Electric car charging infrastructure is good—until there's so much of it that it clutters the streets and starts impeding pedestrian access.
That's why a British company called Urban Electric has designed pop-up chargers that retract into the ground when they're not in use.
In Britain, 50 percent of urban residents park on the street, meaning if they have electric cars, they need access to streetside chargers.
This has given rise to solutions such as chargers on street lamps and cable boxes. Some local politicians Britain, however—as we've seen in the U.S.—are reportedly holding up permits for such installations over concerns that some constituents consider the public chargers too ugly.
Urban Electric's urban charging hubs retract into the sidewalk when not in use and are designed to address these problems. The company plans to install its pop-up chargers on residential streets and public parking lots.
To start, the company has received $4 million pounds (about $5 million) to install 18 pop-up hubs in two demonstration projects, in Plymouth, England, and Dundee, Scotland. The hubs will be able to charge up to 108 cars, and drivers can pay for parking and charging using the Appy cell phone app.
Urban Electric hopes that installing more streetside chargers for urban Brits who don't have access to them now will help boost EV adoption.
“More than 7.5 million UK drivers park their cars on-street at night," said Urban Electric co-founder Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson. "However, their cars are located right above the low voltage network, and by accessing this safely and without causing street clutter our charging solution provides the convenience of at-home charging that every EV driver wants, but until now was unable to have.”