Category Archives: POD Point

Building the UK’s electric vehicle infrastructure with POD Point

Ten years ago the notion that electric vehicles (EV) could significantly disrupt the conventional diesel-fuel monopoly of the car market seemed like a pipedream – but that dream is coming close to a reality. Erik Fairbairn, the Founder of UK electric vehicle (EV) charging company POD Point, which recently crowdfunded £9m on Crowd Cube, explains why EVs are about to become the new normal.

It’s Fairbairn’s belief that in the future EV drivers will no longer need to stop somewhere to charge their car, but instead this mundane task will happen when the car isn’t being used, which is 90% of the time.

There are 2,000 public POD Point charge stations around the UK. Image courtesy of POD Point.

Starting a revolution

“My first thought was: how do you put energy into your car? With a petrol pump, so you probably need something similar for an EV,”

Fairbairn explains.

His POD Points look like conventional petrol pumps, but instead of a long, oily nozzle at the end of the handle there is a large plug.

Fairbairn quickly grasped that he couldn’t completely replicate the petrol station experience, as to take a battery from empty to full in two minutes simply doesn’t work.

“I realised I need to put a charge point everywhere your car is parked,”

he explains.

Grid watch

One of the main concerns linked to widespread EV roll-out is the energy demand and strain they will inevitably put on the national grid, which Fairbairn believes can be managed with demand-side response.

“In the future, when we get to a mass roll-out of EVs we can carefully manage how many cars are charging at any one minute,”

he says.

Who’s investing?

POD Point is one of the top ten most crowdfunded business in the UK. It previously raised £5m across three different rounds of crowdfunding and in December raised an additional £9m.

“Crowdfunding is great as there are many EV drivers that want to invest in the company – there is this affinity between the company and the drivers who like being part of the POD Point ecosystem,”

says Fairbairn.

Mass adoption

The immediate plan for POD Point is to scale-up the UK operation, but regardless of the outcomes of Brexit, there is huge potential for the company in neighbouring Europe.

“I think the UK is one of the more advanced places in Europe for EV charging, but the opportunity to export from UK to the rest of Europe and build networks across the whole of the continent is very exciting,”

says Fairbairn.

In the rankings of EV adoption, Norway is first, the Netherlands second at 5%-8%, and the UK third at 2%.

“The biggest barrier for EVs today is that they are more expensive,” Fairbairn says. “My rule of thumb is that mass adoption is going to happen when we get a 200-mile range car for £20,000 and I think that will happen in 2020.”

Read more: power-technology.com

The Charge Point Being Installed for my First EV, a Renault ZOE (Image: T. Larkum)

Installing a Charge Point for your Electric Car

There can be a significant lead time in arranging the installation of a charge point so it is best if this gets underway as soon as possible after your new electric car is ordered.


If the car is a new Renault ZOE or Nissan Leaf on PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) then installation of the charge point will be organised by the manufacturer. As part of this deal the manufacturer will specify their preferred charge point.

In most other cases you will need to arrange the installation yourself. We can help you through the process with advice and guidance:

  1. We provide details of the main installation companies below.
  2. Our guide to selecting the most suitable charge point for you is here: Choosing a Charge Point.
  3. Our guide to check on your eligibility for a government grant for the charge point is here: Government Grant for Electric Car Home Charge Point.

If you are a Fuel Included customer then you can of course call or email us at any time for more detailed advice.

Note you may find that a charge point is occasionally referred to by its more technical name ‘Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment’ or EVSE.
 

Charge Point Installers

The biggest companies making and installing domestic charge points  – let’s call them the ‘Big 3’ – are the following (with links to their website and to our news feed with articles about them):

  1. Chargemaster PLC: Chargemaster website, Chargemaster news items.
  2. POD Point: POD Point website, POD Point news items.
  3. Rolec EV (part of Rolec Services Ltd): Rolec website, Rolec news items.

 
However, there are many other smaller installers; here’s a brief (not definitive) list:

  1. ChargedEV, nationwide installation partners for Rolec, based near Sheffield.
  2. Charging Solutions Ltd, partner with Chargemaster, based in Wales.
  3. The Phoenix Works, nationwide installers, based near Leeds.
  4. SOL Electrical, install POD Point and Rolec charge points in the South West of England.
  5. EV Charging Solutions, based in the Midlands.
  6. Armstrong Renewables Ltd, install in the North East of England.
  7. New Motion EVSE Ltd, based in London and part of a Dutch group, the largest provider in Europe.

