Car Culture: Pop Up Charge

A weekly look at all that sucks in the world of cars, plus some good bits


The pop-up charger sits on the edge of the pavement (sidewalk) 

The car industry being the bellwether of corporate society, and the industry realising the instruction ‘don’t go to work unless you have to go to work’, actually allows them a free hand, a number of Britain’s car makers are tooling up to start producing cars again.

Land Rover-Jaguar is one company, Vauxhall another. Someone has tipped them off that worker distance is more profitable and sensible to cold storage lock-down, at least for big business. Car makers are leaking money faced by the shut-down, non-production of vehicles and engines, the expensive shift to electric vehicles, and massive fines for cheating customers over unsafe diesel cars. No surprise, then, that they are lobbing the EU hard as they can to shift the deadline for emission controls.

Cars are one of the planet’s biggest polluters and users of natural materials and yet manufacturers want us to return to that situation for as long as possible soon as lock-down is eased. Meanwhile, on the High Street, some are preparing for electric vehicles (EVs) being the norm – by law!

A new type of pop-up charge point has been designed to give owners of electric cars who have to park their EVs on the street the ability to recharge at home.

Although there have been leaps forward in home and public EV charging in recent years, one major obstacle to EV ownership remains the fact that a third of UK households – equivalent to eight million cars and vans – do not have access to a driveway. With trailing leads across pavements hazardous, and residents with no off-street parking ineligible for Government charge point grants, urban EV charging has long been a significant issue to overcome as the UK makes the switch to electric.

A British startup firm named Urban Electric has created a pop-up charge point that can be installed at the kerbside. The chargers deliver a 7kW charging rate, and are said to be suitable for 90 per cent of residential streets.

A trial of what is claimed to be the world’s first pop-up charger EVs is underway in Oxford. Six prototypes of the charging point have been installed in the city as part of a pilot project, developed by product design company Duku and sister firm Albright IP in collaboration with Urban Electric.


All very phallic, but it’s one answer to getting juiced up

The charging points retract underground when not in use, which means they sit on the level of the pavement and are only visible by a ring of light which highlights their position and lets users know of their availability. (See photograph at top of article.)

The trial will take place over the next six months and drivers who signed up to the trial are able to book an electric car which has been made available for the period of the pilot. The £600,000 project won funding worth £474,000 from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and administered by Innovate UK. The trial will allow the companies to verify the reliability of the prototypes and investigate how it fared against daily use, the weather and being installed on a UK street.

Improvements will be made following which a larger scale roll-out is expected.


‘Urbricity’ – installing charging points in lampposts, a Norwegian solution

I much prefer electric chargers in lampposts. Lampposts exist already and no digging is needed. The down side of a pop up version is a. the sod who parks two wheels up on the pavement his car over the charger; b. the masses of pavement lifted to take new cables, and c. more clutter on our footpaths to add to street signage, shop placards, bicycle racks, bins, railings, and so on, and so forth.

Merely excavating pavements to install the chargers outer casing and ducting, while the electrical team pulled in the cables ready, adds another layer of street clutter and no go stretches to daily urban life.

However, there will be places where a pop-up is the best solution. The first installations of the new pop-up or pop out chargers are aimed at residents on the street who have limited access to parking and struggle to boost the batteries of their electric vehicles.



Bored out of my skull, I took a drive around old Queensferry village on a sunny afternoon crushed to discover it’s new urban sprawl. What was once a pleasant village is now a mini-Livingston. What caught my attention was not just the lack of sensitivity new architecture with the old, but lines of cars nose or tail to houses. New flats built on green sites have car parks not underground parking bays, an astonishing blunder in the modern age by Planning departments. And most disappointing of all, where was the community? No shops or cafes for people to meet at street level of the flats. What I saw was one ugly multi-development that’ll soon reach Dalmeny and outer Edinburgh. Where is the careful planning for people, rather than kitsch houses for newcomers?

Insurance premiums

With a distinct increase in road traffic, I can see folk are getting frustrated staying indoors. You have to be careful not to stop anywhere, if not a shop or a petrol station, police are apt to ask for a chat. I wonder how much money car owners have lost staring at their car sitting idly on the driveway or road these last lock-down weeks. Has your insurance company sent a letter to tell you they will reduce next year’s premium for your car’s lack of use? And what about this month’s waste of Vehicle Excise Duty, usually known as road tax? How about an extension on next year’s ?


A Guardian investigation last year found that Exxon has spent €37.2m (£32.4 million) lobbying the EU since 2010, more than any other major oil company, according to the EU’s transparency register. It also revealed Shell spent €36.5m and BP €18.1m lobbying Brussels officials to shape EU climate policy. They were desperately trying to influence European commission officials to water down the European Green Deal in the weeks before it was agreed. They spend a fortune telling us how environmentally friendly they are while simultaneously doing the opposite. Great use of shareholder money.

Happy motoring … maybe! 


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1 Response to Car Culture: Pop Up Charge

  1. greig12 says:

    The charging points on busy city streets are just not in my opinion viable. My main reference point for this is Portobello where as a regular visitor to friends over the last 30 years and witnessing the increased congestion, I just can’t see how it will work. The strife caused by any sort of extensive road works in the Bath St area is hard to quantify. Where will folk put their cars during the upheaval because they’re struggling to park as it is. There needs to be a change of behaviour and this involves doing without a car of your own if you choose to live in a busy area. If you want the culture, social life etc.. then lose the car, it’s the sacrifice you need to make. Charging can’t happen with too many cars. What happens with the cars left on charge that are not used for days, weeks on end? There are many and they will remain plugged in taking up a space needed for others charging.

    People living in rural areas without access to regular public transport should not be told they’ve to bear the consequences of all this without the supposed benefits of city living. The rules have to differ depending on where you live and the demands on you depending on geography.

    Battery cars are, I think, a red herring, with their own currently not readily publicised down side. Yes, fossil fuel guzzling must end but charged electric is not a long term solution. The Elon Musks of the world are leading us down the garden path with these to make even more dosh. Hydrogen is the only available current solution that might work but only in the context of wider changes, infrastructure, investment and personal restrictions. There is a severe lack in the commitment area regarding this at present and I fear that we are becoming the victims of big capital lobbying yet again.

    Sorry, to disagree GB because I know your a big supporter of it but I think that battery power is all part of the equation that’s currently fcuking us.

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