“Without access to charging points the electric car revolution could by-pass millions of people, particularly in the inner cities,” said Duku director, Andrew Aylesbury. “Ironically this demographic is also one of the most likely to use an electric car, with short commutes into local towns or to train stations. If you can solve this problem, then you open up a huge market opportunity to increase the uptake of EVs in every single town and city.”
Alex Lee, also a director at Duku, described the project as “challenging,” what with having to take into account factors like the EV charging points visually cluttering up the streets, while dealing with limited depth below ground – particularly in historic cities like Oxford which have a lot of “architecture and utilities under the pavement.”
Lee stresses that “minimising the depth below the ground is one of the big challenges. At the same time, it needs to rise up to a certain level to make it accessible for everyone, so we worked hard to miniaturise its components while also creating a charge point that could rise up to 800mm above ground level.”
The charge points are also kitted out with sensors which will detect obstacles to help avoid vehicles and whatnot running into it, as well as safety features that prevent them from powering up unless a car is hooked up. And they sit flush with the ground when retracted so there’ll be no stumbling over them and trying to sue someone because you’re a clumsy buffoon.
“It’s certainly a complex system but overcoming challenges is something the team at Albright IP and Duku are used to. Getting them in the ground is a real milestone for the project and we’re excited to see how they operate,” chimed in managing director of Albright IP, Robert Games.
A second development phase will be hashed out depending on the success of this six month trial, which will include app integration and more charging points being installed.
Just a couple of months ago, wireless EV charging was trialled in south east UK as a result of a government initiative backed by the Department for Transport. And just last month, it was announced that a new EV charging network is being set up across the UK that will see 2,500 rapid chargers roll out by 2025.
With the number of EVs on the road increasing, more charging stations are an inevitable necessity, so expect to see more of them popping up, just to stop people jerry-rigging their own deranged solutions.
This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.