Leading the charge – new scheme will quadruple electric car charge points in Exeter

car at an electric vehicle charger

Posted on: 29 July 2019

Devon County Council (DCC) has formed a consortium with two private sector companies, ZAPINAMO and Gamma Energy, to install and operate 150 electric car charge points on the streets of Exeter over the next two years.

Currently in Exeter there are approximately 30 publicly accessible charge points – and once complete, this project would increase that number by 400 per cent.

The £4m StreetHUBZ project will be delivered by ZAPINAMO, developers of a new generation of superfast car chargers, and Gamma Energy.

The project follows a successful funding bid, supported by Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, to Innovate UK, a government pot investing in science and research.

It forms part of the latest county council scheme to help reduce carbon emissions in Devon. In February DCC declared a ‘climate emergency’ and formed the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG).

The DCERG is a group of 25 influential business groups, councils and public sector bodies who have pledged to work together to reduce carbon emissions and create a Devon Carbon Plan – a road map to carbon neutrality.

DCC has helped draft and signed up to the Climate Change Declaration, which commits each group to reduce emissions and help transform Devon into a low-carbon economy through ‘collective action, innovation and influence’.

This project is an example of that commitment, tapping into the latest electric car-charging technologies.

ZAPINAMO will design, build, install and maintain the EV ‘StreetHUBZ’ chargers and Gamma Energy will own and operate the infrastructure.

The innovative chargers use a cutting-edge low power electricity supply and energy storage system, which means they are easy to install and can charge vehicles quickly.

Typically, a StreetHUBZ unit will provide 50 miles of travel after 30 minutes of charge. Whereas a basic home charge unit (3KW) will provide only four miles of travel for 30 minutes.

Additionally, Co-Cars will provide a number of electric vehicles through their car-sharing service, which will allow the public to test drive an electric vehicle and use the car charge points.

And Regen, an Exeter based not-for-profit centre of energy expertise, will monitor when and how often the charging points are used, support engagement with local users and review and evaluate the potential for other areas to benefit from the technology.

This scheme is one of many that will help ensure that Devon is reducing emissions. Other DCC projects include the Street Light Action Plan and supporting the county’s community energy organisations.

Once the streetlight plan is complete DCC will have reduced carbon emissions by more than 15,000 tonnes each year, the equivalent of taking 8,000 cars off the road.
And in Devon there are currently 23 community energy organisations, more than any other county in the country. These organisations help communities generate their own energy and reduce fuel poverty.

DCC has also applied for EU funding which, if successful, would enable a network of charge points across Devon to be delivered in public car parks.

ZAPINAMO CEO Ian Stillie said;

“This is a massive step forward for the UK and as Exeter is now leading the charge in EV charging technologies in geographic areas where the Grid capacity is particularly vulnerable and all important air quality targets need addressing fast.”

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment said:

“There is a climate crisis and no one organisation, council or company has all the answers.
“Only by working together and combining our knowledge, skills and the latest technologies can we reduce emissions. This project is an excellent example of the private and public sectors working together to help achieve that goal.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said:

“Many people want to exchange their petrol car for an electric car, but because of a lack of infrastructure they have been unwilling to take that step.

“This project will allow people to try before they buy, and I have no doubt that it will significantly increase the uptake and use of electric vehicles in Exeter.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Liaison for Exeter said:

“This project is consistent with the emerging transport strategy for Exeter, where we have identified the need to work more closely with the private sector and offer a platform for testing more innovative solutions to climate change on our highways network.”

Councillor Rob Hannaford

Councillor Rob Hannaford

Councillor Rob Hannaford, the local county councillor for Exwick and St. Thomas, said:

“This project is a huge step in encouraging electric car use in Exeter. Up to now the argument has been that it’s difficult to encourage more people to use electric cars until there are more charging points, and more charging points won’t be provided until there are more electric cars on the road.

“This partnership with the private sector helps break that cycle. Fewer petrol cars in Exeter will lead to a reduction in emissions, cleaner air and an improved quality of life for residents.”

26 comments on “Leading the charge – new scheme will quadruple electric car charge points in Exeter

  1. Peter Lucas says:

    Great idea but seems pricey £26,666 per plug inn seems very expensive !

  2. Jeremy Ebdon says:

    See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCMDsUlpeSM

    There are links in there to the Mayor of London’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Taskforce plans. May have some pointers.

  3. Will page says:

    Hi Devon Newscentre, bit concerned to hear that the charging posts will be on street. Does this mean that more of our streets are going to be given over to space for cars? Will this block routes which could be used for improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure? How about waiting for the LCWIP to be finalised first? Thank you.

    • david.beasley says:

      Hi Will, Thanks for your comments.

      This project is one of many schemes being integrated into our emerging transport strategy for Exeter.

      It seeks to support a reduction in the negative impacts from transport and contribute towards enhancing the environment for residents.

      The modular design of the charging points mean that they can be moved if needed depending on circumstances, changes of demand and can fit around existing street furniture.

  4. Tim says:

    Excellent news.
    As an EV owner charge points are needed in towns and on major routes.

