A woman from Chiswick has become the first in the country to trial a new kind of electric vehicle charging point, which Hounslow Council hopes will revolutionise the way residents charge their electric cars.
The technology, which can be fitted into existing streetlights and other street furniture, will mean that, for the first time, residents will be able to charge up their electric and hybrid vehicles without the inconvenience of going to a conventional public charging point, even if they have no off-street parking at home.
Existing public charging points cost a small fortune – upwards of £6,000 – to install and so are few and far between. For many drivers, the limited number of places to charge up has not represented a viable alternative to owning petrol and diesel-fuelled cars.
Hounslow Council’s electric fleet of green cars and vans has been using the new technology, from German eco-trailblazers Ubitricity, for several months as part of a trial that is being mirrored in Berlin and Amsterdam but until now no residential trial of this technology has been seen.
But if the new charge point, installed near the home of Katie Lancaster, proves a success, the €400 devices could be fitted across the borough to encourage more people to opt for electric vehicles.
Katie said: “It’s fantastic to take part in the first pilot in the UK. I have a hybrid car but charging it for three hours means I can get around London using the electric engine. When we first got it, we were forced to use public charging points that were quite far from our home as we don’t have off-street parking and can’t charge here. These new sockets solve this issue as it allows us to charge our car from a streetlight right near our house. The technology is unobtrusive and is a great idea – it has got to be the future. It will definitely allow more people to use electric cars if the council decides to put more in.”
Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council, and Cabinet Member tasked with leading policy on reducing the borough’s carbon footprint, said: “I’m convinced that a lot more people would opt for cleaner, greener electric cars if charging them up at home and at the kerbside wasn’t so impractical. In the context of the recent VW emissions scandal, this is a chance for Hounslow to lead the way in making electric cars, which produce none of the harmful pollutants emitted by petrol and diesel engines, more viable. I wish Katie all the best with the trial and thank her for being involved.”