Following the completion of a feasibility study during Q1 2019, a consortium of companies that includes SMS has taken significant steps towards demonstrating the viability of a fully-integrated EV charging network for on-street residential parking in the United Kingdom.
Alongside SMS, the Virgin Media Park & Charge (VPACH) Project comprises of Virgin Media’s parent company, Liberty Global, together with Oxfordshire County Council, Transport for West Midlands, Cenex, Enel X and Loughborough University.
The VPACH project is part of the Electric vehicle charging for public spaces: feasibility studies competition, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK.
The aim of VPACH is to find a solution that helps local authorities deal with the current issue of on-street electric vehicle (EV) charging. More than a quarter of people in the UK do not have access to off-street parking, and therefore are less likely to purchase an EV as they do not have the readily available infrastructure to install a private charge point at their home.
Virgin Media has an established network of cabinets in residential areas across the UK, 40,000 of which have a power source connected to them. The feasibility study looked at utilising this existing infrastructure to add charge points, enabling people to charge EVs on the street outside their homes.
Leveraging the existing power and communications infrastructure of Virgin Media sites will provide the foundation upon which a variety of Charging Point Operators can install their open source and fully-integrated hardware and systems.
This approach will also help minimise new street furniture and benefit from access to a high-speed data communications network for charging apps and other Internet of Things (IoT) services such as pollution monitoring, parking management, and public Wi-Fi hotspots.
A site selection tool was also designed during the feasibility stage. This tool evaluates where the most likely EV adopters in the UK are located, enabling Virgin Media to identify the optimum sites for the initial roll out phase. This tool can be adapted to include further considerations such as DNO constraints and Local Authority parking strategies.
VPACH is one of 27 feasibility studies currently being considered by OLEV and Innovate UK as business cases for deploying “new approaches to electric vehicle (EV) charging.”
In the subsequent phase of the competition, the best projects will be competing for funding for implementation of real-world demonstration.
We are supporting the UK market to establish a national network of EV charging infrastructure. Find out more about our integrated EV charging solutions.