How About A Pop-Up Station For On-Street Charging?

JUN 13 2018 BY MARK KANE 33

UK-based Urban Electric Networks developed this unusual pop-up charging station called UEone for on-street charging.

UEone Pop-up Charge Point for Residential On-street Charging of Electric Vehicles

The UEone’s special feature is that it retracts underground when not in use to minimize the impact on the urban environment.

Electric car drivers need just to park and use the app to summon the charger… hopefully it does not suck the entire car underground before disconnecting.

Read Also – Ontario Will Support Workplace Charging Station Installations

By introducing the UEone, Urban Electric Networks is trying to solve the problem of 43% of UK households who have to park their car on-street in residential parking zones.

We are not sure whether the retracting charging station will help much, compared to a standard station, but the company recently was engaged in the £600,000 trial with the Oxford City Council.

The power output of each UEone is up to 5.8 kW.

“The app-operated UEone charges at up to 5.8kW and retracts underground when not in use, minimising the impact on the urban environment. Standard height when raised, yet requiring an installation depth of just 405mm, the UEone is suitable for more than 90% of residential streets. Its unobtrusive design and grid demand management capability means that whole streets can be electrified at a time without the unsightly street clutter usually associated with traditional charging posts, or for expensive grid reinforcement, or the need for EV Only bays. The UEone uses the same SmartCable as ubitricity lamp posts, meaning that residents will be able to charge at any UEone pop-up or ubitricity lamp post, creating a new standard for urban residential charging.

Urban Electric is undertaking a £600,000 trial of the UEone with Oxford City Council, which recently announced a proposal to create the world’s first Zero Emissions Zone in 2020. The trial is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, following a successful £474,000 bid led by Urban Electric, in partnership with Duku and Oxford City Council.”

UEone highlights:

  • Provides certain, convenient and affordable EV charging
  • Charges at up to 5.8kW, sufficient for a full tank in the morning
  • Utilises the same SmartCable as ubitricity lamp posts 
  • No ‘EV Only’ bays required, so no restrictions on parking
  • Supply and installation free of charge to local authorities
  • Minimum 20 UEone pop-up charge points installed per street
  • Cost to residents approximately half that of fuelling an equivalent diesel car 

Susan Brown, Leader at Oxford City Council, said:

We are thrilled that we will be trialing the world’s first pop-up electric vehicle charging points and that Urban Electric is bringing us this exciting new technology to encourage more residents to switch to electric vehicles.”

Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson, Urban Electric Networks cofounder said:

“The most convenient, affordable and climate-friendly way to charge an EV from the grid is at home at night, yet up to 85% of households in some urban residential areas cannot do so because they park on-street, acting as a barrier to EV adoption. By installing an over-supply of pop-up charge points in a street from day one we will give certainty of access to a home-based charge point in residential parking zones, so that local authorities can enable the 11.6m UK households currently excluded from driving zero emission to make the switch,”.

Categories: Charging


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33 Comments on "How About A Pop-Up Station For On-Street Charging?"

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This sounds like a great idea, as long as it’s not too expensive to install. Having the charger underground when not in use should keep it from getting vandalized or struck by vehicles.

Might also keep it from being found and certainly will significantly increase the cost of the device itself as well as the installation.

Love the idea. Concerned about how it works with a bunch of snow on top though…

Seems costly to install. Also seems as if vandalized at night, or run into will not retract.

I lean towards robust stationary, above ground chargers and wireless pads built flush into the ground.

Its evolutionary, and the need will result in various ideas until the best will rise to the top and prevail.

Street charging is crucial, but other solutions are equally legitimate, like retail centers with EV lounges and business meeting centers. Stop in to do your laundry, grab a coffee, meet with a client, watch a movie on the big screen in the lounge or get your hair done. Chargers in every surrounding stall top up your ride.

I agree with this, but still wonder if we’re only a decade from self driving vehicles where they could drive themselves at night and won’t care if they have to wait four hours in a queue…

One of the best reasons for wireless charging points. It will be much cheaper to use wireless charging than to build mechanical solutions to automatically plug in and out. Whether the fleet is shared or not, it’s really useful to let the car go off to charge while you dine at the restaurant…

You cannot use the same charger type when you switch the use case. The popup on street charger is an overnight charger as shown in the video. The power level and location is designed for charging when the car will be parked for an extended period of time. OTOH the case described above is an opportunity charging situation. The charger needed in that case needs to deliver more power in a shorter time frame and needs to do it with the expectation that the car’s primary reason for being there is that the driver is planning on doing charging in the course of executing some other task. I know it sounds like the same description, but it’s not. In the case above the task is charging and the other activity is effectively “wasting time” while the charging occurs. In reality it really needs to be an activity that the driver was planning on as a normal course of the day, and they get the opportunity to charge, hence the name. The other crucial factor is that since under normal circumstances the purpose is to simply park the car while the driver executes their task, that the infrastructure for this opportunity… Read more »

I don’t think opportunity charging is going to be relevant. People will need DCFC on long trips or if they don’t have a private parking space AND no destination charging at work. There’s really nothing in between, in my opinion.

I agree, except that some DCFC may evolve into what these people living in apartments need. It will be interesting to see. Fastned in the Netherlands is thinking this way. I can’t imagine more network operators won’t have some options too.

