Electric Scooter Charging Station. Safety
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All charging stations currently use a 13 amp plug, on the other hand most of the bays will soon convert to using 32 amp Mennekes sockets as this is becoming industry standard. This will ensure the power is correct in order to charge the bikes sufficiently. If the wire is tampered with whilst charging the electricity needs to be cut to protect both the user and general public. Furthermore, due to the fact that the infrastructure uses electricity, there needs to be some protection from water and must be weatherproof to protect the infrastructure and users. The users should also be kept aware of safety precautions such as always using a wire in good condition, ensuring that the post is close to the vehicles and avoiding trailing wires over the pavements. The user should also remove the wire from the post before removing it from the vehicle.
Electric scooters and vehicles are becoming more and more popular ,however it can be questioned, whether the current infrastructure is addressing their needs to cope with all types of electric vehicles. There are a number of companies within the market including; ‘Electromotive’, ‘Pod point’, ‘Chargemaster’, ‘APT’, ‘Charging Centre’ and ‘Electrocity’. Gnewt scoot highlight the opportunity to create such infrastructure as motorcycles take up less space and reduce congestion. To save space, scooters need their own charging areas as well as creating more convenience for the users.
The infrastructure used at present is for all electric vehicles. Currently, the use of the current infrastructure is free, however some companies require the user to pay an administration fee to register their electric vehicle to use the infrastructure. At present the user can drive their vehicle to the post where they use their own wire to connect their vehicle to the charging post. Each charging post is accessed by a type of electronic fob. This unlocks the flap protecting the three pin plug socket. The user then inserts the plug to the socket and then must firmly close the flap for it to lock, in order for the power to flow. The wire can not be removed from the plug until the same user has swiped their fob again- this is to prevent and address vandalism and safety precautions. Some types of posts use LED lights to show the status of the charging e.g. a green light represents the charging of the vehicle. There is also varied power in the stations, the user has a choice of fast, rapid or slow charging times. The current posts can be used by scooters and take around 4-6 hours to charge.
The main government funded project presently moving forward with EV vehicles is ‘Source London’. It was a plan introduced by the Mayor of London- Boris Johnson, in which he is trying to work in partnership with public and private partners. There is one flat fee paid to register, however the project is restricted to those living in the London area. The aim of ‘Source London’ is to have around 100,000 electric vehicles on the road as soon as possible with a network of reachable charging points across London.
Current Two Wheeled Charging Stations
‘APT Technologies’ have launched a charging system called ‘Evolt Bike’ This allows a maximum of 6 bikes to be charged from one single post and operates in the same way as other charging systems do in the market (registering, security fob, LED light).
Possibility of Additional Features
It could be briefed to those designing the electric bikes to include the wire inside the bikes which can be released and sent back into the bike by the use of a button so not all the wire needs to be exposed at one time- it can depend on the distance from the vehicle to the charging station. It can also be irritating to those users searching for a charging station when there are vehicles connected to posts that have finished charging. A reminder or countdown could be attached to the users security fob/key so they know when their vehicle has finished charging. An investigation was also conducted into looking at other ways of generating the electricity but it is disappointing that one wind turbine would be needed to supply one charging post.
‘Iberdrola’s’ charging station in Barcelona.
The main infrastructure of 2 wheeled electric vehicles are valued more abroad where the use of motorbikes and scooters are more cherished for its efficiency and use in cities such as Barcelona and Paris. ‘Iberdrola’ have launched 15 stations around Barcelona which have 6 charging spots. They allow the user the opportunity to use an iPhone app which locates the nearest available charging spot and also notifies the user when their bike has finished charging.
‘QVR’ a Swiss company has developed the ‘Electrant’ which is installed in various areas and is available to be used by 2-4 wheeled vehicles, however, each post only charges a maximum of 2 vehicles.
Access and Security
‘Source London’s aim is to make sure that everyone within the London area is within one mile of a charging station. To access the charging points the user will have a type of fob or card which will release the locked flap. Only that person can re-access the post once the flap is locked. For the charging to take place the flap covering the power points must be locked. If the flap is forced open then the power should be automatically cut. There are some features that are required to access the charging point- the user must have the mandatory cable lead to connect the vehicle to the charging point- you can not just use any cable. There needs to be a way of accessing the charging post to those users with electric vehicles, currently there is the use of fobs/keys but could this be improved? There should be a method of preventing the wire being tampered with while charging, there is not a way of preventing the wire being removed at the vehicle end.
The Swiss ‘Electrant’ on the left and the ‘Evolt Bike’ on the right.