Government reveals new “iconic” EV charger design at COP26

The UK government has revealed a new "iconic" electric car charger to be rolled out across the road network from 2022 as part of a drive to facilitate EV adoption.

Unveiled by transport secretary Grant Shapps at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the new charger has been designed by the Royal College of Art (RCA) in partnership with PA Consulting and is aimed at making EV chargers as easily recognisable as red postboxes and London buses. 

Details of its charging capacity and dimensions have not yet been revealed, nor has the government outlined its plans for a nationwide roll-out, but the Office for Zero-Emission Vehicles (OZEV) – which commissioned the design – claims the priority for the project is "putting ease of use and accessibility at the heart of EV charging". 

The final design appears to be an interpretation of the street-side devices currently used in built-up areas by firms such as Polar, Source and Ubitricity, which suggests a maximum charging capacity in the region of 7.4kW-22kW.

It remains unclear if the UK government plans to standardise this design for use by all EV charger manufacturers or how else it could form part of the government's wider plans to electrify the transport industry. 

PA Consulting outlined its design process: "Focusing on human-centric design principles, we spoke with electric car users, traditional motorists, disability and consumer groups, and industry stakeholders to draw out the real needs of people and businesses.

"This work complemented the government’s consumer experience consultation and ensured the design was aligned with accessibility standards, infrastructure strategy and local authority guidance."

Specific EV user concerns that were taken into account have not been detailed, but Autocar's own vision of an "iconic" charger was designed to address some of the devices' commonly accepted pitfalls, namely their vulnerability to adverse weather, unclear labelling and general cleanliness. 

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