Duku completes world's first pop-up EV charger project
Collaborating with Urban Electric and a number of other stakeholders, product design company Duku, has successfully installed 62 pop-up EV chargers across 28 locations since 2018.
Duku was tasked by Urban Electric to design and build an EV charger for residential streets. Funded by Innovate UK, the charger, in addition to minimising the impact on the immediate urban environment, had to offer fast 7.2kw charging capabilities, as well as a large number of safety features that would then be tested in a live trial with Oxford City Council.
After a period of extensive research and development, alongside a series of product testing, the world’s first pop-up charger was created. Known as the UE ONE, it blends seamlessly into its surroundings by minimising street clutter, while not damaging the historical architecture and utilities that lie under the pavement of a historic city.
During the charger’s Oxford feasibility study, six units were installed underground where the extension and retraction of the charger could be analysed in a ‘real-world’ setting. Feedback from residents helped to refine the product before additional funding from Innovate UK was secured which lead to the development of the MK2.
Development of the MK2
The MK2 introduced several stakeholders including Urban Foresight, Plymouth City Council, and Dundee City Council after more funding was awarded as part of the Innovate UK scheme. A meticulous ground-up re-design of the charger then took place, incorporating app integration, a fail-safe system, as well as extending the height of the charger to 900mm when initiated via app operation.
Assembling & Installing the MK2
The MK 2 dual-socket unit was installed in E-Park Bristol using a controlled trial. Valuable data was then collected, leading to further development and in-house assembly of the units ahead of public installation in 2021.
MK2 Installation & Development of the MK3
Eight dual-socket units were installed for public use at Waterfront in Dundee, in addition to five other locations across the city. The nine-month trial led to constant upgrades, including switching from hydraulic actuators, to dual electric actuators, alongside moving the electrical enclosure from the top extrusion to the ground box.
Throughout 2021 another iteration was developed. Known as the MK3, the charger was designed to ensure a reliable, cost-effective manufacturing solution could be provided with a series of major internal improvements.
A total of twenty-eight MK3 three units were installed in Plymouth in 2022, across nine separate locations. With a large number of chargers in use in a real-world setting, these were then used as a valuable data capture exercise.
Following this trial, Urban Electric are now in the position where they are able to mass-produce the pop-up charger. With demand for electric cars continuing to skyrocket, expect to see one on a street corner near you very soon!
With thanks to our project partners