Dear Readers, my friend A alerted me to some major roadworks going on in Bedford Road in East Finchley (one of the ‘County’ Roads), and so I toddled down this afternoon to see what was going on. A whole swathe of the pavement is being dug up for what look like cables (though it being Sunday the workmen were on a well-earned day off – they are apparently extremely hard-working and diligent). A grant of £3.4 million has been given to Barnet Council to enable them to roll out more charging points – at the moment on most streets, there is only one, like the one in the photo above.
The system chosen for this rollout is different to the lamp post charging system – it’s being pioneered by Trojan energy. The charging points appear to be in the equivalent of a manhole cover, and drivers will carry what’s called a ‘Trojan lance’ (no comments about this being an Achilles heel please). The lance fits into the charging point, and then the car is plugged in. I do worry a bit about what happens if some idiot in a heavy goods vehicle mounts the pavement above the charging points, as happened literally five minutes ago while I was writing this piece and noticed a huge delivery van parked diagonally across the entire pavement, but hopefully the manufacturers have thought about this.
The aim is to keep the pavements as clutter-free and accessible to other pavement users as possible, which is laudable considering how difficult it is for anyone in a wheelchair, or with a pram, to negotiate around the various obstacles that currently block the pavement (not including the aforementioned delivery vans). And of course, there are a limited number of lamp posts to plug into, so I see this as a positive step forward, and hope that it’s a success. It’s also very useful in the County Roads because no one here has a front garden large enough to park in – it’s all on street parking, so these charging points will make life easier, and will hopefully encourage more people to switch to electric.
I do see electric cars as a transitional step in the fight against climate change, though, especially in cities. The eventual answer surely has to be safe, clean, accessible and reliable public transport for the majority of journeys – every one getting about in their own car is not a long-term option in terms of resources, whether it’s an electric car or some other kind of individual vehicle. But roll on the electric revolution in the short/medium term, and it’s most pleasing to see some progress being made.
That’s all very well if you can get parked next to a charging point, unless there is some indication (ideally supported by some local law) that the adjacent ‘space’ is for electric vehicles (which are charging) only. And, I hope there is some way to stop young tearaways running off with the lance(?)
Until electric vehicles have a range of well over 300 miles and are fast charging, this follower will be sticking with his hybrid vehicle I’m afraid.
I think you carry the ‘lance’ around with you, Mike – and herein lies another problem, with multiple different ways of charging your vehicle. The spaces won’t be designated, I think, so anyone can park there. And yes, it will probably take a full day to charge from an empty ‘tank’. The infrastructure is certainly lagging behind, and if there had been a bit more forethought it didn’t need to be this way. Hey ho.