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Virgin Media Complete First UK Install of Liberty EV Charge Points

Monday, April 12th, 2021 (4:56 pm) - Score 10,200
Liberty_charge_ev_point_virgin_media_uk

Liberty Charge (Liberty Global), which is backed by Zouk Capital and leverages infrastructure from broadband ISP Virgin Media, has today announced that they’ve successfully completed their first UK installation of on-street electric vehicle charging points in the London borough of Waltham Forest. Many more will follow.

The project, which has previously talked about leveraging 40,000 of Virgin Media’s powered street cabinets and 170,000km of ducts to help support the rollout, has been in the works since an initial trial of similar charge points took place at six UK sites (e.g. Southwark) in November 2019 (here) – Virgin Media Park and Charge (VPACH).

NOTE: Zouk is the manager of the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF), the dedicated fund established by the UK Government in 2019 and backed by HM Treasury to help develop public charging infrastructure points for EVs throughout the UK.

The original plan, as confirmed last May 2020, was to deploy 1,200 new EV charging sockets on residential streets across various UK towns and cities by “early 2021,” but clearly progress has been a fair bit slower than they hoped (partly due to the pandemic).

As part of this Liberty Charge will also harness Virgin Media’s engineering expertise and their knowledge of dealing with local authorities. The main focus here seems to be on cutting costs by deploying the power infrastructure at the same time as new optical fibre cables, while some data connectivity may also come from existing broadband cabinets to help support the service.

The initial deployment in the Waltham Forest area will see the joint venture install 20 charging points across 10 sites in the borough, which will then increase to 50 sites as future locations are determined.

Neil Isaacson, CEO of Liberty Charge, said:

“Recent research has highlighted the need to do much more to meet the rising consumer demand for electric vehicles charging if the UK government’s carbon neutral targets are to be met. There are many challenges on the road to net zero and at Liberty Charge we’re doing everything we can to ensure that charging infrastructure is not a limiting factor.

We look forward to partnering with other local authorities to give residents more opportunities to charge their electric vehicles on the street.”

The charging points will be operated by EV DOT, a publicly accessible electric vehicle charging network owned and operated by BMM Networks. The charge points provide access to a charging capacity of up to 22 kW and cost EV drivers 30p per kWh to charge.

Many more charging points are expected to follow, although it’s not known how long it will take for them to reach the original goal of 1,200. More areas for deployment will be confirmed during the course of this year, as Liberty Charge continues discussions with local authorities throughout the UK to maximise on-street electric vehicle charging opportunities for residents.

Libert_Charge_EV_Point_Install_Virgin_Media_UK

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29 Responses
  1. Avatar Gareth says:

    I’m not convinced that electric vehicles are the solution. How come none of these people talk about the cost of electricity in the future as more and more people take up these vehicles?

    We have fuel poverty now. If everybody is forced on to electric, where will electricity prices end up?

    I believe Porche and Ducati are looking at synthetic fuel that can be delivered via a normal petrol station with very little if any emissions.

    Let’s not forget that electric cars are NOT clean. The rare minerals and production of the vehicles is still dirty.

    We need to be producing a major surplus of green power before pushing this to the masses.

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      What does it cost for enough fossil fuel to drive 100 km versus the electricity required to do so?

      Electricity isn’t a resource that’ll just run out. Supply can and has to be increased to meet demand and pricing is regulated. Fossil fuel pricing is not.

    2. Avatar David says:

      Good point

    3. Avatar André says:

      Electric cars are not “clean” and neither is ANY technology that we use. They all require raw materials to produce.
      They are, however, far cleaner than their fossil fuelled counterparts, especially if you count the whole life cycle of the cars, and especially as the sources of electricity become increasingly carbon neutral.
      Electricity prices are an interesting one, and there are many factors that affect them. It is interesting that most renewable sources tend to be cheaper and there may be new models of electric distribution that make it even cheaper still.
      The intermittency of renewable sources of electricity is, however, the BIG problem that needs to be solved. I suspect interesting solutions will be deployed within the next 10 years.
      Embrace the change, trust me you’ll love it 🙂
      (DOI: I have had an electric car for 2 years and I commute 100 miles to work)

    4. Avatar AndyC says:

      https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/904503/UK_Energy_in_Brief_2020.pdf

      if i read page 30 correctly the amount of power the uk produces has dropped for the last 15 years where as the amount of power we “import” has increased……… Not good for a future of massively increased power usage

      Oh lets hope the chargers don’t go the way of their internet and can only do half the rate due to being over subscribed.

    5. Avatar CarlT says:

      If we don’t produce and import enough power first the voltage drops, then certain high users have their juice switched off then we get rolling blackouts.

      Best hope that it doesn’t come to that.

    6. Avatar André says:

      We import more because we can buy cheaper from Europe when renewable generation is high, although the UK has enough generation capacity to be self-sufficient (if carbon emissions and cost are no object). Market forces and all that.

      And, if I may be pedantic, it’s not voltage that drops. It’s frequency. But yes, the end result is the same. And a highly unlikely one, fortunately.

      There are some pretty clever people dealing with this issue, and the National Grid seem confident that they can cope with the demand so I’m not losing any sleep 🙂

    7. Avatar CarlT says:

      My mistake, thank you!

