Bedford Road, Southampton, electric car charging station, public charging station

Cleaning Transport with Southampton City Council

 

Addressing Local Air Quality

Southampton City Council have just completed the installation of 30 electric vehicle chargepoints in the city centre multi-storey car parks.  The scheme is part of a wider city council programme on clean transport aimed at improving air quality in the region by reducing particulates and NOx emissions, which includes encouraging public transportation and  reducing idling engines.  Councillor Christopher Hammond outlines the case : “We’ve been one of 5 places in the UK identified as having an air quality issue, so addressing this is a priority for our local sustainable transport agenda. We’re working extremely hard to improve local air quality in Southampton and encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles is a very important part of our strategy.”

The idea behind the EV charging station programme is to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in the region by making public charging infrastructure more visible.  When the public can see that there is a wide network of public EV charging stations, it reduces range anxiety and encourages the purchase of EVs.  As EVs become more widely adopted this will have positive knock on consequences for air quality, as well as lower CO2 emissions from a climate change perspective.  “We’re also encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles by offering a 90% reduction in parking charges, and we’re consulting on making the Itchen Bridge toll-free for electric cars.”

EV chargepoints for public car parks

Southampton City Council settled on 5 central multi-storey car parks for the first phase of their EV charge station programme, with 6 chargepoints installed at each location.  The sites have high usage, and comparatively long stay times, which means the chargepoints will have good utilisation.  Additionally, electricity already existed on site, and new grid supplies did not need to be installed.  This allowed a quick turnaround on the project, and Joju completed the project around  in 6 weeks from contract award to commissioning and handover.

The council chose New Motion smart chargers for the project for three main reasons.  First, they offer dynamic load balancing, which allows available power to be smartly allocated between cars without overloading the electrics.  Joju Operations Director, Joe Gabriel, explains: “We’ve installed a 22kW 3-phase connection at each site to power the 6 chargers.  If one car is charging, this will receive the full 22kW, equivalent to a 3-phase fast charger.  If three cars are charging, each will receive 7.2 kW, equivalent to a normal fast home charger.  And if all 6 bays are in use simultaneously this drops to 3.6kW.  It means we can be certain we won’t overload the wires if there’s a high charging demand.”   The units also allow users to access via a smart card, and although the scheme will be free initially, in future it will allow the council to make a small charge to the users.  Third, the council also liked the “simple, sleek, smart and subtle” look of the New Motion units, which were considered less gaudy than other alternatives.

Smooth Project Management

Although the works were broadly straightforward, the scheme wasn’t without operational challenges.  The Marlands site had an old electrical fuseboard which required shutting down by the grid operator so we could safely make the connection.  A 2-hour slot was scheduled to make the connection, during which time all lifts in the multi-storey were out of action.  The Joju team managed the flow of people and cars during this time to ensure that customer visits were as hassle free as possible while the works were carried out.

Rob Gloyns, Clean Air Zone Project Officer commented:  “We were grateful for Joju’s smooth project management as it allowed the council to take a more hands-off approach to the delivery phase.  They have been extremely straightforward to deal with, and we’ve known exactly who at Joju has been dealing with what.”

Just the Beginning

Councillor Hammond sums up the first phase of the scheme “We’ve been very pleased with the partnership we’ve built with Joju to install these units – it’s been a seamless piece of project delivery, completed to a very high standard.”  The programme can now focus on expanding the scheme to other areas of the city, including ground car parks and on-street parking.  Joju have also recently won a tender for the installation of EV chargepoints across Hampshire, so the Southampton scheme will be integrated with a wider EV charging station roll-out across the county.

Further Reading

Zappi, myenegie, solar charger, ev charger

A Happy Zappi Customer

Roger has just bought a Zappi electric car charger to power his brand new Volkswagen e-golf. Roger has had the good fortune to be inspired by the latest electric vehicle technology up close. A Director of Photography by trade, Roger got the electric vehicle bug when filming the Formula E cars in action on the Greenland ice-sheet! Further work followed filming the Jaguar i-pace, and that inspired Roger himself to make his next car a fully electric one.

The Zappi EV charger

The Zappi is usually used to charge electric cars directly off the excess electricity produced by solar panels.  However, Roger chose a Zappi charger for his home, even though he doesn’t own solar panels yet. “We’re debating whether to move to New Zealand, but we got the Zappi in case we stayed; if we do solar is next on the list for us”. However, Roger saw the benefits of the Zappi unit, not just for allowing him to integrate with solar in future, but also in terms of the programmability of the existing device. “I can set it to start charging at 12:30 at night for a full 8 hours at the night rate of 7p per unit. It’s a great product, and seems to have more control than other units.

Flexible Electricians

The installation was completed in just a few hours. Our electrician found a convenient wiring route from the consumer unit to a discrete charging unit mounted in the porch. “I thought we’d have to go out and though the garage, but the electrician thought on his feet and found a neat route under the floor and up into the consumer unit.

Another EV convert

Overall, Roger’s very pleased with his step into the world of electric transportation. “I was delighted with the Zappi installation. Great communication, a seamless install, and a great product”. And of course, Roger filmed the whole installation, making this great little video.

