A project trialling a new innovation, NetX, which allows three-times as many electric vehicles (EVs) to be charged at an existing charging site, has shared some preliminary results from its charging survey.
NetX is a three-socket charger that can extend an existing single charge point, enabling you to share the capacity of a standard 7kW fast charger with up to three vehicles. The NetX charger technology is being tested as part of the Innovate UK supported Electric Vehicle Network Extender (NetX) Field Trial.
With the UK now on course to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, there is an increased urgency to switch to electric vehicles. This project aims to provide a cost-effective way of boosting charging capacity, so more people can drive an electric vehicle now.
NetX chargers could, for example, allow employees who want an EV, but who can’t charge at home, to be able to access more charge points at the workplace. This is a great way of helping to encourage people to make the switch to emissions-free driving.
NetX project partners are DriveElectric (survey and data collection), EB Charging (installation and charger management, and project lead partner), Hangar19 (charger design, production and charging back office management) and the Smart Mobility Unit at the University of Hertfordshire (research partner). Other project partners include Brighton & Hove City Council, Southend on Sea Borough Council, Watford Borough Council and Hodos Media.
As part of the project, EV drivers have been invited to take part in a survey about how easy (or difficult) it is to charge their car. This is one of the biggest questions for prospective electric car drivers. A total of 996 EV and non-EV drivers responded to the survey.
The survey found that 82 percent of respondents charge most often at home, with eight percent at work. It found that 85 percent wanted to pay for public charging by contactless debit or credit card payment or automatic payment on plug-in, while only 10 percent wanted to pay by a smartphone app and less than five percent want to pay by RFID card or tag.
The survey also found that only 22.75 percent of respondents said that public rapid chargers always worked. Asked about accessibility of (non-rapid) workplace chargers, over 42 percent of respondents said that they occasionally or often had to queue or to give up, or could rarely find an available charger.
The survey also found that the main reason people bought electric cars was because of the environmental impact. This was closely followed by low running costs.
To help increase the provision of charging, the project is searching for suitable public charging locations to install chargers. The project aims to install around 100 NetX chargers, which would be able to charge 300 EVs simultaneously. Five have been installed so far in public locations:
Essex Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 4EL
Marine Cliffs Car Park, Rottingdean, Brighton, BN2 7HY
Princes Avenue, Hove, BN3 4GW
Regency Square Car Park, Brighton and Hove, BN1 2FH
The Lanes Car Park, Brighton and Hove, BN1 1ND
Dan O’Hara, CEO of EB Charging said: “More and more fleets and individuals are switching over to EVs. As a leading provider of EV charging infrastructure for councils and businesses, we welcome this move. But charger capacity must increase to support increased EV uptake, and we see the NetX development as a powerful tool to increase capacity at low cost.”
The NetX project ends in November 2021.
DriveElectric is an electric vehicle leasing company that has been helping organisations and individuals to adopt EVs to save money, lower emissions and transition to low carbon energy since 2008. DriveElectric aims to make the switch to electric cars and vans simple for business fleets.