The project will use Virgin Media’s 40,000 powered street cabinets and 170,000 km of ducts to provide on-street EV charging points.
Over the next 18 months, Liberty Global aims to deploy and operate 1,200 charging sockets across the country through the project. The rollout of on-street EV charging stations using Virgin Media’s connectivity will build a fully scalable electric vehicle charging network. This will need a 19-strong consortium called Virgin Media Park & Charge. The consortium includes delivery partners Vattenfall and SMS and specialist technology partners Cenex, Ginger Town, Fully Charged, Connected Kerb, DETA and Loughborough University.
The chargers will be supplied by Connected Kerb, where the system is split between a subterranean node box that houses the intelligent componentry and the above-ground charge point sockets, which are made from recycled vehicle tyres and fit to existing street furniture. The charge points act as Wi-Fi / 5G access points, enabling air quality, traffic and other IoT sensors. The system can support wireless induction charging and vehicle-to-grid technologies.
“Leveraging street cabinets allows Liberty Global to look beyond traditional uses of telecom infrastructure and make a positive impact on the environment and in communities throughout the UK. By bringing more electric vehicle chargers and associated connectivity to Britain’s streets, we are making a significant contribution to Innovate UK’s ambition to encourage more people to buy electric cars. We’re excited to be working with a wide array of partners who each bring their own areas of expertise to this exciting and innovative project,” said Jason Simpson, Vice President Global Energy and Utilities for Liberty Global.
A number of UK local authorities are also involved: the West Midlands Combined Authority as well as councils in Oxfordshire, Liverpool, Southend on Sea, Worcestershire, Wandsworth, Croydon, Northamptonshire, Hammersmith & Fulham and Belfast.
Liberty Global is already the largest investor in electric car racing championship Formula E.