'Gas Guzzler' Scuppered Chiswick Eco Car Experiment

Local resident on pilot scheme had access to electric car-charger blocked


Chiswick May Soon Have Public Electric Car Charge Bays

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A pilot scheme in Chiswick to charge up electric cars from a device in a street lamp-the first of its kind in the UK - was unwittingly scuppered by a 4x4 car parked for a week in the bay beside the charging point.

Katie Lancaster

Local resident Katie Lancaster, whose hybrid electric Audi car (A 3 E-tron) was chosen as the first in the country for the pilot scheme, was only able to use the charging point for two days before a large Volvo XC90 car pulled into the bay and remained parked for a week. The charging device was installed into the street lamp column and there is no signage to indicate that people should not park there because of the pilot scheme.

The irony of the situation, that a 'gas guzzler' car is preventing her eco-friendly car from charging, was not lost on Katie though she stressed that the owner could not have known there was a pilot scheme in place. It appears the large car was removed by yesterday. (Sept 3)

The Volvo car parked on Friday at the bay showing the charging point in the lamp post

She said that for the first two days of the pilot scheme, even though cars had parked in the bay- which is in the 'cc' CPZ zone, they were only there for short periods of time and she had been able to use it when the bay was free. Most residents in Dukes Avenue have off-street parking.

Katie's car being charged up at an earlier date

"The scheme itself is a great idea and I'm fully behind it. It's just a shame that it's been sabotaged so early on by the parking problem."

She reported the problem to Hounslow Council and is wondering whether signage indicating that the bay is needed for the pilot scheme might help.

The idea behind the scheme is that residents will- if the trial is expanded across the borough- be able to charge up their electric and hybrid vehicles without having to travel to a public charging point, even if they have no off-street parking at home.

Public charging points cost upwards of £6,000 to install and so are few and far between. For many drivers, the limited number of places to charge up has not  represented a viable alternative to owning petrol and diesel-fuelled cars.

Katie and her husband approached Hounslow Council some time ago when they were considering buying a hybrid car, to ask about future plans for installing charging points in Chiswick. They were informed two weeks ago that they had been chosen for the pilot scheme, a first in the UK, and that the device had been installed in Dukes Avenue, around the corner from their home in Wavendon Avenue.

Hounslow Council’s electric fleet of green cars and vans have been using the new technology, from German eco-trailblazers Ubitricity, for several months as part of a trial that is being mirrored in Berlin and Amsterdam but until now no  residential trial of this technology has been seen.

The plan is for the  € 400 devices to be be fitted across the borough to encourage more people to opt for electric vehicles.

October 2, 2015

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