintenance will also be delivered to ensure that the public can confidently access and use the infrastructure when they need it.

Elektrobays are typically situated next to parking bays, within easy reach of an electric vehicle’s charging point. Consumers access the Elektrobay’s power socket using a personalised electronic wireless key fob, which opens the weather-proof door at the front of the unit. When charging is in progress, the door locks shut, thus preventing any interference by a third party. To indicate when charging begins and ends, a strip of LED lights at the top of the unit changes colour and additional information is provided on the LCD screen at the front of the Elektrobay.

Compatible with all fully-electric and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, the Elektrobay has a power output of 240 volts AC and 13 amps in the UK or 230 volts AC and 16 amps in Europe. All Elektrobay consumers receive a highly visible yellow coiled cable that extends to 3.5 metres and sits at waist height when charging is in progress, thus reducing trip hazards for pedestrians – including the blind and partially sighted.

Elektromotive first introduced the Elektrobay in Westminster, London in 2006. There are now more than 250 Elektrobays in operation in the UK.

The number of Elektrobay charging stations will increase significantly in the UK during 2010, coinciding with the arrival of affordable, mass-produced electric vehicles launched by a range of mainstream car manufacturers.