Free electric vehicle charging bays installed as part of transport trial

Free to use pop-up electric chargers have been installed at a Stafford library for a six-month period through a trial programme led by the county council.

The county council has worked with its transport partner Amey and industry specialist Urban Electric to build and install four free electric vehicle charging bays at Holmcroft Library as part of the Department for Transport (DfT) funded £22.9m programme.

Bringing more sustainable methods of transport for residents is one of the objectives of the SIMULATE programme and is a key part of Staffordshire County Council’s transport strategy. The SMART Places Live Labs programme is led by Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT).

The 7kW fast chargers which are now ready for people to use, were developed by charge point operator Urban Electric Networks Ltd. The prototype pop-up chargers are designed to reduce the streetscape impact of charge points by retracting fully underground when not in use, whilst simultaneously improving accessibility and minimising pavement obstruction, compared to traditional charging posts.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams said: "The installation of the electric charge points at Holmcroft library is another exciting development in our Live Labs programme and supports our drive for cleaner transport options for Staffordshire people.

Electric vehicle use is increasing all of the time and we will need the infrastructure in place across the county as this continues. I’d urge people to take full advantage of the charging points while they are active over the next six months.

The data collected will help us plan how we can lay the foundations for electric vehicle infrastructure across Staffordshire in the coming years.”

The chargers are being trialled for up to six months, during which time they will be free to use. Usage data will be collected from the charging points during the trial period to understand the possible requirement for more charging infrastructure in Staffordshire and to understand how well the chargers perform in their environment.

To use the charge points, people need to download the Urban Electric app from the App Store or Google Play and register their debit or credit card to the app (they will not be charged to use the charge points at Holmcroft Library).

Amy Liebig-Phillpotts, Business Innovation Manager at Amey, said: "It’s fantastic to be working with Urban Electric to trial four innovative charging points for the public to use in Staffordshire. It is hoped that the data collected from residents using the free charging points during the trial period, will form part of the charging infrastructure solution for the county.”

Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson, cofounder of Urban Electric, said: "Electric vehicles are critical to our clean mobility future, and being able to charge where you park makes it much easier to make the switch. Our pop-up charge points are an elegant and discreet charging solution for private, fleet and shared electric cars, so we are delighted to be working with Staffordshire County Council and Amey on this project.”

Giles Perkins, ADEPT Live Labs Programme Director said: "The move to electric vehicles is accelerating, but it’s important that people in all types of properties have access to charging facilities. This deployment of pop-up chargers means that electric cars and vans can be charged on street easily without unnecessarily impacting pavement space. With the recent publication of DfT’s Decarbonisation Strategy, we’re pleased that the Staffordshire Live Labs is helping to contribute to a net zero future by tackling one of the trickier challenges of on-street charging, head-on."

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