Further Reading

• We’ve blogged about the Zappi charger here
• Find out more about electric car charging points for your home
• Are you thinking about the complete set of solar PV, battery storage and EV charging?

Car charging, garage

Tony’s Smart Electric Car Charger

Tony and Nicky Michaels have just installed a smart New Motion electric car charging point for their home in North London.  Like many people taking the plunge and switching to an electric vehicle they have needed to install a chargepoint at home, and they chose Joju to carry out the works.

Choosing to get an electric car

Tony and Nicky have been trying to do their bit for the environment, including a full eco-design for their home“We’re aware of global warming and try to do as much as possible when we can.  We’d been thinking of getting an electric car for years.  We do lots of town driving, so it really seemed to make sense.  The electric car has been brilliant – we wish we’d done it much earlier.”

New Motion chargepoint

The property is a little unusual for the UK in that it has a 3-phase electrical supply.  “The main reason for choosing the New Motion charger was that it had a three phase supply so we could charge up at 22kW”.  The chargepoint is also smart enabled as standard allowing you to see your charging data, and the cost of running the car on a portal.  Drivers of petrol and diesel cars are very aware of how much it costs to run, as they hand over money in the petrol station.  That’s not always as visible for EV owners as they just plug in, and money doesn’t change hands until you get your next electricity bill.  The New Motion portal allows you to see what your running costs really are.

EV chargepoint installation

Tony and Nicky’s unique property posed some engineering challenges for the team.  Their incoming supply is in the basement, and we needed to run cables up to the ground floor garage.  The floor in between was concrete, so this was a pretty major task for the electricians.  Nonethless, despite these technical challenges, the team still completed the install in just under a day.

Fast Charging with New Motion

“The New Motion charger works excellently – we’ve had no problems at all – and we can fully charge in under 2 hours.  And we were very happy with the install too – as well as getting all the chargepoint grant paperwork in order.  We needed to go out at 5:30 that evening, and everything got completed on time.”

Further Reading

Tesla, powerwall, ev charging, electric vehicle

Chris’s Complete Set

Chris Savage has jumped straight into the smart electric future; he purchased the complete set of technologies offered by Joju Solar in one go.  His home now features a solar PV roof, Tesla Powerwall 2 battery storage, an electric vehicle charging point, and an Immersun device to divert any excess solar electricity into hot water heating.

Driven by his electric car

Chris’s reasons for getting solar and battery storage shows how complementary these technologies are.  Whilst we have seen people with PV roofs going on to get and electric car, for Chris it was the other way round.  “I’m fundamentally green, but it was getting an electric car that pushed me into finally doing this.  I’d been thinking about solar for some years, but it was the idea that it could help charge my car that was most appealing.”  Seeing an episode of Fully Charged about the Tesla Powerwall also prompted Chris to incorporate storage into his home energy upgrade.

The design challenge

Integrating so many components can be complex, so ensuring all aspects work well together is critical.  The system is designed so that the solar produces electricity in the day, which is used or stored in the battery.  The battery discharges in the evening and night-time into lights and appliances in the house, and trickle charges the car.  Chris has a plug-in hybrid Mercedes, which has a comparatively small battery capacity of 6.5kWh, so it’s not a drain on the battery.  Chris has got involved too: “I fiddled with the charging profile on the electric car, so it doesn’t exceed the output capacity of Powerwall”.  On the best days in summer, Chris’s PV system will generate more electricity than even the Powerwall 2 can take, so here any excess electricity is diverted into the hot water tank, using the Immersun, rather than being fed back to the grid.

Turning carbon into a game

It does give you a fuzzy glow to know you are producing your own electricity. It’s very interesting and I’ve been rather obsessive about it! We’ve managed self-powered up in the high 90%’s.  It’s almost a game trying to minimise grid electricity – a bit like driving the car, when we sort of consider it a failure to use fossil fuels

Further Reading

 

Sunpower, Tesla, Powerwall2, installation

Robert Llewellyn’s Home of the Future

Comic actor and TV presenter Robert Llewellyn is a passionate proponent of new energy technologies.  He runs a Youtube channel, called Fully Charged, looking not just at electric vehicles, but also the way in which that electricity is generated from renewable sources.  If you’re not following it, we thoroughly recommend you do – it really is the best source of news about new energy technologies out there, and puts mainstream media to shame!

Why did you chose solar and storage

Robert Llewellyn has had solar PV on the roof of his house in the Cotswold for some years, but has increasingly felt he could do more.  “I’ve had solar since 2011 and as soon as you have it, you want a battery. In theory it makes so much sense and for once in life the practice proves the point

The design challenge

Robert is of course, also passionate about his electric vehicles, which also need charging at home.  Our brief, therefore was to boost his solar generation, utilise a greater percentage of the solar electricity on site and use any excess to charge his cars.

The Home of the Future

We upgraded Roberts existing solar PV system of 2.5kW conventional modules to 16 high efficiency Sunpower 327 modules, totalling 5.23kW.  These high efficiency modules (over 21%) have doubled the generation from his roof space.

