Climate Action

Chris Pateman-Jones on scaling of EV infrastructure to decarbonise the transportation sector

Climate Action caught up with Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, to discuss the scaling of EV infrastructure to decarbonise the transportation sector and ensure the widespread implementation of EVs.

  • 28 September 2021
  • Rachel Cooper

Ahead of the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2021, Climate Action caught up with Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, to discuss the scaling of EV infrastructure to decarbonise the transportation sector and ensure the widespread implementation of EVs. 

Can you tell us a bit about what Connected Kerb does, and how it is working to decarbonise the transportation sector?

Connected Kerb is aiming to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility for all, with reliable, affordable and accessible electric vehicle charging solutions. We believe that net zero will only be achieved if every community has access to EV charging points regardless of social status,  geography or physical ability. This means providing on-street residential charging facilities where residents do not have access to off-street parking which are often in areas most susceptible to high levels of poor air quality. Our charging points are designed to support future smart technologies such as air quality sensors which further help decarbonise the transportation sector.

How are connected Kerb’s approaches different from what is available in the market?

What differentiates us from traditional charge point vendors is that our technology is a two-part solution. Firstly, our smart cities system is comprised of passive infrastructure that is sunk beneath the pavement and housed in a protective steel box. The second part is the visible, above-ground charge point socket which can be installed at a later date when demand rises, meaning that unused charging points will not clutter the streets and minimises the need to repeat construction activities like digging up roads. The resilient nature of our kit also means it will last much longer. And finally, we make our products out of recycled materials as much as possible so they have little negative effect on the environment.

What do you think are the two biggest challenges that need to be overcome in order to implement widespread EVs?

We believe that infrastructure is the single biggest issue facing EV uptake, especially in terms of scale of deployment, location and charger types. If we are to avoid two-tier adoption, charging points need to be installed in their thousands not dozens in both rural and urban areas and also where people have no access to off-street parking. Secondly, educating people about the benefits of electric vehicles is critical to improving uptake. So many misconceptions exist about the range and cost of EVs that it is incumbent upon all of us in the industry to highlight the truths and debunk the myths.

How crucial is public education to the implementation of EV infrastructure? What have governments/local authorities been doing well to achieve this, and what has been missed?

EV education is essential. Central government has committed to making electric vehicles part of their Race to Zero strategy but they need to provide tangible support and guidance to local authorities on how to achieve this. A great start would be set an example by electrifying their own fleets of vehicles in the public sector, such as the NHS and at the same time, enabling public sector workers to easily transition to EV with accessible workplace charging. There are a number of myths surrounding the cost, range and green credentials of EVs so it is important that these are addressed.

How important is data in decarbonising transport? How do you ensure the data you use is reliable?

Data is critical in making rational, evidence-based decisions that allow resources to be allocated where they are most needed. For example, the location of our charging points is driven by data on factors such as current and future demand, commuting distance and air quality. Data also allows us to highlight where there might be inequalities in the use of electric vehicles. For example, we know that 30% of the UK’s EV infrastructure is based in London, highlighting the need for rural area charging blackspots to be addressed.

Chris Pateman-Jones is speaking at the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2021 to discuss beyond the EV tipping point, register now to join him.