 

Installation Process

In most cases the installation company is likely to contact you for information on your property, including asking for photographs of your main consumer unit (‘fuse box’) and the preferred location for the charge point. Usually a dedicated cable will be run from the consumer unit to the charge point so sometimes the installer may also ask for information on, and photographs of, the route between the two. Generally an isolator switch will be installed in this new circuit.

The Charge Point Being Installed for my First EV, a Renault ZOE (Image: T. Larkum)
The Charge Point Being Installed for my First EV, a Renault ZOE (Image: T. Larkum)

Typically a standard installation will allow for cabling of up to 20m in length. If the distance is greater than this then there may be an additional cost to the customer (of perhaps £5 per metre). Similarly there may be additional costs if the installation is complex (e.g. passing a cable over a walkway or under a path); these issues are likely to be highlighted by the installer ahead of the installation visit. Sometimes the electrical system in the house will lack a mains isolator switch and this may need to be installed in advance by your electricity supplier; again the installer should flag this ahead of their visit.

The installation itself will take less than a day (it can be as little as an hour). You will need to be in attendance and the electricity supply will be turned off for much of the work.

After the installation is complete you will likely be asked to sign off on the work (and will be given a set of keys to the charge point if it is key protected). You should test the charge point as soon as possible by connecting your car, ideally while the engineer is still present in case it shows up any issues.

PS: I have previously described the installation of my charge point in detail here and here.

New electric vehicle charging points have been installed at Heathrow Airport under a new partnership between POD Point, manufacturer of the units, and APCOA Parking

Heathrow Airport installs new electric vehicle charging points

New electric vehicle charging points have been installed at Heathrow Airport under a new partnership between POD Point, manufacturer of the units, and APCOA Parking.

The units are available to all drivers of electric vehicles looking to park at the airport.

New electric vehicle charging points have been installed at Heathrow Airport under a new partnership between POD Point, manufacturer of the units, and APCOA Parking
New electric vehicle charging points have been installed at Heathrow Airport under a new partnership between POD Point, manufacturer of the units, and APCOA Parking

“This partnership agreement has the potential to be a game changer for the EV industry in the UK, and not only in volume,” says Erik Fairbairn, CEO of POD Point. “Working with APCOA means access to EV will be granted to a huge section of the population at various touch points in their daily life, as well as putting a measure in place to generate footfall in retail centres and provide added services that encourage customer retention for businesses. Our mission is to have a POD Point everywhere people park for an hour or more and today’s announcement means we are a step closer to making that vision a reality.”

Kim Challis, Regional Managing Director for UK & Ireland, APCOA, adds: “At APCOA we’re passionate about sustainable travel and the future of electric vehicles. I’m proud to be embarking on this exciting new partnership with POD Point. APCOA is the parking provider of choice to hundreds of organisations across the UK and Ireland, and our broad network will open up EV chargers to new motorists and support the wider take-up of electric vehicles.”

Source: Airport Business

Charging points will be upgraded and up to 20 new outlets will be installed

EV charge points to boost Westminster air quality

The City of Westminster is to offer a greater number and variety of electric vehicle (EV) charging points available to drivers in the borough from early 2017.

The council announced yesterday (30 November) that from January 2017, charging points will be upgraded and up to 20 new outlets will be installed, including some rapid chargers.

The smart grid technology company BPL, under the Source London network, is putting in place a new model for electric charging, while Chargemaster is rolling out public charging network ‘Polar’.

PodPoint will be upgrading the equipment and the council will be working with new operators to increase provision for EV users across the borough. A new range of tariffs tailored for different users of different types of EV technology is being introduced by the operators.

Charging points will be upgraded and up to 20 new outlets will be installed
Charging points will be upgraded and up to 20 new outlets will be installed

Westminster city council was the first local authority in the UK to launch on-street charging points for electric vehicles. It now has over 60 on-street charging points, with an additional 200 available off-street.

The council claims that the expansion of the EV network will also help its Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood and other air quality hotspots in the borough by reducing the emission of harmful pollutants.

Cllr Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking, said:

“Poor air quality is a continuing problem for us in Westminster, but we’re doing all we can to help improve our environment through our Greener City Action Plan. This includes encouraging a switch away from diesel vehicles, with easy parking for electric vehicles and improving electric vehicle infrastructure, encouraging car club use as an alternative to a private car, reducing freight and waste vehicle movement, promoting more cycling and walking, eliminating vehicle engine idling and reducing emissions from buildings.”

Cllr Acton also explained that the authority is also trialling new measures within its Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood which “will help make real improvements to air quality in central London.” And, she added:

“Electric vehicles can help by cutting reliance on more polluting cars. The expansion of the EV network offers an improved service for those who need a vehicle.”

