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Two UK charging network operators enter roaming agreement; Low Carbon London offering free charge points for trial participants

Electric vehicle charging networks Source London and Source East have entered a roaming agreement enabling the members (annual £10 fee) of each to use the other’s charge points free of charge and have access to around 940 charge points throughout London and the east of England.

Source London, a consortium of 50 public and private partners, has 810 charge points throughout the Capital with plans to increase that to 1,300 in 2013.

Source East covers the east of England region and includes the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex together with Peterborough, Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Luton, Thurrock and Southend. Currently with 132 charge points, Source East aspires to have 800 publicly accessible charge points—one within 25 miles of all businesses and residents in the eastern counties.

London’s electric vehicle charge point network is already the UK’s largest, and by 2013 will be one of the world’s largest urban charging networks. The east of England, in contrast, is a relatively rural region, but with high levels of car ownership and usage. Source East is confident the collaboration with Source London will strengthen and encourage the adoption of electric vehicles in the region.

In just under 18 months, the Source London consortium has grown from 21 public and private partners to 50 and 810 charge points located across 200 sites throughout the Capital at supermarkets, shopping centers, council and private car parks, the Olympic Park, hospitals and on the street.

Low Carbon London trials. Separately, researchers in London are making free charging points available for residents and businesses participating in trials to understand the impact of EV use on the electricity network.

The free charging infrastructure will be funded by UK Power Networks, via the Low Carbon Networks Fund, and Transport for London, from funds secured via The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) Plugged in Places scheme. Monitoring the charge points will help engineers to design the electricity networks needed to support electric vehicle expansion.

Engineers will study the charging habits of EV drivers to plan for projected peaks on the electricity network. Each charger will securely transmit the time and duration of each recharge to the research team, where the data will be scaled up to illustrate the potential impact on the electricity network if the majority of drivers on the road were using EVs.

The Low Carbon London trials are designed to prepare Britain’s power infrastructure for greater use by electric vehicles and enable the vehicles to be recharged conveniently in London, both at home and on-street.

The charging points offer is available to EV users in UK Power Networks’ London footprint on a first-come-first-served basis. The home charging points will be provided by UK Power Networks from charger manufacturers and they will be connected to the electricity network by UK Power Networks via home owner and businesses electrical systems.

Electric vehicle drivers who join the trial will receive a free 16-amp charging unit, which typically takes about six hours to charge a family car. The drivers will be kept up to date on the findings of the research and will have an online account where they can view their energy use and charging details. They can keep the charger once the research is complete in 2014.

UK Power Networks distributes power to a quarter of Britain’s population through its electricity networks serving London, the South East and the East of England. Low Carbon London, led by UK Power Networks, is a £30-million (US$48-million) learning program funded by customers through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund and the electricity network operator. Its aim is to use London as a test bed to develop a smarter electricity network that can manage the demands of a low carbon economy and deliver reliable, sustainable low carbon electricity to businesses, residents and communities.


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