- The project centres around a three-socket charger that can augment an existing single charge point
- The NetX project is supported by Innovate UK and funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles
- The NetX project’s survey found that 85% of people want to pay for public charging by contactless debit or credit card payment or automatic payment on plug in; only 10% want to pay by smartphone app, and less than 5% want to pay by RFID card or tag
- Only 22.75% of respondents said that public rapid chargers always worked
About the project
A project that is trialling a new innovation, NetX, which allows three times as many electric vehicles (EVs) to be charged at an existing charging site, has shared some preliminary results from its charging survey.
NetX is a three-socket charger that can extend an existing single charge point, enabling you to share the capacity of a standard 7kW fast charger with up to three vehicles. The NetX charger technology is being tested as part of the Innovate UK supported ‘Electric Vehicle Network Extender (NetX) Field Trial’.
We estimate over 200,000 pure electric vehicles will hit UK roads this year. With the UK now on course to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, there is an increased urgency to switch to electric vehicles. This project aims to provide a cost-effective way of boosting charging capacity, so more people have the ability to drive an electric vehicle now. NetX chargers could, for example, allow employees who want an EV, but who don’t have the ability to charge at home, to be able to access more charge points at the workplace.
NetX project partners are DriveElectric (survey and data collection), EB Charging (installation and charger management, and project lead partner), Hangar19 (charger design, production and charging back office management) and the Smart Mobility Unit at the University of Hertfordshire (research partner).
Other project partners include Brighton & Hove City Council, Southend on Sea Borough Council, Watford Borough Council and Hodos Media.
As part of the project, EV drivers have been invited to take part in a survey about how easy (or difficult) it is to charge their car – one of the biggest questions for prospective electric car drivers.
Some of the key findings from the survey, which a total of 996 EV and non-EV drivers responded to, include:
- 82% of respondents charge most often at home, and 8% at work
- 85% of people want to pay for public charging by contactless debit or credit card payment or automatic payment on plug in; only 10% want to pay by smartphone app; and less than 5% want to pay by RFID card or tag.
- Only 22.75% of respondents said that public rapid chargers always worked.
- Asked about accessibility of (non-rapid) workplace chargers, over 42% of respondents said that they occasionally or often had to queue or to give up, or could rarely find an available charger.
- In reply to the question ‘Why did you buy an electric vehicle?’, ‘reducing environmental impact’ was the top response, closely followed by ‘low running costs’.
In order to help increase the provision of charging, the project is searching for suitable public charging locations to install chargers. The project aims to install around 100 NetX chargers – which can charge 300 EVs simultaneously. Five have been installed so far in public locations:
Essex Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 4EL
Marine Cliffs Car Park, Rottingdean, Brighton, BN2 7HY
Princes Avenue, Hove, BN3 4GW
Regency Square Car Park, Brighton and Hove, BN1 2FH
The Lanes Car Park, Brighton and Hove, BN1 1ND
Other units have also been installed in semi-public locations for earlier testing. In one of its first test locations the NetX charger delivered three times more energy than the existing single socket had over a similar timeframe, as well as five times more charging sessions.
Dan O’Hara, CEO of EB Charging said: “More and more fleets and individuals are switching over to EVs. As a leading provider of EV charging infrastructure for councils and businesses, we welcome this move. But charger capacity must increase to support increased EV uptake, and we see the NetX development as a powerful tool to increase capacity at low cost.”
Mike Potter, Managing Director, DriveElectric, says “With the UK now on course to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, we need to make sure that everyone has the ability charge an EV. The NetX technology has the potential to triple the number of EV charging sockets in a cost-effective way, potentially allowing people who can’t charge at home more opportunity to charge at work or at public charging sites.”
The NetX project ends in November 2021.