Urban Electric has finally taken the wraps off its prototype pop-up curbside EV charge points in a new photo released today. The photo shows the hazy outline of a single pillar standing in the background, but the really exciting bits are what can’t be seen in the photo.
Up closer in the foreground, two charging pods that have retracted into the ground highlight the beauty and simplicity of the solution. When needed, they pop out to charge, but when they aren’t needed, they slip quietly back into the ground, giving back all that precious sidewalk real estate to the people of the city.
Urban Electric received £452,000 as part of the Innovate UK project and supplemented these funds with an additional £250,000 from a crowdfunding campaign to build the first prototype pod and charging points.
“Pop-up charging hubs offer a scalable solution for more than 190 million on-street parking spaces in European cities alone, enabling those without off-street residential parking to switch to an EV. If you are one of the 8 million UK drivers that park your vehicle on your street at night, the convenience of charging there as well while you sleep is unbeatable – simply plug-in when you get home in the evening for a full charge in the morning,” said Urban Electric cofounder Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson.
Dubbed the UEone by Urban Electric Networks Ltd, the prototype installation is the world’s first pop-up EV charging point that provides real, meaningful solutions to more than just the problem of finding a charging point to use. The company has installed a 6-charger hub in Oxford to give local residents the ability to try out the new pop-up charging points. The prototype installation is a part of a pilot that integrates the new chargers with the Ohme intelligent EV charging system as well as free use of an electric car from the Co-wheels car club.
In parallel to the unveiling of the first prototypes, Urban Electric is launching a £250,000 equity crowdfunding campaign today through Crowdcube to raise funds for an additional 18 second generation pop-up charging hubs. The 18 charging hubs will serve as a larger scale demonstration installation which, in addition to validating the hubs at a larger scale, will be used to gather feedback from customers and to gauge interest from partners. The 18 hubs will support more than 100 charge points and will be installed in Dundee and Plymouth.
Urban Electric plans to move forward with a full-scale commercial launch after the success of the second demonstration installation. Innovate UK’s Director of Clean Growth and Infrastructure, Ian Meikle said that the UEone, “has the potential to be rolled out across the whole of the UK.”