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article imageRapid-chargers for EVs 'too ugly' to be installed in some areas

By Karen Graham     Nov 27, 2018 in Technology
Zipcar notes delays of expansion of the fast charging infrastructure in London, apparently caused by ‘petty’ arguments from some the authorities. It seems there are complaints about the rapid-chargers for EVs being "too ugly."
A car-sharing company, Zipcar operates 2,800 cars in the city of London, UK, including 75 Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrids. The company recently added 325 Volkswagen e-Golfs. It seems the e-Golfs became very popular, as during the first three months they were used by 6,000 drivers on over 20,000 trips.
Zipcar plans on switching to 100 percent electric cars by 2025 and is now running into problems with a hold-up of electric car rapid-charging stations. According to Jonathan Hampson, the General Manager for Zipcar UK, local political leaders are holding up permits for new rapid-charging installations over concerns that they're too ugly.
“Only a fraction of what we were told would be installed have been put in,” he said, “and it’s really because between the boroughs and City Hall they haven’t reached agreement on where they should go; how they’re going to be put in. The boroughs don’t want them on their land because they perceive them to be ugly.”
Hampson did allow that Transport for London (TfL) is installing rapid chargers on red routes. Red routes make up about 5 percent of the total of roads in London, but carry 30 percent of the traffic. But Hampson thinks the chosen locations were “probably the least suitable place for them to go.”
In 2017, the TfL, London Councils and the Greater London Authority (GLA) allocated about $5.8 million (£4.5 million) to 25 London boroughs to install Level 2 EV chargers on street lights. Each borough was to receive up to £300,000 to install up to 1,500 standard-speed on-street charging points in residential areas.
Charging station in London - 2016. Located on East Finchly.
Charging station in London - 2016. Located on East Finchly.
Philafrenzy (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Hampson says, "Why is it we’re still having arguments about whether a rapid charging post is a tiny bit unsightly? It’s probably not the biggest deal in the grand scheme of things” From the looks of things, an EV charger is a lot nicer looking than a gas station, and they don't take up near the space.
A report for the London Assembly in May acknowledged electric cars are "booming" and there really isn't enough EV charging infrastructure. The report also notes that 60 percent of Londoners don’t have a garage or driveway and would rely on chargers on the street if they wanted to charge an electric vehicle.
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan's office said it wasn’t aware of issues around the ugliness of rapid chargers but told us: “City Hall is aware of issues in installing EV charging points in some key places in some boroughs, hence the Mayor has tried to bring businesses and boroughs together to really increase momentum for installing as many as London needs.”
More about rapid chargers, evs, london UK, Zipcar, installation problems
 
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