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Switching to electric while living in a flat

A serious catch-22 of the electric vehicle industry is that many of the potential customers are young people but they often do not have the ability to install a chargepoint because they live in a flat or rented accommodation. We must admit that owning an electric vehicle is much easier if you have the means to park up and charge at home. However, with a wealth of alternatives available, we do not believe you should be put off.

The first option available is asking your local council to install a charge point on your street. The government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has set aside £4.5m to support such applications over the next two years. OLEV will pay up to 75% of the costs of installation meaning that the council only need to provide the further 25%. However, this comes with two problems. Firstly, there may be more than one person on the street that would like an electric vehicle and the council may not be willing to pay for more than one chargepoint. Secondly, people with non-electric vehicles may continue to park in this space either down to ignorance or because no other spaces are available.

A second option to consider is whether there is a chargepoint already installed near you. If you live near commercial premises such as supermarkets or offices, you may be able to use their chargepoints during off-peak times such as overnight. We understand this is not necessarily an option which is available to everyone but you may be surprised at how many chargepoints are near you. There are many apps available, some of which come installed onto your car, and a simple search using these can direct you to nearby chargepoints. Moreover, the introduction of ‘fast charging’ bays such as those recently installed in Dundee may create convenient local hubs for charging.

Nevertheless, if charging near your home is not an option, the next best thing would be charging at work. Many of us spend almost as much time at the office as at home. While you attend business meetings and crunch numbers, your car could be charging up in the carpark. In recent years, businesses have been offered incentives for installing EV chargepoints at their offices and there are often at least one or two spaces available in larger car parks. Moreover, if you work in the city centre, there will be a higher concentration of chargepoints close to your office and they even sometimes come with lower parking fees.

It should also be considered that your electric car will not need charged every day. With most vehicles having a range of over 300 miles and the average monthly mileage in the UK being around 650 miles, you will likely only need two full charges each month. Given how much we all move around in this modern world and the fact that we have around 14,000 charging stations in the UK, there are likely to be plenty of opportunities to charge up in the same way you would fill up with petrol.

Finally, we should acknowledge some exciting developments that may be coming in relation to community charging. Induction pads, very similar to those used to wirelessly charge smartphones, have been introduced by major brands such as BMW. These mats, which resemble a sort of manhole, transmit electricity to a similar pad on the underside of the car. These remain very expensive and the technology is not yet developed enough to be in general use but it may be that plugging our cars in will soon be a thing of the past.

A second new development worth noting is the amazing work being done by Connected Kerb. The London-based start-up have developed creative ways of integrating chargepoints into our streets with minimal visibility. Their products are designed to be subtle and are manufactured using predominantly recycled materials. Moreover, they are fitted with gauges which can provide information to councils about traffic and weather conditions

We too are constantly working with our suppliers and partners to think of innovative ways of integrating electric vehicle charging into all of our lives. We would love to hear from you if you have any ideas or questions about electric vehicle charging. Call us on 0141 280 8890 or drop us an email at info@britetechnicalservices.co.uk.

We also have a variety of platforms available with extensive information about electric vehicles (brite-ev.com), EV chargepoints (evchargepoints.com) and EE accessories (briteaccessories.com).

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