Read more: Air Quality News

eMotor feeding (Image: T. Heale)

Pod Point Home Charger Installation

[Friday 13th January] This post is about gratitude.

Thank you to the following organisations for covering the cost of my POD Point Home Charging Station – UK Government for the OLEV Grant and Hyundai for the balance.

A special heartfelt thank you to POD Point Installation Engineer Leighton for his fast, professional installation in such unpleasant circumstances.

This was the scene when Leighton arrived this morning (Image: T. Heale)
This was the scene when Leighton arrived this morning (Image: T. Heale)
Leighton running cable to new trip (Isolation) switch in meter cupboard (Image: T. Heale)
Leighton running cable to new trip (Isolation) switch in meter cupboard (Image: T. Heale)

The snow had eased off considerably by the time the next picture was taken.

It was still remarkably cold. I mean brass monkey cold. Trust me, I know cold. I’m a man in shorts all year round*

And here was this stranger disembowelling** my house.

POD Point installed (Image: T. Heale)
POD Point installed (Image: T. Heale)

Just over an hour after arriving and two coffees later the charger was in and I’d had a thorough briefing on using it. A very positive (no pun) experience from a professional company.

eMotor feeding (Image: T. Heale)
eMotor feeding (Image: T. Heale)

Thank you to all involved.

I have just heard from Hyundai Bletchley that my Owners Manual will be here soon. When It  arrives I’ll post about the Ioniq’s charge timer function to use Economy 7 electricity.

BTW – The Ioniq eMotor? It is a fantastic machine. Pure pleasure to drive.

Bye for now. I’ll be in touch.

* Picture half a walnut
** Gralloching for you country types

Follow this link to Pod Points website for details:

http://charge.pod-point.com/homecharge/

Trevor Heale at home in his new Ioniq Electric (Image: T. Larkum)

So I Own an Ioniq eMotor (Electric Vehicle)

One week into the new and exciting world of my new eMotor and I’m looking to venture further afield.

Trevor Heale at home in his new Ioniq Electric (Image: T. Larkum)
Trevor Heale at home in his new Ioniq Electric (Image: T. Larkum)

Home charging is easy, if a little long with a 13amp plug and I eagerly await my 32 amp POD Point to take advantage of cheap night rate electricity. It’s still called Economy 7 you know, just like it used to be way back when.

I mentioned in my previous post I was tackling range anxiety. Doing so within the confines of Milton Keynes (MK) seemed sensible. It was fun using sport mode to drain the battery 🙂
At eighteen miles range remaining all the appropriate warning lights went off (came on?) and…

I continued driving!

Yup. I continued. I’m that kind of chap.
Brave huh? Yes, for a given value of brave. Eco mode made me feel a little more secure.
After a couple of miles of tormenting lights, prudence reared her head and I agreed with her. It was time for me to tackle my first rapid charge.

Dear reader please forgive me as I wave my ignorance at you in the following.

I pulled over, stopped and pressed lots of buttons* (no manual yet). Within moments I had a map of Milton Keynes and dozens of choices to hoover up some power. Ooh how happy and clever I felt.

It didn’t last.

Broughton is a newer area in MK so I chose to explore it and fill up there. Yes, since you ask, it happened to be the nearest point. Remember, I’m working on my range anxiety.

If I’d known the area I would’ve stayed on the main road and seen the chargers by the local shops. I didn’t. Satnag** said turn right into Cavan Way and I did. The location of the charger and the satnav were at odds by approximately one road and two hundred yards. I’ll remember that in future searches.

I parked (reversing cameras are great) and tackled the Monolith. Which cable/connector to use? Easy I know my plug options. Now, where do I pay? Ok. Sigh. I’ll read the instructions. Bu**er!

One of the many Polar rapid charge points around Milton Keynes, this one is in Central MK (Image: T. Larkum)
One of the many Polar rapid charge points around Milton Keynes, this one is in Central MK (Image: T. Larkum)

Yeah, I knew somewhere in the back of my mind you needed a card but surely I can just buy some electric? Just a little bit for cash? Eh? Hole in the wall technology right? Wrong. Holes in the wall are mostly for getting money out not for putting it in.
I closed my recharging flap (that’s not a euphemism) and did the walk of ignorance and shame back to my comfy leather seat. It felt further than the three paces. The heated seat and steering wheel cheered me until I was back at home with my three pin plug.

So take heed brave new adventurers, preparation is required to charge away from home.

