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Dundee to get more EV chargers that ‘pop up’ out of ground

EV consultant Gary McRae with one of the 'pop up' EV chargers outside the V&A in Dundee.
EV consultant Gary McRae with one of the 'pop up' EV chargers outside the V&A in Dundee.

Electric car drivers in Dundee are in line to benefit from scores of cutting-edge “pop up” chargers after the city played a key role in developing the devices.

Thousands more drivers, who are thinking about going electric, could benefit from the technology, which will eventually offer more affordable home charging to all motorists with no garage or driveway.

UK firm Urban Electric has been working with Dundee City Council and others since 2020 to develop and test a new generation of the charging devices.

The company hope to install around 100 of the machines in the city from late summer  onwards, after finalising the production version of the design.

Why Dundee?

Gary McRae is the Dundee-based head of electric mobility at consultants Urban Foresight.

He said the Dundee EV pop up chargers project was initially called “clean streets”.

“Around 50% of the properties in Dundee do not have a driveway. Electric vehicles are the future. We all know that.

“People still need to charge near their home, on the streets. But we don’t want to litter the streets with street furniture.

“So it was really about designing a solution that allows people to move to electric, but keeps the city looking as nice as we can.”

A Dundee pop up EV charger, which is activated through an app.
The Dundee pop up EV chargers are activated through an app.

Gary previously managed Dundee City Council’s corporate fleet as it became the UK’s largest local authority fleet of electric vehicles.

“Petrol stations are now converting to rapid charging hubs. So that side of the market is accelerating. But the solution for people who don’t have parking is now a real focus.

“This is a real game changer. It’s something cities can do at mass scale.”

How has Dundee helped develop new ‘pop up’ EV chargers?

The city has hosted around 26 of the prototypes – in locations such as outside the V&A – from October 2020.

The 7kW chargers rise from a base sunk in the ground when needed, delivering a full charge in around 8 hours, according to the company’s website.

Urban Electric designers have used the data and user experiences gathered from the prototypes to hone the final design and deployment.

The company has tested prototypes in Dundee as well as Plymouth.

Dundee is considered one of the leading cities in Europe in the development of electric vehicle infrastructure.

That is why the Cotswolds-based former racing driver and Urban Electric entrepreneur Oli Freeling-Wilkinson chose the city to test his firm’s product.

“Dundee is a very forward-thinking city, probably one of the leaders in the world.

“The local authority was keen to test this out as they understand the problems of street clutter acutely.

“It’s a very urban area. They didn’t want posts everywhere. So they wanted to test out this new technology.”

Dundee pop up EV charger
Designers focused on turning infrastructure into art.

Oli acknowledges the testing process hasn’t always been glitch free.

“In Dundee we have taken the concept further.

“You can imagine that, through all the different weather conditions and usage patterns, we have learned an awful lot.

“All the learnings together have contributed to our production version, which is coming out late summer.”

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