Electric vehicle (EV) charging specialist, Connected Kerb, is working with Kent County Council on a project that will provide a blueprint for local authorities looking to provide EV infrastructure to hard-to-reach communities.

In the project’s first phase, Connected Kerb is installing 40 charging units across 20 Kent Parish sites to improve accessibility for EV motorists and encourage a wider shift to EVs.

All income from the chargers goes to the local community or is used to support the roll out and maintenance of more chargers, creating a long-term revenue stream for those involved.

The distribution of EV charge points across the UK is massively varied. For example, over 30% of the UK’s public charging network is located in London, equivalent to 63 public chargers per 100,000 people[i]. This compares to areas like Gravesham, Kent, which has just 3.7 chargers per 100,000 people..

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, said: ‘Access to charging infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to the uptake of EVs. Although demand for chargers is higher in dense urban areas, the lack of infrastructure in out-of-town communities leaves people concerned about switching to EVs. It is vital that access to public charging is equitable across the entire country and we bring an end to the EV charging postcode lottery.

‘Nobody should be left behind by the EV revolution because of where they live. Our partnership with Kent County Council shows that the economics of installing EV charging in non-urban areas is much more favourable than many believe. This is a recipe for success for local authorities across the UK.’

Installing public charging infrastructure outside of busy urban areas has typically been a challenge for the industry. Lower grid capacity and fewer connections increase upfront cost, with lower footfall compounding the challenge by extending the return-on-investment period. With some rapid chargers costing upwards of £100,000 to install, and with lifespans of between 5-10 years, the economics rarely add up.

Connected Kerb’s technology and business model enables local authorities to provide all communities with accessible, low-cost and reliable public EV charging. Their infrastructure is designed to last 20+ years. It is located below ground and installed once, with passive chargers that can be easily ‘switched on’ by adding the above ground charge point to match consumer demand.

The chargers also feature additional smart capabilities that can facilitate air quality monitoring, parking management, CCTV, road sensors, 5G connection, autonomous vehicles, route planning and power demand forecasting.

Tim Middleton, transport innovations programme manager, highways, transportation & waste from Kent County Council, said: ‘Providing adequate electric vehicle charge-points across the county is a key part of our strategic plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This partnership offers a fantastic opportunity for Kent businesses, residents and visitors to have equal access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure – not only is this crucial as we move closer to the 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars, but it means that Kent can play its part in the transition to decarbonisation.’