Charge My Street is a community benefit society which installs and operates community chargepoints in the UK. We are currently focussing on installing EVCPs mainly, but not exclusively, in the north of England.
Our vision is for every home to be within a 5-minute walk of a chargepoint, giving residents without off-street parking the opportunity to switch to an electric vehicle.
Funded largely through community shares, the company is owned by its Members with any surplus reinvested in supporting the roll out of EVCPs. Charge My Street is deploying the majority of its EVCPs in locations close to residential areas in which households do not have their own driveways and so cannot ‘home charge’. The EVCPs can be hosted at community sites, businesses, faith buildings, local authority sites – in fact, anywhere at which the host is willing to allow public access for part of the day and most usefully, during the evening and overnight.
In 2018/19 we successfully installed four chargepoints in Lancashire and Cumbria in a mix of urban and rural locations.
As a result of this success, Charge My Street is now leading a £4 million ‘SOSCI' (Scaling On Street Charging Infrastructure) programme supported by Innovate UK, whose funding allows Charge My Street to cover, in many cases, all of the cost of installation of the charge points as well as ancillary support to the communities and EVCP ‘hosts’ involved.
This ambitious and exciting programme will see the installation of 200 22kW fast chargers across northern England up to Easter 2021. The innovation lies in our business model - a demand-led approach giving local people the tools and support to identify and finance their own chargepoints, at locations with the greatest identified need and benefit. It also builds on earlier projects by identifying opportunities to integrate other technologies, including solar panels and battery storage, at sites such as community centres. This allows electric vehicles to be charged using the highest possible proportion of clean green energy generation, eliminating harmful emissions not only from driving the vehicle but also from the power source itself.
Many companies currently are preferring to install their chargepoints only in dense urban areas with the highest rates of commercial return, for instance supermarkets and existing petrol stations. This leaves significant gaps in the overall network, particularly across rural areas which are often perceived to be less commercially attractive. This created an opportunity for Charge My Street to directly address this electric vehicle charging infrastructure challenge, which currently acts as a barrier to residents considering purchasing new or secondhand electric vehicles.
It is illegal to run loose power cables across pavements and roads, inevitably residents without driveways (particularly terraced housing or flats) in both rural and urban areas are excluded from installing their own domestic chargepoints. Overcoming these challenges by expanding the local chargepoint network will help to build public confidence in switching to electric vehicle technology.
Get everyone on board with your sustainability strategy and make sure everyone is aware of how important this is for the planet. Quite often people involved in the community locations, such as church or parish hall car parks, don’t understand or are unfamiliar with what installing and running EV chargers entail. It is therefore important to work with them on the journey through making this infrastructure available.
Do the research and work with people to understand their experience to make a difference.
The research showed that there was confusion about where people were going to charge their EV if they did not have access to a driveway or if their landlord did not allow them to have a charging point, and the length of time it takes to charge at public charging points. To overcome these barriers, easy-to-understand information needs to be provided to these people, allowing them to save carbon in the future.