In an exclusive Q&A session with Mr Joe Rowley, the EV Director at Flowbird UK, we had the privilege to discuss the importance of destination charging and its significant role in accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles. With a wealth of experience in the field of electric mobility, Mr Rowley sheds light on the benefits and implications of destination charging for individuals without driveways. He also shares insights into the convenience of integrated payment systems and the vital role of centralised data dashboards for car park operators. Furthermore, we delve into the suitability of different locations for destination charging setups and explore the profound impact of events like the London EV Show on the broader EV ecosystem.
Mr Rowley's expertise provides a comprehensive understanding of how destination charging is reshaping the landscape of electric vehicle adoption in the United Kingdom.
#LEVS: How does destination charging address the needs of people without driveways or home charging, and what impact does it have on promoting EV adoption among them?
Mr Joe Rowley: Destination charging provides a critical charging option for the many drivers without access to home or overnight charging. For people in flats, terraced housing, and other living situations with only street or public parking, home charging is often impossible. Destination chargers located in car parks of workplaces, shopping centres, restaurants, hotels, and other public venues help fill this charging gap.
Drivers can conveniently top up their EV battery while at work, shopping, dining out, or running other errands. Most destination charging occurs at Level 2 speeds, providing around 20-30 miles of range per hour of charging. For many daily commutes and driving needs, destination charging alone can sufficiently meet an EV owner's charging requirements.
Widespread availability of destination chargers also helps reduce range anxiety and promotes EV adoption among drivers without home charging access. They know that even if they can't charge overnight, there will be ample options to charge during the day conveniently located near their regular activities.
With 40% of UK households lacking home driveways or garages suitable for installing chargers, destination charging will play an invaluable role in scaling EV adoption in the UK.
#LEVS: Can you explain the advantages of Park and Charge for EV owners, including the convenience of making one payment for both parking and charging services?
Mr Joe Rowley: Park and Charge provides a major convenience benefit for EV drivers by enabling one simple payment for both parking and charging services.
Rather than needing to pay separately for parking and then handle payment at the charger, Park and Charge allows drivers to pay for both upfront in one seamless transaction. This can be done through an app, online, or payment machines when entering the car park.
The unified payment experience is faster, simpler and more frictionless for drivers. They don't need to hassle with different payment methods, cards, apps or cash at multiple points. It also eliminates issues if drivers inadvertently pay for parking but not charging, or vice versa.
#LEVS: What role do centralised data dashboards play for car park operators, and how does having all the data in one place benefit both operators and EV users?
Mr Joe Rowley: Centralised data dashboards play a crucial role for car park operators by bringing together parking utilisation and revenue data with charging utilisation and revenue data, into one visual interface. Having this data in one place allows operators to overlay one with the other and identify usage trends, pinpointing the best times to carry out predictive maintenance. It also makes it easier to understand if the assets are being maximised and when the time is right for potential expansion.
For operators, consolidated dashboards give real-time visibility into charging station usage and performance across all their locations and networks. This allows them to optimise operations by identifying underutilised chargers, planning maintenance, balancing energy loads, and responding to issues rapidly. The data can also inform future expansion plans by revealing charging demand patterns.
EV users also reap advantages from operators having centralised dashboards. With a holistic view of infrastructure usage, operators can more dynamically adjust pricing based on demand, reducing costs for drivers. Users may also benefit from predictive maintenance that minimises downtime and charging disruption.
Overall, centralised EV charging dashboards empower car park operators to create a more efficient, optimised charging experience, and data-driven operations enabled by consolidated data ultimately provide a better, more reliable service for drivers as EV adoption accelerates.
#LEVS: In your experience, how have businesses or organisations benefited from offering Park and Charge facilities, and what types of locations are most suitable for destination charging setups?
Mr Joe Rowley: At Flowbird we have worked with several businesses and local authorities in the UK to offer Park and Charge facilities. Where Park and Charge has been deployed the benefit has been seen by both drivers and operators. We have deployed this primarily in locations that offer retail, leisure or hospitality facilities, where drivers are parked for medium to long durations.
Retail locations like supermarkets, shopping centres, and big box stores are ideal for destination charging. Drivers are often parked on-site for an hour or longer, providing enough time to top up their EVs using fast AC charging.
Employers installing destination chargers in car parks find it attracts employees to drive their EVs to work. It's also an affordable employee benefit and supports green business initiatives. We have found this from our work with Waitrose, where we provide employee charging facilities at their head office sites. Leisure destinations like hotels, resorts, stadiums, and entertainment complexes get additional patronage and positive brand perception from EV charging availability. Our project at Hampton by Hilton at Hamilton racecourse is an example of this.
Charging also works well at transportation hubs like airports, train stations, and park & ride sites where travellers need to refuel while parked for extended periods.
Overall, destination charging offers an edge that aligns well with businesses and local authorities providing hospitality services, long-term parking, and employment facilities. The benefits range from customer convenience to sustainability to employee morale and retention.
#LEVS: How do you believe events like the London EV show can play a significant role in fostering the adoption of electric vehicles and promoting the importance of destination charging?
Mr Joe Rowley: Events like the London EV Show play a pivotal role in promoting the concept of destination charging, which is an essential part of the EV ecosystem in the UK. Here are the ways that I believe it does this:
Educating the Public: The London EV Show offers a platform where attendees can learn about destination charging. This includes understanding what destination charging is, where these charging points are typically located (such as shopping centres, hotels, and workplaces), and how they can be used effectively. By explaining how destination charging fits into the world of EV charging, this helps alleviate range anxiety and encourages more drivers to consider EVs.
Showcasing Technology: The event provides an opportunity for charging providers to showcase the latest destination charging technology. This includes demonstrations of how easy and convenient it is to use destination chargers, the speed of charging, and the integration with mobile apps for locating and paying for charging. Seeing this technology in action can build confidence in its usability and reliability.
Connecting Stakeholders: By bringing together automakers, charging providers, policymakers, and consumers, the London EV Show fosters collaboration. Discussions and networking at the event can lead to partnerships and strategies to expand destination charging networks across the UK. This collaboration is vital for creating a cohesive and user-friendly destination charging infrastructure.
Highlighting Economic and Environmental Benefits: The show also emphasises the economic and environmental advantages of destination charging. By charging at destinations like shopping centres or workplaces, drivers can make the most of their time while their vehicle charges. Additionally, destination charging often uses renewable energy sources, contributing to the overall sustainability of EVs.
Promoting Incentives and Policies: The London EV Show provides information about government incentives, policies, and regulations that support destination charging. This includes potential grants for businesses to install destination chargers and local government initiatives to increase the availability of destination charging in public areas.
Real-World Testimonials and Case Studies: The event may also feature testimonials from businesses that have successfully implemented destination charging and case studies showing the positive impact on both businesses and EV users. These real-world examples can inspire more businesses to consider adding destination charging facilities.
Overall, the London EV Show serves as a catalyst for promoting destination charging by educating the public, showcasing technology, connecting stakeholders, highlighting benefits, and providing real-world examples. It helps to position destination charging as a practical and appealing solution for current and potential EV owners, thereby fostering the broader adoption of electric vehicles in the UK.