Ubritricity, known for its street-lamp chargers, says it has begun rolling out smart charging technology to over 65% of its UK charging network and claims this was the largest public smart charging roll-out of its kind. Users may now schedule their charge to an off-peak time.
Smart charging enables users to benefit from cheaper rates, i.e. between 7 pm – 4 pm and Ubitricity revealed that users were already responding well to it, with over 45% of eligible charging sessions selecting to use the feature. Since the roll-out to over 4,000 charge points began in December 2022, the average smart charging user has saved £4.00 on their charging session, so the Shell-owned company.
UK managing director of ubitricity Toby Butler explained, “We know from our data that most of our users like to charge their cars at the end of their working day – coinciding with when energy demand is already at its peak. Smart charging allows our EV users to plug in at their usual time but schedule their charge to start after peak hours when energy prices are cheaper.”
Ubitricity adds that while smart charging was widely available in home chargers, this was the largest public smart charging roll-out of its kind.
Butler said, “It is estimated that over 8 million households in the UK have no access to private or off-street parking; we believe that residents should be able to access cheaper public charging options similar to EV drivers who can charge at home.”
The company has not detailed which areas are smart charging enabled now. However, charge points which are, have a small sign fixed to the lamppost above the socket. Scanning the QR code will open a direct access page on which drivers may select the ‘Smart Charging’ option. Ubitricity will schedule the charge to begin after 7 pm when the peak hours window closes, and the charge cable will stay locked until drivers unlock their cars.
UK Power Networks serves as the partner and has already supported the trial that took place in Westminster in November and December 2022. The software was originally tested on 300 charge points in the London borough, which has installed over 1,500 ubitricity lamppost and bollard charge points. Westminster City Council is planning to increase the number to over 2,000 charging points, the most in the country, as reported. The Council is targeting at least 500 of this new wave to be installed by March 2023.
Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality at Westminster City Council, said: “Being in the heart of London, most of our residents don’t have off-street or private parking, so this new smart charging trial with ubitricity, which offers off-peak charging sessions at a cheaper rate, will save our residents money during this cost of living crisis and at a time where energy prices are so high.”
As electricity supply costs changes from winter to summer seasons, ubitricity will adapt the timings of smart charging to help customer continue to manage their costs.
Ubitricity charge points built directly into existing street lampposts charge up to 5kW and take under two hours to install.
Westminster is not the only borough relying on Ubitricity. Siemens, which handles the installations, says it has now completed more than 4,500 Ubitricity charge point installations across London, significantly funded by the Go Ultra Low Cities Scheme.
On a national level, Shell wholly owns Ubitricty since September 2021. The oil and gas corporation targets installing 50,000 Ubitricity charging points in the UK by 2025, funded mainly by the British Government’s On-Street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS). Shell has to retain about a quarter of the cost.