The question to me is what is the use case. So many drivers are so conditioned to the “gas station” model, that the entire public charging infrastructure has to mimic it. Specifically that drivers deliberately drive to a specific place for the purpose of recharging. That is only the road trip use case. Apartment dwellers shop, eat at restaurants, and go to the movie theatre. Why should they not be able to charge efficiently there instead of having to drive somewhere near the highway and sit while their car recharges? Even though it doesn’t seem like it, it’s really a completely different use case.


Opportunity charging IMHO is going to be relevant for a couple of reasons, one of which you list (no stable long term/overnight charging infrastructure available). The other is the simple fact that it’ll need to be available for ad-hoc range extension due to cost management for battery sizes. Almost all the range issues that arise outside of travel charging occurs due to ad-hoc local trips. There are two solutions to the problem. The first is installing oversized batteries into EVs to handle the overflow. The Tesla/Chevy Bolt route. The other is to make charging infrastructure available where cars are parked while operating with a smaller, cheaper battery size. But unlike overnight/workplace charging, the timing of those intermittent stops are quite variable. So you run into the problem of either placing L2 chargers, which are underpowered, or DCFC chargers, which are both expensive and generally overpowered when not used in a specific travel situation. Opportunity chargers are the missing niche that can relatively inexpensively recharge relatively quickly. They should be placed at every grocery store, every gym, every mall, every movie theater, and every department store, every fast food place, and every strip mall. In short they should be a replacement… Read more »

Wireless would be great – but how many wireless cars are on the market? And what about those who have bought a 3rd hand Nissan LEAF in 5 to 10 years from now? Are they not allowed to be included in the EV revolution?

The point is, the plug-in will be around for a while yet. We need to find workable solutions “now” to clean up our cities.

DCFC cannot go wireless and will exist in cities too, catering mainly to those who don’t have Level 2 at home or work – and those very few old LEAFs and other EVs sold since 2010.

BEVs are 0.1% of the fleet in the US, and 4% of the fleet in Norway. It’s entirely unreasonable to demand that future infrastructure must be designed with these in mind. Nor does it make any difference with respect to the urgent need to cut emissions. Making it more convenient, and above all cheaper and more capable, has a much bigger effect, by getting more people over on the EV bandwagon. 🙂

Wireless pads is probably the way to go, but I’m not quite sure how ready the standards are. A useful standard must include protocol that allows designing different payment solutions, covering both ad-hoc and subscription scenarios, and should support minimum 22 kW as maximum power. That’s where the cars’ on-board chargers will be going, simply because it costs almost exactly the same as any lower- power charger. (With wireless charging the on-board charger must of course always be used, since induction can only work with AC and batteries can only be charged with DC.)

Yes but, water, dust, snow, potential damage and safety issues will probably kill the idea

BTW on the video the left car will get a hefty ticket (parked wrong way and on pedestrian crossing) LOL

It would definitely have to have a permanent curb-like sleeve that projected up from the sidewalk by at least 6″/150mm to keep the elements from gumming up its ability to retract. The top of the curb would be sloped away from the opening to drain away moisture.

It certainly couldn’t be flush to the ground like their rendering shows.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I would wait for someone to walk over it then “Summon” it to pop up………LMAO

Charging Stations are Tuff Enough to Spot with Hiding them …This is a Real Bone Head Idea !

Charging stations are TUFF Enough to Find Without Hiding Them.. This is a Real Bone Head Idea ! No Thanks! Let them Be Seen !

Looks like a very bad idea to me. Not only will that make the charge point more expensive and more likely to malfunction, it also makes it nearly impossible to spot by someone driving around looking for a good place to park their EV.

Here’s a better idea if people think curbside EV chargers are unsightly: Put them inside something which adds to the local atmosphere! How about EV “hitching posts” installed inside old-fashioned cast iron hitching posts?

Or if that doesn’t fit the local atmosphere, pick something else which does! As far as being an “eyesore”, they can’t be any worse than parking meters, can they?

We still have a few of those in center city.

For the first time in a while, I concur. Voted up.

Great idea. It minimizes wear and tear on the charging station too.

Cool idea, but would cost an absolute fortune to install.

Looks like a neat, sustainable solution – it’s the only way I’d be able to charge on my street as no one will agree to normal charging bollards on my road – not even me… (And there’s no way I’m going to buy an EV to have to wait at a public charger!).

They must have thought through the issues with regards to weather, usage, maintenance, cost of install, otherwise the trial wouldn’t be happening with Oxford and Innovate UK backing so I will closely follow their progress as this could be the thing that makes me, living in a city, go EV.

Why don’t you won’t charging bollards, and how would this kind help?

I think you need to try and install a charging bollard on a typical residential road in a City… You will not get it passed the local authority let alone the residents!

No kidding Speedo. For primary charging for the 43% of of UK households who don’t have access to a plug where they park, this installation of chargers is definitely key to more people driving EVs. 43% is a lot!! Almost half!!

so mechanically it works just like existing electric bollards. Great idea, even better that the company is installing them for free.

Get a wireless charger insted..

How about putting them underground, you pull up a cord and plug.

I can’t see the purpose, just keep it up so you can see it when parking? Of course one could design a bit better looking posts. And stable!

Either this is a really stupid gimmick, or else it’s a brilliant idea nobody has managed to explain. Either way it’s a problem…