Tim Nicklin founder of EV Network
An electric car charging network has been set up in the UK by Tim Nicklin and is called the EV Network, a UK non-profit organisation that is building up a network of electric car charging points throughout the United Kingdom, with individual electric car owners sharing their own personal charging points with others. Michael Boxwell talks to Tim about his work.
Tell me about the EV Network
The EV Network is a UK-wide database showing where electric vehicle charge points can be found - public charge points, those provided by companies for their visitors, and those shared by members on an exchange basis.
Why did you decide to start up the network?
I'd taken delivery of my own electric vehicle in early 2007 and, as I started to travel further from home, was looking for places where I could recharge. However I found was there wasn't a single website with all the information available and so decided to share what I was gathering with others.
How does the network make money?
In short it doesn't. At the moment it's funded from my own pocket.
As the network grows we will need more administrative support, so in time it might become grant-funded or a subscription service in order to cover the operating costs.
How important is it for electric car owners to have a charging network?
If electric cars are ever to replace significant numbers of conventional vehicles then a network will be necessary to break the ties of only being able to operate in a limited area around home or work. Personally I think that most EV users mostly will charge at their homes, but for longer trips a network will be necessary.
The existence of a network will also help users gain confidence in using their vehicles. Even if you don't actually to need to use the facilities, it's always reassuring to know that they are there.
How many charging points are there across the UK now? How many of these have come about as a direct result of the EV Network?
Currently there are around 400 charging points in public locations plus others offered by EV Network members. It's very hard to tie down how many are in place because of the EV Network, as others also lobby for provision.
What are your plans and aspirations for the EV Network in the future?
I should like to see the EV Network recognised as the national database for EV charging locations and to make a significant contribution towards increasing the numbers of EVs in the UK.
However my ultimate measure of success is when it's no longer required - that is when you can drive anywhere in the UK and be confident of being able to find facilities to charge your vehicle.
What about the rest of the world?
Around 30% of visitors to the EV Network website come from outside the UK, from a total of almost eighty countries. Non-UK visitors mostly come from the USA, elsewhere in Europe, the Far East and Australasia.
What advice would you give to anyone considering setting up a similar project in other countries?
I've had discussions with various parties overseas interested in doing the same in their own countries: either seeking advice to do their own thing, or contracting with the EV Network to replicate the site for another geographic area.
It's great to have the support of relevant enthusiast groups: many of our members come from the Reva/G-Wiz Owners Club and the Battery Vehicle Society.
Where can people find out more and how do they sign up?
You can find more about the EV Network at our web site - www.ev-network.org.uk.
Anyone can look at information about public charging facilities, but if you want to collaborate with other EV users to share additional charging facilities at their homes or businesses then you'll need to sign up by clicking on the 'Register for Membership' button on the main page of the site. On the other hand if you are responsible for public charging facilities these can be contributed via the same process.
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The 2011 Electric Car Guide
The book is available from Amazon and all main bookshops
For a taster, why not read the first chapter of the book.