What should Scotland consider when planning electric vehicle charging? An experienced street lighting team’s perspective

Scotland has a strong focus on accelerating the provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Data shows that outside of London, Scotland is way ahead of the rest of the UK in the provision of public charge points. So, what can be learnt from Westminster’s EV charging rollout? The process has been managed by a specific team, with technical input from the council’s street lighting team. This CPD presentation will give the street lighting team’s view of the in-column EV charging rollout in the council. Covering the expectations versus reality under current standards, the issues found following installation, and the ever-changing landscape of what can be allowed on the highway, this session will benefit every street lighting professional with an involvement in EV charging. The webinar will also include an overview of the issues to consider with rapid chargers.

Speaker: Dean Wendelborn BE(Civil) and Dip.Lighting (LET), Westminster City Council

Hosts: Ray Clarkson, Chair and Kevin Ramsay IEng MILP, Honorary Secretary for ILP Scotland

Q&As

QuestionAnswer

Given that Westminster/city of London is largely 24hr live supply, would there be a significant infrastructure cost to convert local authority lighting stock to live supply in Scottish major cities?

Yes a huge cost most likely, the removal of your private network and the installation of a DNO (24hr) supply would be likely be in the millions of pounds spread across the Main Scottish cities. But we don’t know the exact requirements for the Scottish DNO about transfer of cable assets.
Has vandalism been an issue?
No, it hasn’t for EVs other than chewing gum in the LED indicator light to show if the charger is connected properly. There have been illegal energy use from columns over the years directly accessing the fuse I’m aware of from the ILP and the HEA, but EVs have been left alone to my knowledge.


How do you assess the cable condition/suitability to cope with the demand of a charge station due to age of the network you are adding to?

We undertake visual assessments and ensure that the in column devices are no higher than 5.5kw covered by 25A RCBO’s – these can also be down rated if there are issues with the supply parameters.
How do you deal with the trip hazard that curly cable between car & column presents to pedestrians? Who owns that risk?
For in-column chargers, it is the responsibility of the car owner as the cable is theirs, hopefully as we are only using columns at the front of the kerb this should be minimised. Where they are stand-alone fast/rapid chargers that have pull out cables, it is the responsibility of the EV company to ensure cable management. By using lamp columns that sit at the kerb edge and with doors that face out into the carriageway, the charging cable will interact with just a small (c0.45m) section of footway. Liability will remain with whoever it was using the cable to charge – please see section 8 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2013: “For the purposes of determining, in any proceedings in a court of civil jurisdiction, who is liable for injury, damage or loss resulting from the presence on a highway or public off-street car park of a connecting cable at or near charging apparatus provided under this section, it shall be presumed that the person in charge of the relevant vehicle at the relevant time had responsibility for and control of the cable.”


How do you get over the requirements of BS 7671 (IET EV Code of Practice) that all EV charging points are fed by dedicated circuits?

We don’t, all in-column EVs have their own 25A rated RCBO from the DNO cut-out.

How many of the column installed chargers have a dedicated bay marked out for users?

About 80% in Westminster now.

In a built up area like Westminster how do you maintain the required separation from underground metalwork connected to a PME network?

Above ground; on surveying the sites before install, there are a number of prerequisites we have to meet (BT Poles / Cabinets / Catch Pits etc) and we have to ensure we keep 15m away from this equipment (i.e., lead 2.5m car 2.5m arm span 2m). Below ground; we cannot, as it is not reasonably practicable to meet them, which has been accepted by the DNO.

In the event that a pedestrian suffers injury after tripping over a cable, who would be deemed liable for the injury?

That would be for the courts to decide, if the council had taken all expected scenarios into account, arrange for the quarterly inspections as required under BS7671, and site inspection records kept, then they should have a strong case.

In your opinion how far off are commercially available inductive charging loops? I would imagine this technology would solve lots off issues although possibly create others.

If it proves a suitable, cost-effective solution would think at least another 5 years, as it’s taken the in-column charging 5 years to mature to its current state and it is still a work in progress. It is thought that a Hydrogen fuel cell may come on during this time as well.
There are no commercial options for inductive charging at this time. We are aware of some trials taking place (Southwark, Nottingham and Oslo for example) and many operators have indicated a willingness to explore this technology in our discussions with them but seemingly interest dissipates once it goes beyond the trial stage. There is a growing view that this technology might develop as better used in conjunction with certain sectors (taxis and private hire vehicles) or forms of vehicles (automated vehicles) where the loop on the underside of the vehicle and in the bay can be perfectly aligned to achieve maximum efficiency in transfer of power.


Is it appropriate to install a rapid charger in a location covered by double red lines?

No, the photo was cropped from a TfL site that was next to a lay-by parking area, attached wide shot.

Issues with private cable network! PME/ TT. PME is not allowed due to the risk of losing the neutral which could potentially make a column live hence the reason for Earth Rods, so I don’t see how the regs will change. Your thoughts?

Note the ENA consultation, and additional device would be required.

Presumably most EV users will want rapid charge capability, which leaves the lighting column option less attractive doesn’t it?

The data from our DNO, UK power Networks, show majority are looking at charging at home, so most likely overnight charging, hence the pattern is not showing rapids as the most likely option. Also, EV team have observed Taxis using the trickle chargers on their rest breaks.