Earth Notes: A Note On Ubitricity's EV Mobile MPAN Magic

How to get electric vehicle (EV) charging widespread in cities including for homes without driveways; clever simple #cleantech!
ubitricity EV streetlamp charging

Yesterday I had the good fortune to be at a cleantech pitching session with Knut, founder of ubitricity, and I'm an instant fan of one element of his master plan to take over the world, that happens to make owning an EV (eg a small electric car) a more realistic proposition for me.

I have never owned a car, though I sometimes drive (probably more miles outside the UK than in it!). Our rather upmarket conveyancing lawyer was horrified to discover that "we had no guaranteed parking" to which I replied that "I don't have a car" to his slight discomfort.

The point about that is I have no driveway to put a car on for plugging it in. There is however a streetlamp in the adjacent car park, that I could take advantage of using ubitricity's clever scheme. (Yes, I might not be able to take advantage of the solar PV on my roof mere metres away, but maybe I can't have everything at once.)


Clever Cable, Tag-along Tariff

The ubitricity scheme, as I understand it, gives you a smart charging A/C cable for your car, with an Internet-connected meter in it, that connects you to an appropriate domestic tariff as if you were carrying around your home consumer unit and electricity meter with you. You are billed as your mobile phone is, for usage, wherever you are.

(That tariff could reward charging at grid-friendly times, too.)

Your home electricity supply meter (or meters eg if you have PV for instance) comes with an identifier called an MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number). They normally imply a fixed location and building. The ubitricity ones are mobile.

Though the street lights themselves may typically draw 100W, the wiring supply to them can manage many kilowatts, enough to provide a decent charge (faster than from a domestic 13A socket in fact), even if not a super-fast one. But expect to plug in overnight on your street, or for a top-up while visiting shops or even at work, and you're sorted.

The charging cables are themselves locked at both ends, so hard to steal.

And ubitricity can convert any London lamppost to a charging point in a matter of minutes, and without planning or reglatory issues and delays.

All obvious in retrospect, as any good idea should be.