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Case Study: Cambridge Science Park

Smart EV charging at one of the world’s most innovative science parks 

Providing technologically advanced electric vehicle charging for Cambridge Science Park 

Project Overview 

Established in 1970 by Trinity College Cambridge, the Cambridge Science Park is Europe’s oldest and most successful science park.  

It is home to over 130 businesses working on some of the world’s most advanced and potentially life-changing technological concepts, ranging from vital cancer diagnostics to artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) projects.  

The Park issued a direct award to Connected Kerb for the installation of enabling infrastructure for 18 (Phase 1) technologically advanced charging points. Connected Kerb are now working with the Park to develop Phase 2 expansion plans for a larger scale deployment. 

The deployment aims to aid employees and visitors currently requiring charging access and encourage further electric vehicle (EV) uptake across the Park.  

The challenge: installing long-life, reliable charging infrastructure that offered flexibility to new technologies and billing options to different customers. 

Of late, a considerable number of charging solutions have been emerging on the market, all with differing capabilities, functions and speeds.  

Navigating the ever-expanding smorgasbord of chargers is often a task in itself and selecting the correct solution is crucial for successful utilisation rates and user satisfaction.  

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The Park sought to select the best suited solution for its bespoke requirements. It needed car park charging infrastructure that was long lasting, environmentally sustainable and flexible to future technologies, with minimal ongoing operating costs.  

The solution also needed to provide an integrated software system, able to accommodate multiple pricing tiers for employees and visitors and consolidated billing and reporting capabilities.  

The solution: installing long-life infrastructure to provide reliable charging for employees and visitors, while generating a return on investment 

The Park selected Connected Kerb to install its long-life charging infrastructure, noting its innovation and sustainability credentials.  

The unique design of the CK system sees the bulk of the charging components sitting beneath the ground, while only the discreet charging sockets – designed to blend in with the surrounding environment – are visible above ground. 

The Park opted to install the base infrastructure (below-ground) for 18 fast 7 kW charging points, 12 7kW of which are activated with sockets installed above ground. Once demand requires, the remaining six sockets can be added with ease.  

This innovative design and mindful deployment method minimises the risk of charging points sitting unused and removes the need for further disruptive construction activities. It also results in quick maintenance or repair times, meaning charge point uptime is optimised.  

The Connected Kerb system’s software and load management capabilities allow the Park to implement bespoke charging strategies for employees and visitors. The back-end dashboard enables efficient management of tariffs, users, billing, reporting and more.  

Deploying infrastructure alone, without effective stakeholder engagement and education, tends to lead to low utilisation and has little impact on EV adoption. 

To address this, a virtual training session was facilitated by Connected Kerb for the businesses residing in the Park, with an aim to generate interest and stimulate further EV adoption by detailing the environmental and financial benefits of EVs.  

The goal is to create EV ambassadors within the Park, increasing awareness and knowledge, debunking perceived barriers to EV ownership and accelerating adoption rates. 

Further, a key deliverable for the Park was generating a return on investment. By selecting a charging solution that is best suited to its specific requirements, the Park can leverage healthy utilisation rates to produce sustainable ongoing revenue.   

Offering more than solely EV charging, Connected Kerb’s solution also supports a wealth of add-ons, including fast fibre. The Park opted for a fibre connection from the chargers to its own fibre network to allow room for a seamless integration of potential technologies.  

This added connectivity allows for current smart city technologies to be installed on the platform and enables the potential for future technologies to be included – whatever these may be, whenever they come along – without needing to upgrade the infrastructure.  

Advancements in charging technologies, like the addition of wireless charging, can be added with ease to the existing infrastructure once readily available and requested by the client.  

The interoperability of the Connected Kerb system also means the infrastructure solution is flexible to technologies innovated by businesses at the park.  

Conclusion 

Fast, smart charging solutions are key to enabling future technologies, optimising committed investment and encouraging the transition to electric vehicles.  

Demand for readily available, sustainable EV charging is already here. It is now imperative that workplaces across the UK meet this demand and future-proof for the demands of tomorrow. 

The initial installations at Cambridge Science Park are an example of long-life infrastructure that provides for charging requirements today, while being flexible to the possibilities of e-mobility and smart tech of the future.