Retractable charging points initiative tested in England

Puntos de carga retráctiles

Retractable charging points for electric vehicles is the new trend brought by a consortium of British companies looking to move ahead with the consolidation of a growing market that, nonetheless, still faces great challenges.

Consultancy firm Duku, based in Cheltenham, and sister company Albright IP have developed a retractable charging point for electric vehicles. The prototype is being tested in the real world as part of a pilot program in Oxford.

Designed in collaboration with Urban Electric, six of these prototypes are already being installed, which means that one of the great obstacles for EVs could be soon overcome.

"Without access to charging points the electric car revolution could by-pass millions of people, particularly in the inner cities," said Duku director, Andrew Aylesbury.

"Ironically this demographic is also one of the most likely to use an electric car, with short commutes into local towns or to train stations. If you can solve this problem, then you open up a huge market opportunity to increase the uptake of EVs in every single town and city.”

A challenge in terms of design

Alex Lee, director of Duku, said the project was “challenging.” He stressed that one of the factors to consider is that EV chargers currently clutter up the streets, particularly historical cities like Oxford.

Lee stresses that “minimizing the depth below the ground is one of the big challenges. At the same time, it needs to rise up to a certain level to make it accessible for everyone. So we worked hard to miniaturize its components while also creating a charge point that could rise up to 800mm above ground level.”


Retractable charging points are equipped with sensors that will detect obstacles to help avoid vehicles and anything else that might get in their way. They also have security features that prevent them from powering up unless they are connected to a car. Finally, they sit flush with the ground when retracted so they don’t obstruct traffic.

"It’s certainly a complex system but overcoming challenges is something the team at Albright IP and Duku are used to. Getting them in the ground is a real milestone for the project and we’re excited to see how they operate," chimed in managing director of Albright IP, Robert Games.

A second development phase will take place depending on the success of this six-month test. This second phase will include the integration of an application and installation of more charging points.

Just a couple of months ago EV wireless charging was tested in the UK. The test was the result of a government initiative backed by the Department of Transport. Also, last month it announced a new EV charging network that will include 2,500 fast chargers by 2025.

With the expected rise of the number of electric vehicles, charging stations become an unavoidable need. Therefore, more of them are expected to pop up.

Expanding market

The global wireless EV charging market will reach $365.3 billion by 2025, up from around 0.08 billion in 2017. It is expected to see a healthy growth of over 115% during 2018-2025.

Growing government regulations and initiatives to control carbon emissions and the rising demand for electric vehicles are pushing market growth. Due to the strict emissions regulations introduced by governments in several countries, sales of EV continue to grow.

Hence, the market is expected to continue its rise driven by increasing EV sales.

For more information, check Energía16

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