Retractable kerbside charger presents ultra-reliable charging solution

Retractable kerbside charger presents ultra-reliable charging solution


Extended trials of a retractable charge point from infrastructure provider Urban Electric have demonstrated the viability of ultra-low impact on-street charging, achieving an official 99.4% average network uptime.

The UEone dual socket 7kW kerbside charge point aims to solve the problem of near-home charging, for residents without a garage or drive. Conveniently deployed in hubs in residential streets and urban centres, the smartphone operated UEone retracts under the pavement when not in use, leaving pavements street clutter and obstruction free.

The result of five years and £5m of product development and engineering refinement, prototypes of the UEone are already in the ground across the UK. Indeed, 124 prototype EV charging bays were installed in Dundee, Plymouth and Staffordshire for Innovate UK and ADEPT Live Labs trials over a period of 18 months.

The 99.4% uptime figure is significantly above the industry average and was achieved thanks to the unique plug-and-play design of the UEone charge point. This means that in the event of vandalism or a failure the entire charge point can be swapped out and replaced with another unit in under 30 minutes, without the need for civil works.

The breakthrough design for on-street charge points addresses the issue of low and uncertain availability, with reliability repeatedly cited in EV driver research as the primary concern over public charging points.

‘This was one of the most exciting projects I have ever been involved in,” said Fraser Crichton, Corporate Fleet Manager at Dundee City Council.

“Urban Electric provide a solution to residential street charging in both affluent and poor areas and solve issues around vandalism and street furniture deployment. But what I really love is the swap-out system, gold dust to keep the network going.”

The trial also compared dedicated and non-dedicated bays. Dedicated bay utilisation was up to 400% higher than non-dedicated bays, providing certainty of availability for EV drivers and utilisation levels exceeding 20%, ensuring sufficient ROI for Urban Electric’s fully funded business model, which supplies local authorities with a zero-cost solution under a long-term contract.

“The Urban Electric charge point is a look into the future of our streetscape and works towards many of the best practice design standards for enhancing the public realm,” added Dan Turner, former Low Carbon City Officer at Plymouth City Council.

Although the trial officially ended in April, the prototypes will stay in place on a free-to-use basis for as long as they remain in working order. All existing UEone charging hubs will be retrofitted with series production units next year.

“This combination of ultra-low streetscape impact and high network resilience represents a significant step forward in the deployment of reliable, accessible and scalable on-street charging infrastructure in our towns and cities,” Urban Electric CEO Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson concluded.