    But as has been commented earlier – these should not be on pavements or cycle routes. Event better than an EV is walking or cycling.

  5. Will Page says:

    Hi there,

    Please can you confirm that the new charging points will not block any existing infrastructure for pedestrians or cyclists? Will the new LCWIP be finalised first, so future cycling and walking infrastructure is considered, before rolling these out? Thank you. Will

  6. Dr & Mrs Harbottle says:

    Thanks for the clarification. “Basic home charge unit” rather than “standard” would communicate this better. The recent government consultation paper on charge points in new dwellings proposes 7kW as the minimum and says the majority of home charge points already use this. While 3kW units can still be bought, the price difference for a 7kW unit is small, and time saving significant, so these are likely to remain the majority. For those interested in the choices available, see http://www.zap-map.com/charge-points/charging-home/

  7. Jeremy Ebdon says:

    Finally, well done. Any idea on the timescales?

    Please put them in decent locations, public car parks, retail parks, leisure centres, park and rides etc. Please also don’t put them in the prime parking spots in those areas as lazy people in dino burners will just ICE them (happens all the time). Some sort of proper parking/charging enforcement will also be required, especially if they go into a small car park where the number of regular spaces will be reduced (Magdelen Street Car Park).

    Are you considering free parking and use of bus lanes for pure EVs too (see Milton Keynes & Dundee)? Dundee also offered free charging, although I think time is being called on that soon. Don’t forget the need to use contactless payment.

    In support of earlier comments, the rest of Devon really needs help on this too. South Hams is dreadful, North Devon improving but still lots to do, East Devon pretty rubbish. Don’t forget the National Parks.
    Thanks

  8. Shane says:

    Great news. Please also consider expanding to include other parts of Devon, particularly North Devon

  9. D Wilkins says:

    Congratulations on the successful funding bid. This makes Exeter a place I can be even more proud to live in.

  10. jon may says:

    This is great news – for Exeter! Hope the rest of Devon can benefit from similar schemes. The ‘4 miles for 30 mins’ home charging figure seems wrong though. When I charge at home on my standard charger my 40kwh /180 mile car is full in 6 hours, so 180/12=15 miles in 30 mins. A 22kw charger would be 45miles.

    • Hi Jon. Thanks for this. Just for clarity, the calculation is based on charging from a 3kw standard home charge unit. Miles per charge will vary between vehicles, and driving style.

  11. Dr & Mrs Harbottle says:

    As owners of an electric car, we look forward to hearing more of the technical details when available – eg whether the chargers will be compatible with all types of connector.
    The phrase “a standard home charge unit will provide only four miles of travel for 30 minutes” is misleading and may put some people off choosing to go electric. It sounds like the rate for a car connected to a standard 13 amp domestic socket. The type of “home charge unit” most owners install on eg a garage wall is at least twice as fast as this. You may want to check this claim to source and amend the wording.

  12. Colin Pape says:

    Excellent news. I am about to place an order for a new electric car. How many County Councillors & Exeter City Councillors have purchased electric cars and is there a plan to have electric charging stations in Exeter City Council car parks and at DCC car parking areas?

  13. Transition Tavistock Travel Group says:

    This is a welcome development for residents and workers in Exeter, and for those from other parts of the county if the points are near the places they visit in the city.
    However this sort of infrastructure is needed in every district. Places like West Devon, where public transport is patchy, there are virtually no public charge points at present, and many homes do not have off street parking, need this investment too. Are there further plans, and if so what criteria will be used for choosing areas to invest? If central funding is needed, is the Council lobbying for it?

  14. Stuart Bell says:

    “Whereas a standard home charge unit will provide only four miles of travel for 30 minutes.” Good scheme, but please don’t repeat such manifestly fake news. Typical home chargers work at 6.6 kW, and a typical EV does 4 miles per kWh, so 30 minutes provide for around 12 miles, not four.

    • Hi Stuart. Thanks for your comment. Miles per charge will vary between vehicles and driving style. This calculation is based on charging from a 3kW standard home charge unit.

  15. Ian Forsey says:

    That is good news indeed. Well done DCC. Must consider an Electric car.

  16. Fred M says:

    Good to see the likes of these initiatives being rolled out.
    How do users pay for the charge? Time, Ah of electricity drawn, set fee for a set time slot etc.?

  17. christine Fraser says:

    Hi Roger – and your team
    Congratulations on this initiative and achieving the funding to move ahead. It’s really encouraging and the sort of positive news we really need at this time!

    On behalf of our residents and businesses in St David’s Neighbourhood Partnership, thank you. We experience very poor air quality and your programme is going to really help that problem in the medium term.

    best wishes
    Christine (Fraser)
    Chair

  18. Josh says:

    This is very exciting! Will there be charging points installed in residential/permit parking areas? It could finally become a feasible option for residents with on-street parking to own and charge an electric car!

    • James says:

      Would be great if they finished converting the streetlights to LED. This frees up capacity on the lighting grid and allows the light poles to be adapted for street charging. Perfect for those of us without off street parking.

    • Hi Josh. The locations of the chargeposts has yet to be determined but they will be on-street and as accessible to as many residents as possible.

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