The changing face of charging

Rachel Lewis
Head of Partnerships, Liberty Charge

Since the introduction of Electric Vehicles (EV) becoming an owner has been met with a series of roadblocks making the change to sustainable transport seem like an unattainable option. However, over the past few years, these roadblocks have started to be eroded  through the partnerships of public and private sector players making EVs a viable option for car owners. Gone are the days where EVs were unaffordable and reserved for the few who could afford both the car itself and their own driveway.

Car owners have even greater access to EVs than ever before as they are now cost competitive with a petrol or diesel vehicle, meaning that price is no longer a crucial barrier to consumers. Even for those who typically buy a used car there is now a growing market to meet their needs. The only barrier that remains is a genuine charging infrastructure for long journeys and those with no off street parking. For anyone without charging infrastructure at home, it makes owning an EV as their primary car difficult, whereas the possibility of charging on the street near their home would give them the confidence to make the switch to an EV.

The advantages of sustainable transport seem obvious, fewer emissions means a healthier planet. Which of course is true, but EVs can instantly contribute to making the air in your community cleaner. EVs do this by removing direct emissions from the equation. Direct emissions are emitted from a petrol or diesel car and produce greenhouse gasses and smog forming pollutants causing towns and cities to often experience poor air quality. As EVs do not produce any direct emissions, it means that there is no carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxides being mixed up with the air we breathe. The European Environment Agency found that that the greenhouse gas emissions of electric vehicles, including their production, are about 17-30% lower than the emissions of petrol and diesel cars which could decrease to 73% lower by 2050 as the carbon intensity of the EU energy mix is projected to decrease.

While contributing to lower emissions is great for the environment and your community, one key benefit which is not always discussed is the reduction in noise pollution. A study completed by Nissan showed that on a standard urban street peak noise levels were 90db compared to the running noise of a Nissan leaf at 21db, showing the vast reduction in traffic noise levels when EVs are used en-masse. Those who already own EVs quickly realise that they are simply better cars: they are safer, cleaner, quieter and more relaxing to drive on top of their positive environmental impact.

As we drive around, we can see evidence of the changing tides toward greater EV adoption all around us, there are charge points popping up everywhere, from supermarkets and gyms to company car parks at work. All of these are great ways to charge when you are on the move but Liberty Charge seeks to be a catalyst to the EV uptake by providing charging for EV owners outside their front door, so that the switch to a sustainable vehicle is not constrained by not having access to off street parking.

Each month we see an increase of registered EVs while petrol and diesel cars decline, so what was the solution to making EVs more inclusive? Infrastructure. Around 40% of urban car owners don’t have access to a driveway and therefore are faced with the problem of how to conveniently and reliably charge their EV. This is the missing puzzle piece that Liberty Charge is combatting through leveraging the build capabilities and network assets of Virgin Media.

Virgin Media passes close to 16 million homes and continues to build past hundreds of thousands of additional premises every year – one of the biggest ongoing infrastructure investments in the UK. With access to Virgin Media’s street cabinets and underground ducts, Liberty Charge can harness the power of Virgin’s network to build on-street charging points with less disruption, making the switch from internal combustion to an Electric Vehicle easier than ever. Liberty Charge can deliver a highly scalable infrastructure across the UK, enabling residents access to convenient, reliable and cost-effective on-street charging.

While infrastructure is a key component of making EVs accessible to all, so too is building strong partnerships with Local Authorities to ensure that sustainable transport is at the heart of town planning. Liberty Charge is working with Local Authorities to facilitate the uptake and growth of EVs for their residents. Working with Local Authorities ensures that site selection, parking, highways strategy and street furniture requirements are aligned and future proofed. Through the work of Liberty Charge and its peers, Electric Vehicles will become more accessible and with investors increasingly placing their funds in the EV sector, the industry is only set to grow.

Founded in March 2020, Liberty Charge was created by Liberty Global and Zouk Capital to help transform the UK’s EV landscape, by deploying EV charging infrastructure. So the next time you change your car, think of the benefits you’d be bringing to you and your community if you opted for an Electric Vehicle.