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Case Study: West Sussex leading the charge for EV in the community

The West Sussex Chargepoint Network is the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) chargepoint deployment by a local authority and is running in partnership with six district and borough councils. 

Project Overview

Connected Kerb won a tender by West Sussex County Council whose residents will see thousands of chargepoints installed in public sector car parks and on community facilities across the county within the next ten years. 

The roll-out was launched in June 2022 at Hazelgrove Car Park in Haywards Heath where a number of charging points are in operation. 

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The majority of charging points will be 7kW and allow a typical car to charge 0-80% in three to seven hours. Where suitable, rapid charging points are being deployed. 

They are fully funded, installed and maintained by Connected Kerb with some small revenue for the landowner, based on the number of chargepoints on their land and the revenue produced. 

The scale challenge 

Installing such a large number of charging points is a massive undertaking both in terms of installation and changing public attitudes to sustainable mobility. 

Modelling work undertaken by West Sussex County Council estimates that West Sussex needs to see 3,305 public charging points by 2025, and 7,346 by 2030. Of particular concern is fulfilling the EV requirements of residents who have no access to off-street parking. Furthermore, West Sussex, like the rest of the UK, needs to get EV-ready ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles. 

The council wants to install them in locations where they are needed but not where they encourage additional car use. Reaching out to local communities to ensure the network is right for everyone and educating residents about the benefits of EV’s are two more challenges. 

Across the county, 37% of total carbon emissions in West Sussex are due to road transport and over half of these emissions are due to car travel. 

There are currently ten Air Quality Management Areas. These AQMAs are locations where Nitrogen Oxide levels exceed, or are likely to exceed, the national maximum threshold. The main cause of this pollution is vehicle emissions. 

The solution 

Connected Kerb was selected based on its future-proof and cost-effective charging solution as well as its emphasis on community. Its infrastructure, which is uniquely deployed with the bulk of the charging components sitting beneath the ground, is designed to last significantly longer than anything else on the market.   

This design, with only discreet charging sockets above the ground, minimises ongoing maintenance and additional ground excavations, meaning uptime is maximised. It also ensures that provision is aligned with demand eliminating a morass of rarely used charging points until EV really takes off. 

The charging points can also support additional smart capabilities in the future, such as, air quality monitoring, parking management, CCTV, road sensors, autonomous vehicles, route planning and power demand forecasting. These features, plus the long lifespan, improve the cost-effectiveness of the charging infrastructure and create a business case for installing it in more rural areas.  

The cost to charge is 35p per kwh with no membership or connection fees. Importantly, revenue from commercially viable sites will support delivery in areas that are less commercially viable making it an equitable solution too. This substantially improves the economics of rural chargepoint deployment by making it more affordable to install, ultimately reducing costs for drivers and creating cleaner, quieter communities for all.  

It is a real community solution – town halls, community groups, schools, not-for-profit social housing providers and village halls can access the contract meaning residents in a village who might not have pavement space can access one, say, at their village hall. Furthermore it will really showcase the benefits of councils signing long-term contracts that cater for a gradual rather than an immediate increase in utilisation. Connected Kerb has held webinars with councillors to provide continued education on the project and collate feedback.

While Connected Kerb’s intuitive site selection tool identifies possible charging point locations based on factors such as local parking restrictions, local grid capacity and EV ownership levels, West Sussex residents can let the county council know where they would like chargepoints to be located by using an online form. The expertise of Connected Kerb in relation to marketing and communications with local communities was also an asset to the council. 

Conclusion 

This project will provide a blueprint for local authorities across the UK to deliver affordable, long-lasting, sustainable EV infrastructure ahead of the 2030 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles. 

It will play a major role in helping the 40% of drivers nationally without off-street parking to go electric and assist the UK in reaching it’s net zero goals. 

Notes  

West Sussex Chargepoint Network is run in partnership with Adur and Worthing, Arun, Crawley, Horsham, and Mid Sussex district and borough councils.