I have now joined the Chargemaster Polar Network and Ecotricity (for the motorway free charges). Currently the Polar network has a six month offer free of standing charge. I’ll review my use of their service in May 🙂

One other thing. eMotors are eligible for free parking in MK once you have a green permit. Apply on line at the MK Council website.

BTW – The Ioniq eMotor? It is a fantastic machine. Pure pleasure to drive.

Bye for now. I’ll be in touch.

* The next day I noticed a horrible whining noise. My shock and disappointment convinced me a motor bearing was on the way out. Hang on what’s that light? Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) active. Not now it isn’t.

** Thank you Lewis Randall for “Satnag” 🙂

[The next part is here.]

A 3.7kW Chargemaster or Pod Point unit will be fully fitted for free as part of the deal (Image: Chargemaster)

Free homecharge units offered to Nissan Leaf buyers

Nissan is offering free homecharge units to new Leaf buyers, giving new owners a ready-made charging set-up.

A 3.7kW Chargemaster or Pod Point unit will be fully fitted for free as part of the deal (Image: Chargemaster)
A 3.7kW Chargemaster or Pod Point unit will be fully fitted for free as part of the deal (Image: Chargemaster)

The offer is part of a nationwide campaign with the Japanese manufacturer’s official charging partners – Chargemaster and Pod Point.

Buyers of new Leafs on one of Nissan’s finance packages will be eligible for a free Pod Point or Chargemaster unit if the car is bought before Friday 30th September. The deal is on all models and specifications of Leaf, the best selling pure-EV in the UK.

With all buyers of Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) eligible cars – of which the Leaf is one – able to claim the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) grant too, there has long been help for buyers of new EVs to easily add a home charge point at the same time. The grant offers up to £500 off the cost of buying a unit and having it installed.

Chargemaster and Pod Point are offering 3.7kW Nissan-approved home charge units fully installed as part of the offer, saving customers just under £400 compared to if they had bought an EVHS-backed unit from the installers directly.

The process needs no input from the buyer once they say that they would like to take Nissan up on the offer. The dealership notifies the installers, which then take over, organising home visits and arranging for engineers to fit the unit free of charge.

David Martell, Chargemaster CEO, said:

“Our relationship with Nissan GB has evolved since we announced that Chargemaster was an official charging partner in the UK. We are delighted to be able to offer Nissan’s finance customers a trouble-free home charging solution free of charge. Chargemaster is committed to making charging easy and accessible for every EV motorist, and the team can’t wait to get started on the campaign and future homecharge installations.”

Erik Fairbairn, CEO and founder of POD Point, said:

“We are very pleased to continue our close partnership with Nissan GB by providing its electric car customers with free home charging points. The ability to charge an electric car at home is a key part of the EV experience and we are excited to help Nissan ease the transition into the world of electric driving.”

Visit the Pod Point and Chargemaster websites for more information on the charge points provided.

Source: Next Green Car

Erik Fairbairn, CEO (Image: POD Point)

How to start a business in an industry that doesn’t exist

New technology is not just disrupting existing industries, it’s creating entirely new ones. Today we speak with Erik Fairbairn, the man behind POD Point, the UK’s leading provider of electric car charging points…

Erik Fairbairn, CEO (Image: POD Point)
Erik Fairbairn, CEO (Image: POD Point)

Fairbairn founded POD Point in 2009, two years before electric vehicles were even on the market. Since then it has shipped more than 20,000 chargepoints to over 15 counties – charging 10 million miles of electric vehicle driving in the process. In 2014, and then again in 2015, POD Point turned to crowdfunding, where it raised a total of £3.7 million and the company has recently been featured in the Tech Track 100.

Freshly created sectors such as this present CEOs, like Fairbairn, with handfuls of risk, opportunity and challenges. So what advice would he give to start-ups trying to make their mark in such unexplored territory?

What challenges have you faced in getting POD Point up and running?

We launched POD Point in 2009. Unfortunately there weren’t any electric cars available then; in fact the first widely available electric car, the Nissan Leaf, didn’t arrive until 2011. It was then another three years until electric vehicles started to take off.

As you can imagine, selling electric vehicle charge points into a market which had no electric cars was quite a challenge!

Of course today the electric vehicle (EV) seems like a forgone conclusion, but back in 2009 it was quite a wild statement to suggest 85 per cent of us would all be driving EVs within 20 years. This meant that persuading people to join the POD Point team was immensely difficult.­ We were asking staff to take quite a risk on what was a rather outlandish prediction about the imminent arrival of the electric car!

Read more: Virgin