UK's first electric vehicle smart charging scheme comes to Hackney

A new scheme will see select Hackney electric vehicle drivers trialling smart chargers this October. 

A new scheme will see select Hackney electric vehicle drivers trialling smart chargers this October. - Credit: Connected Kerb

Hackney drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) could save hundreds of pounds a year on charging costs, if a new charge point trial in the borough is successful. 

Backed by the government, The Agile Streets Project is pioneering the country's first on-street EV charging scheme, which aims to make it easier, and cheaper, for EV owners without off-street parking to recharge their vehicles.

Thirty on-street smart chargers are set to be installed in Hackney this October by EV company Connected Kerb.

The borough was chosen due to high demand for public EV charging points from locals. It will be one of four UK regions trialling the scheme. 

A smart electric vehicle charging point.

The scheme aims to help EV drivers without driveways who are often having to rely on the often more expensive, public charging network. - Credit: Connected Kerb

Cllr Mete Coban, portfolio holder for energy, said: “Providing equal access to affordable electric vehicle charging across Hackney is a key part of our plan to rebuild a greener Hackney. Our vision is for the borough to be: greener, with more trees and wildlife; healthier, with more of us walking, cycling and taking public transport; and, cleaner, with better air quality.

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“This scheme offers a fantastic opportunity for businesses and residents to have access to charging infrastructure that could save them hundreds of pounds every year. This is crucial as we move closer to the 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars.”

The green scheme will be the first in the UK to integrate smart metering technology into public on-street chargers. This will allow for charging to be scheduled when energy is cheapest, such as on sunny days when solar energy is abundant or at night when electricity is cheap. 

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Hackney EV drivers must register their interest to take part in the trial and, if selected, will use the scheme's Connected Kerb app to find and reserve a charge-point.

After plugging in their car, EV owners can let the app know when it must be charged by.

They will also be given the option of 'Eco' or 'Boost' charging mode.

A woman uses an app to schedule charging for her electric vehicle.

The Connected Kerb app will allow drivers to find and reserve a charge-point as well as schedule a charging time. They will also be given the option of 'ECO' or 'Boost' charging mode. - Credit: Connected Kerb

Eco mode will activate the charger at times when electricity is cheaper.

Agile Streets says this could reduce emissions and cut the cost of EV charging by as much as 40 per cent for people who do not have driveways. Savings for a Renault Zoe, for example, would be worth around £290 a year. 

Hackney Council has planned for charge point locations to complement its EV charging strategy and promote a transition to electric vehicles.

The scheme is being trialled in Hackney and three other regions in the UK. 

The scheme is being trialled in Hackney and three other regions in the UK. - Credit: Dominic Wright

According to official data, EV ownership has risen significantly with UK registrations up 105 percent from 2019 to 2020, and up 59pc in Hackney. 

However, figures show that almost half (40pc) of UK households without off-street parking are having to rely on the public charging network to charge EVs, which at present is usually more expensive than charging on a driveway.

Unlike those who can charge at home, drivers without off-street parking cannot benefit from smart energy tariffs which shave hundreds of pounds off the cost of charging every year. This creates significant inequality between road users, as outlined in a report commissioned by the government.

Dual Gecko electric vehicle chargers.

Dual Gecko electric vehicle chargers. - Credit: Connected Kerb

Local drivers who have not yet gone electric but wish to participate in the scheme can still take part by renting an electric car from car subscription service Onto, with up to 50pc off for the first two months. 

The trial will run from October 2021 until May 2022, giving hundreds of local drivers the opportunity to test out the charging points

Once the trial is over, the 30 chargers will be given to the council, providing the on-street EV chargers for future use, with the aim of increasing EV uptake ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles.

To apply to take part in the scheme, drivers can sign up at A selection process will then take place to ensure applicants live or work in the local area.

The Agile Streets project is delivered by a consortium comprised of Samsung Research, Connected Kerb, Octopus Energy For Business, SMETS Design Limited, Energy Saving Trust and the Power Networks Distribution Centre. 

The project was awarded £1.5m by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deliver the Beyond Off Street Smart Meter Electric Vehicle Charging programme.  

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