Older folk with long memories will remember a TV show called Tomorrow’s World. It predicted, with some success it has to be said, future scientific breakthroughs for the benefit of us all. To be fair, some hot tips fell by the wayside; inventions like the robot snooker player, floating bicycles and paper pants (Seriously. One day all our underwear would be disposable!). Well, that spirit still lives on in the automotive world.
Electric Cars Now
For now, the EV would seem to be the car of the future, one way or another, as fossil-fuel motors are phased out. The latest crop of electric cars are not at all bad, yet the public continue to resist them for the reasons which are now commonly known. Sales are increasing, but very slowly.
One issue is the matter of charging. Home or workplace charging is all very well but that doesn’t help the millions of motorists who are stuck with street parking. The roll out of public charging posts is slow and piecemeal whether for hybrids or pure EVs. There isn’t enough to go around right now to match the convenience of quick-fill petrol stations.
Tomorrow’s World Charging
One UK company has introduced the world’s first pop-up charge point that solves the problem of charging for the huge numbers of urban drivers that park on-street at night. It’s being trialled in Oxford right now with a six unit hub installed.
Deployed as fast charging hubs in residential streets and on-street public parking bays, these new hubs are fully retractable and will facilitate overnight smart charging of the biggest EV battery packs, whilst minimising the impact on the power grid and the urban streetscape. When not in use, they disappear into the pavement. See the image. The thinking is that pop-up charging hubs offer a scalable solution for more than 190 million on-street parking spaces in European cities alone. This will enable all those motorists without off-street residential parking to switch to an electric car.
It certainly seems like a plan. Car owners who are one of the eight million UK drivers that park their vehicle on the street at night, the convenience of charging there as well while you sleep is unbeatable. Simply park up and plug-in when arriving home in the evening for a full charge by morning.
But Will It Work?
The thinking behind this is sound. The alternative is rows and rows of charging posts lining the streets like soldiers on parade. If we are all to have EVs but have nowhere to put them, it seems the obvious outcome. Thus, the idea of these facilities hiding away when not in use would be less unsightly; but really?
Imagine the upheaval of installation. See in the image the sloppy repair of the test pavement. It would take years to get through the job, like repairing potholes street by street. Also, who would trust to luck when even now theft of costly charging cables is fairly common, even from private driveways, unless the owner takes precautions. Will this ever truly come to fruition or will it be deployed haphazardly, ultimately to end up as popular as paper pants?
At the moment, hybrids seem to be the most popular, either plug-in or self-charging. Alternatively, car makers have developed petrol and diesel engines today that can achieve high mileages from one precious gallon. Why not have a browse through our comprehensive website, voted the winner of the Autotrader Retailer Award in 2018, for the most economical used car buys?