In order to use more electricity onsite, we installed one of the first Powerwall2 battery systems in the country.  This Tesla solar battery unit is much larger than conventional battery units holding an impressive 13.4kWh of energy.  This greater battery capacity matches to the larger PV system – anything smaller would fill up too quickly.

The system works by using excess solar electricity to charge the Powerwall2 during the day.  It discharges in the evening to loads in the house, but by midnight, we do not expect the battery to be empty.  It is at this point that the Powerwall2 discharges into Robert’s car batteries.  The car batteries then fill any remainder with cheaper night-time tariff electricity.

This approach is perfect as the battery is completely empty the next morning ready to capture the maximum possible solar energy through the day.

It is slightly unconventional to do charge a battery (Powerwall2) and then discharge it into another battery (vehicles), and thermodynamically this might not seem sensible.  It is, however, the best thing to do economically.  Robert uses his free solar electricity first, then cheap night-time electricity, with any remaining (on poor days in winter) coming at standard day rates.

Early results seem very promising: “I’ve had the system running for 2 days and my mains electricity usage has reduced by 95%.  Okay, it’s summer, it’s sunny, and over the year I’m sure it won’t manage that, but it’s obvious it will reduce our overall demand on the grid by a substantial amount and utilise far more of the power the panels produce.”

We think this is a perfect exemplar of integrating solar generation, storage technologies and electric vehicle charging.  It is complex, from an engineering standpoint, as we have to balance PV capacity, battery storage capacity, loads in the house and electric vehicle loads, but we look to have found an optimal solution.  The home of the future is increasingly going to incorporate all these technologies operating in combination.

One happy customer

“Joju Solar have been patient and supportive throughout the install of my new solar array and Powerwall 2 battery system. They needed to be patient due to my constant faltering, budget anxiety and ridiculous schedule.  They fitted the battery in a day, wired it up, stayed longer than expected to make sure it was all working, left the place spotlessly tidy and did a very fine job.” – Robert Llewellyn

 

Further reading

  • We’ve developed a free guide to Tesla’s Powerwall2, so you can understand if it is the right option for you.
  • You can see the installation process for Robert’s Powerwall2 in this technical blog
  • The high efficiency Sunpower solar modules are essential to make this system work. Here’s our guide to the most efficient modules on the market

EV Charging Time for Mr Wolff

EV Charging Time for Mr Wolff

What time is it Mr Wolff? Electric Vehicle Charging time of course! Joju residential customer Dick Wolff explains his reasons for having Electric Vehicle (EV) charging installed when he hasn’t even got an electric vehicle yet.

Oxford councillor and Green Group’s Shadow member for Transport, culture and communities Dick Wolff became one of our newest Joju solar PV customers this month. He also became one of our newest EV charging point customers too. A 7.98kWp SolarWorld system on SolarEdge optimisers and metering was fitted at Dick’s Oxford home alongside a 7.2kW eOLEV home charger supplied by EO charging.

The EO home charger describes itself as “the most easy-to-use, reliable and affordable charger on the market.” There is no software required so you can just plug in and instantly get a charge. EO is, therefore, great for customers who want a quick and easy solution. All you need to do is decide the power you want.

Power Miles of charge p/h Charge time Perfect for
3.7kW 15 7hrs Overnight parking

 

7kW 30 3.5hrs At work parking

 

11kW 50 2hrs Parking whilst you shop

 

22kW 100 1hr Quick stop parking

We spoke to Dick about why he had chosen to have solar PV and EV charging installed at his home. Here’s what he said.

What were your reasons for installing Solar PV?

“It’s two-fold really. The first reason is about energy security for our future. We have bought this house for our retirement. It’s a new build and we wanted to take a long term look to our future. We wanted to be less dependent on the grid as energy prices are certain to rise and rising energy costs will be a challenge when we have less income in retirement.

The second reason is to lower our impact on the environment. I have been a member of the Green Party and I am a councillor in Oxford and reducing our carbon footprint and helping to do our bit to fight climate change is important. Together these two reasons make a strong case for why solar PV was a logical choice for us.”

Why did you install EV charging as well?

“We wanted the house to do as much as it could. We haven’t even got an electric vehicle yet but this gives us the opportunity for the future. I know that our next vehicle will be electric so it was the smart thing to do. We have smart metering throughout the house and we replaced the entire gas heating system with an underfloor ground heat pump. Like I said this house is about our future retirement so it made sense to make it a house for the future too.”

Why did you choose Joju?

“Joju had come to us highly recommended. But I was also very aware of them from my work as a councillor in Oxford. I had seen the work they had done in areas of Oxford like Rose Hill and knew they offered high quality products and great service. We weren’t disappointed. Joju have been brilliant. The whole process worked really well. The only delay in the whole process came from the Government and waiting for approval. Joju did everything in their power to ensure a smooth process.”

If you are interested in EV Charging

If you would like EV charging installed then Joju can definitely help. We are authorised to install electric vehicle charging points under the Government’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), which means that for approved systems, customers like yourselves can now receive grants. For more information on EV charging, approved systems, and how to obtain a grant, please do not hesitate to get in touch.