Cheshire East Council has secured government grant funding to provide EV charging points for local road users. Engenie and ABB are delighted to have been awarded the contract to install and operate six rapid charge points on behalf of the council, and are gearing up to start operations.
While EV technology is relatively new the number of electric vehicles in the UK has grown rapidly, from 3,500 in 2013 to 15,500 in 2014 – and that number is expected to keep growing.
Creating a Fast Charging Network – with 24/7 Support
One of the biggest barriers to people taking up this technology is the lack of a reliable public charging network. This is where Engenie and the Council will set the standard high, working with ABB and British Gas, to deliver a robust and well-maintained network.
The grant funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles will enable the Council to provide six 50kV rapid charging units – two each in car parks in: Congleton (Princess Street), Sainsbury’s, Wilmslow (South Drive) and Nantwich (Love Lane).
These units can recharge a vehicle from ’empty’ up to 80 per cent in as few as 20 minutes. The sites have been chosen as they are close to destinations, such as supermarkets and coffee shops, where drivers can relax or make use of the quick 20 minute wait.
Engenie’s operations will be managed 24-hours by its pro-active monitoring software and network-operations centre. So, if a driver has any issues or needs help, a fully-staffed help desk will be available 24-hours a day.
Council Leader Michael Jones said, “This is good news for the environment and for encouraging modern, greener transport to flourish. It is also about thinking and acting innovatively – and about putting our local residents first and tackling issues at their root.
This project allows residents to take up new ultra-low-emission vehicle technology with assurance that they will be able to recharge when away from home if needed. It’s also a step towards cleaner air in our Borough.”
App to Keep Customers Mobile
As a technology-focused company, Engenie has spent time developing an advanced system, to give drivers reliability, simplicity and flexibility. They will also be able to check the status of the chargers and make payments using the Engenie mobile phone app or website. Drivers can use the app to find and navigate to the charge points and if close to a charge point the app will automatically recognise the charge point ID and start the charging process. They can use the app to remotely start and stop the charging process once the vehicle is plugged in.
Transparent Tariffs and Payment Options
The charge points will be the first in the UK to have integrated credit card terminals, giving drivers an alternative to the app for payments. Card readers will accept contactless payment cards and Apple Pay through Near Field Communication technology (NFC). Engenie’s transparent pay-per-kWh tariff, gives drivers control over exactly how much energy they wish to use, like a petrol pump.
Clamping Down On Non-EV Parking
One of the common problems EV drivers face is non-electric vehicles parking in charging bays. Engenie will address this issue, providing two charge points with four dedicated charging bays per site. Cutting-edge ABB technology allows simultaneous charging of two EVs at each charge point, so up to four EVs can charge at once. And to further support EV drivers, if a non-EV parks in the EV bays, the council will have traffic orders in place to issue a ticket to the offending vehicle.
Jeremy Littman, Managing Director of Engenie said, “It’s taken us a while to get started in a fledgling industry that has many challenges. However, I hope that by focusing on our customers’ needs for a reliable, UK-wide service and by providing 24-hour driver-support we’ll prove a popular choice.”
The three sites are planned to be launched by Cheshire East Council with handover of operations to Engenie in early 2016.