Buckinghamshire Council is committed to tackling climate change. As part of its commitment to acting as an enabler of sustainable innovation, the Council is one of the first Local Authorities to support the trial of a pioneering car club and wireless charging in Liston Road, Marlow. The car, which will be available to local residents, will demonstrate the latest wireless charging technologies for electric vehicles. Instead of plugging a car into a standard charging pillar, there is an electrical wireless charging pad set into the ground, avoiding trip hazard wiring and charge-points cluttering the car park and/or the street. With this new exciting innovative trial, the pad can only be activated when an electric car (installed with the specialised induction pad) parks over it.
Buckinghamshire Council is working with Char.gy, the charging-point company, to run a set of trials in contrasting locations across the County, and the Liston Road car park has been selected as the inaugural site. Because existing electric vehicles do not have wireless charging, an adapted Renault Zoe will be made available for hire, so that residents can try it out and become familiar with how to charge it using the wireless charging pad. The trial will soon be expanded taking place at two other sites within Buckinghamshire, along with sites in London Borough of Redbridge and Milton Keynes, which will provide contrasting urban and demographic situations.
Questions about Wireless Electric Car Charging
How do I know if I am eligible to take part in the trial?
The use of this vehicle will be open to drivers over 23 with 2 years driving history, or drivers over 25 with 1-year driving history. Before renting the car, users will need to register (for free) and complete the application profile at www.hiyacar.co.uk. All drivers will need a UK driving licence (with 6 points or less) and bank details to sign up.
How can I book a car?
A smartphone booking, payment and vehicle-access App provided by hiyacar will control the use of the vehicle and act as a virtual key (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN5dFvnMYyQ). The car can be booked in advance any time from 1 hour to up to 3 whole days.
When will the car become available at Liston Road car park and how much will it cost to hire?
The car club trial will begin operation in August and will run for 9 months. The hire of the vehicle is funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, with drivers paying for their own insurance costs- which could cost as little as £5 per hour or £15 per day depending on the driver age , experience and other risk factors.
If I drive the car elsewhere, will it be possible to charge the car using a charging cable? Yes – the car will retain the conventional cable-charging as well, so that they can be used beyond their battery range from the wireless charging-hub. Note, the car will need to be returned to the Liston Road hub before the hire session ends.
Is the new electric wireless charging car safe?
The charging plate and vehicle adapter have been exhaustively tested , to ensure that the device will not affect people, animals or devices near it while in operation. We can officially certify that the wireless chargers are safe for everyone. A similar but considerably more powerful version of this technology was in operation for 5 years for an electric bus demonstrator in Milton Keynes, where it was proven to be safe and reliable.
To learn more about this demonstrator, please visit www.osric.co.uk
What should I do if I need help?
Drivers will be provided with a support contact, the hiyacar app has a “get support” button and the AA will be available 24/7 to help drivers in case of any mechanical issue.
What measures are used by the car club to prevent the spread of Covid?
The car club will use strict cleaning regulations which adhere to government guidelines, including periodic anti-viral disinfection. Anti-bacterial wipes will be provided and replaced periodically but it is advised that users take their own antibacterial wipes to further reduce any infection risks. When entering and leaving the car, the user will be expected to wipe down the common touch points (door handles, interior mirror, steering wheel, gearstick).
How does this trial fit into improving transport provision for the area as a whole?
The initiative is part of a wider programme to support the switch to Electric Vehicles (EVs). The Government has stated that sale of new fossil fuel only vehicles will be banned by 2030. We therefore need to develop a range of solutions to make charging and use of EVs easy for all to use. Another important objective for the demonstrator is to investigate how to improve transport options available to residents without access to off-street parking. Car clubs and other forms of shared transport that support the use of a vehicle on an ad hoc basis could reduce the number of cars required per household leading to reduced number of cars on the road, reduced congestion and better availability of parking spaces.
If the wireless charging works well, will the wireless charging point/s be retained?
Yes. This would be an option, particularly if car manufacturers start offering vehicles with wireless charging options and residents, Local Authorities and the Government are in favour of this innovative solution. Buckinghamshire Council will ensure that there is an appropriate and fair procurement process to attain a permanent solution if this solution is to be retained and expanded.
What is the purpose and aim of the wireless charging trial?
The trials’ aim is to assess if recharging EVs can be provided in another way to the current cable and charge-point method, testing both the technology and how users react to it. The technology is new and requires in-field testing to evaluate how it works. All the equipment will go through full safety checks before deployment. It is also important to implement solutions to help reduce carbon emissions.
Importantly, this trial is about understanding how the users will react to the new technology. Will it be useful? If so, why? If not, again, why?
How is the trial funded?
The trial is funded through a combination of a grant from Government agencies (Innovate UK and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles) and an investment from Char.gy, the lead project Partner. There is no additional cost to Buckinghamshire Council.
Who are the partners in the project and what are the responsibilities for in the project?
The project is led by Char.gy, a company specialising in developing Electric-Vehicle charging points. The wireless charging is being developed by both Warwick University and IPT, the same company that has provided the technology used in the Milton Keynes No. 7 bus route.
Trials will be hosted in Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes, and Redbridge, with each local authority supporting these deployments. This Marlow initiative is supported by Buckinghamshire Council and by the South West Chiltern Community Board. The hire car company (hiyacar) will manage the bookings and arrange on-demand insurance for users. Lastly, the Open University will undertake research into public use and what the thoughts are about the new innovative technology.