The UK government is considering a new initiative to address the lack of electric vehicle (EV) charging points on UK roads. The proposal is to convert street furniture such as trash cans and street lights into electric vehicle charging stations. Six local councils across the country have received funding to deploy “smart containers” that not only act as charging stations but also provide WiFi and 5G connectivity.
If successful, this pilot program could pave the way for other types of street furniture such as benches, bus stops, traffic lights and security cameras to become charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Michelle Donelan, Technology Minister, stressed the importance of harnessing advances in science and technology to create a better future for the UK.
However, not everyone supports this approach. Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay called the plan an “unworkable solution” that does not meet the need for high-power chargers. Despite this criticism, the government has committed £1.3 million to the pilot scheme, which will take place in Cambridgeshire, Tees Valley, Kingston upon Thames, North Ayshire, Oxfordshire and Westminster.
The introduction of “smart containers” involves opening trenches in the streets to connect them to the electricity grid. Some consider the use of existing street furniture to be beneficial as it minimizes the accumulation of objects on the streets. Edmund King, President of the AA (Automobile Association), emphasized the need for innovation and new ideas when building an electric vehicle charging network.
This initiative follows a recent discussion about the limitations of electric vehicles in replacing conventional vehicles. An electric vehicle enthusiast who drove the UK’s slowest electric vehicle highlighted the challenges and limitations these electric vehicles face.