    8. Avatar Anna says:

      It takes 9660 Kwh per month just for 1 pump to get oil out of the ground…

      I can do 34,498 miles on that electricity!

      Go figure.

    9. Avatar Gary says:

      Anna, At least there’s no bias in the Video whatsoever. So may aspects of OIL production and the use of that product in a huge number of products other than fuel for a car just simply ignored as they don’t fit the narrative.

      Yep look at all that energy used to get OIL and how many cars we could power instead, so long as we stop All shipping, Air travel and stop manufacturing everything that uses oil and its derivatives.

    10. Avatar André says:

      @Gary
      I agree, I didn’t quite like the tone of the video. I found it inflammatory and certainly not tactful. Definitely not a “hearts and minds” effort.
      I would say, however, that nobody is advocating that oil should not be drilled at all. It’s simply too precious for that. In fact, you could argue it’s too precious to just burn needlessly 😉
      I would say that the video data applies only to the oil that is extracted for mobility, and unfortunately those numbers probably stand.
      I don’t think anyone can make a rational argument for keeping things the way they are.

  2. Avatar Wesley says:

    Any discount if your on the ooomph bundle

    1. Avatar Anna says:

      Nah but it will slow down to 1Kw at peak times innit 😀

  3. Avatar A_Builder says:

    30p/kWh is expensive electricity.

    22kW is a good charge rate IF your EV can AC charge that fast. Most top out at 11kW apart from the the premium ones and some will only take 7kW.

    I’m all in favour of loads of street chargers BUT there needs to be a proper market in getting the essentially free 11pm
    -> 5am electricity into EV’s at low rates. Charging 30p/kWh for that is a pure rip off.

    I’m a Tesla driver.

    1. Avatar Alex says:

      I expect it’s 22 kW for two cars, so that works out nicely.

      30p/kWh does look like a bit of a rip-off even compared to prices on residential tariffs, but at this point we need to be switching away from ICE cars even if it’s more expensive. …and 30p/kWh isn’t, it’s about half the price of petrol.

    2. Avatar Jono says:

      Was just thinking the same, 30p is very expensive.

    3. Avatar Peter says:

      How does 30p/kWh compare with other charging stations? Comparing it to your home electric cost isn’t comparing apples with apples. There will be additional costs to cover with running these charging stations.

    4. Avatar Jono says:

      Depends on location, I think Tesla is around 20p.

    5. Avatar André says:

      @Jono
      Tesla varies with location as well, but I think it’s mostly between 21 and 28p/kWh. They tend to be on the lower price of the market. Rapid chargers tend to be around the 35p with the notable exception of Ionity who charge an absolutely gouging 65p (or thereabouts).
      Fast charging like these Virgin ones tend to be a tad cheaper, with most of the Polar network charging around 15p/kWh
      So yes, 30p does sound a bit steep but may be the only option for those EV drivers who don’t have a driveway available.

    6. Avatar DavidS says:

      Agree 30p is expensive. And are “fast” chargers the answer. I believe Newbury has street chargers at 26p that have never been used in over a year.
      More rapid chargers at sensible prices. Perhaps subsidies should come with price caps enforced! Galls me to see Ionity gouging and proudly showing they received subsidies.

    7. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @André

      Sounds a bit smug but all the Tesla’s we got the business during lockdown came with free lifetime charging so I have no clue what Tesla charges as we just plug it in if we need to.

      I agree the the comparison is a bit meaningless particularly as we have fitted chargers outside the office on our 3 phase supply and negotiated to use two neighbouring business 3 phase supplies (they could have operated of a single phase 60A supply) so we can get up 66kW into whatever is parked in the car park at pretty sensible prices spread across 12 charging points.

      We have set it up so can track the charging and actually most people just charge at work. This is only really an issue on Monday morning when everyone seems to come in with a nearly empty battery!

  4. Avatar Jack says:

    How long before they become faulty or an engineer messes up the installation like most VM engineers do? Funnily enough when I spoke to a decent VM engineer about installation nightmares he even said himself that most of the install problems he goes out to are because of previous engineers slap dash ethic.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I think that’s mostly on the consumer side, whereas street works come attached to tighter rules and can be monitored by LAs. Different kettle of fish.

  5. Avatar Permanently Aggrieved Luddite says:

    Electric cars are rubbish and are for virtue signalling, lefty wefties, who hate Britain.

    Synthetic fuels are the true patriotic solution and don’t you dare ask me why, as that’s condescending.

    P.S. they’ll have to take the keys to my diesel car from my cold dead hands.

    1. Avatar A_Builder says:

      Try driving a high performance one: it is quite addictive.

      I used to have various diesels: not now!

    2. Avatar André says:

      Don’t feed the troll, A_Builder 😉

    3. Avatar Jimjam says:

      The proper British way is to drive a German car filled with Saudi diesel.
      None off those British built leafs filled with British electric.
      Also you forgot
      “Thats why I voted Brexit”

  6. Avatar Gavin says:

    I’m wondering how these charging points will work in a real life situation.

    They look like they are just at the side of the road. So no protection against damage, or thieves.

    According to the Liberty Charge FAQ its going to take one car 4 to 5 hours to charge up!

    How much does it cost to charge up a vehicle?

    I think for everyone to change to electric cars there needs to be a LOT more than on-street charging. People need to have a charger at home at least.

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