The ‘Scaling On Street Charging Infrastructure Project’ (SOSCI) is being programme managed by Cybermoor Ltd and delivered under the social enterprise banner of ‘Charge My Street’ which is a registered as a community benefit society. It has 13 partners and a budget of £4,129,573.
The Project has a target of installing 200 22kW fast chargers over 18 months across the north of England, though in fact there are no geographic limitations to the installation sites, so these can be sited anywhere in the UK. As Durham County Council are major partners it is expected that around half of these charge points will be installed in the Durham area. Previous work involving Durham County Council has laid some of the groundwork in identifying potential sites.
The SOSCI Project is designed to address several electric vehicle charging infrastructure challenges which currently inhibit the uptake of electric vehicles. Firstly, the commercial return on investment in charging infrastructure is expected to be very limited in rural areas, with companies preferring to install instead in dense urban areas, supermarkets and existing petrol stations, for example. Secondly, as it is illegal to run loose power cables across pavements and roads, then residents living in terraced housing in both rural and urban areas are restricted from installing their own domestic charge points. The lack of charge points in both circumstances is therefore seen as a disincentive for residents to purchase either a new or second hand electric vehicle.
Innovate UK, the sponsor of the fund, is particularly keen to learn the lessons from efforts to address these challenges. As such, the key element of the project will be evaluation, even if the target number of charge points isn’t reached.