Earth Notes: On Ubitricity EV Mobile MPAN Magic

Learn how to make electric vehicle (EV) charging in cities work for homes without driveways. Clever simple #cleantech!
EV charging at street lamp post London

2017/07/11 I had the good fortune to be at a cleantech pitching session beside Knut, founder of ubitricity. I'm a huge fan of part of his plan to take over the world. One that happens to make owning a small electric car (an EV) more realistic for me.

I have never owned a car. I do sometimes drive. (Likely more miles outside the UK than in it!) Our upmarket conveyancer was horrified that "we had no guaranteed parking" for our new house. To which I replied that "I don't have a car" to his discomfort.

So like many city dwellers I have no driveway to park my car on. So nowhere of my own to plug in an EV. There is however a streetlamp in the car park near us. I could use that with ubitricity's clever scheme. (I might not be able to charge from 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 provides a smart charging cable for your car. The cable contains an Internet-connected meter. The cable connects you to power in the lamp post. It also connects to an appropriate domestic tariff. Just as if you were carrying around your home electricity meter with you. But without the rather long extension cable! 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 comes with an identifier called an MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number). An MPAN normally implies a fixed location and building. The ubitricity MPANs are mobile.

Street lights typically draw 100W. But the wiring and supply to them can handle many kilowatts. Enough to provide a decent charge. Faster than from a domestic 13A socket in fact, even if not a super-fast one. Plan to plug in overnight on your street. Or for a top-up while visiting shops or even at work. You'll be sorted.

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

Now ubitricity can convert any London lamp post to a charging point in a matter of minutes. Magic!

All obvious in hindsight. As any really good idea is likely to be.