Apple Maps update for Europe includes electric car charger spots

Apple is expanding the capabilities of its Maps app in Europe to help users charge their electric vehicles or find bike rental hubs.

The company has added the locations of the UK’s electric vehicle charging stations by incorporating data from Munich-based Cirrantic’s Moovility service, which lists re-juicing points for cars made by Tesla and Nissan, among others.

It has also added public bicycle rental and drop-off points to maps of London, New York and Paris in a catch-up to long-time mobile navigation leader Google, which has listed such stations in multiple countries for some time.Apple laid out its updates to Maps in a briefing in London on Wednesday.

Improving its mapping products has become a key focal point for Apple in its battle with Alphabet’s Google. Apple introduced electric vehicle charging points in Maps in the US in December.

Improving its mapping products has become a key focal point for Apple in its battle with Alphabet’s Google. Apple introduced electric vehicle charging points in Maps in the US in December. Apple

In May last year, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said his company would open a new Indian development centre in Hyderabad, with a specific focus on speeding up the development of more competitive mapping tools. It plans to employ as many as 4000 people in that facility.

In December, Bloomberg reported that Cupertino, California-based Apple is assembling a team to use drones to create and update map information faster than it can currently do with camera-equipped road vehicles.

‘An enormous undertaking’ 

“There are thousands of layers of useful information that could be added to digital maps as an overlay,” said Martin Garner, an analyst at CCS Insight, “and there’s a benefit in becoming known for adding as many as possible. But adding overlays like this is an enormous undertaking and needs an industrial approach in order to source, manage and maintain the information for a large number of layers across many countries.”

Apple first integrated transit information for the UK into Apple Maps in December, which includes route information for trains and buses across the nation, as well as London Underground services in the capital.

According to data compiled by Zap-Map, there are just under 4400 locations in Britain for recharging an electric vehicle. More than 3000 of these will now be marked in Apple Maps. To identify these, Apple is using live data provided by Munich-based Cirrantic, a mobility services company founded in 2014, and pinpointing EV charge points on a map.

Google lists charging points globally but doesn’t explicitly label them with easily identifiable icons.

“We think that consistent, live information of the growing charger infrastructure increases the confidence of EV drivers and, especially with Apple Maps, attracts new user groups to sustainable mobility offerings like EV cars,” said Arne Meusel, CEO and co-founder of Cirrantic.

“In the UK we started with supporting the major charger operators, including Podpoint, CYC, Ecotricity, NPower and NewMotion. Any interested operator is welcome to set up a connection with us.”

Source london (#ev charging network) Easter Discount offer: 6 months free membership

I have just found this email in my inbox. With the offer to sign up for membership (again) and get 6 months free of this £4/month membership. Mild saving but useful.

The membership typical fee of £4/month is not exactly extortionate but charging cost are a Lot Higher. 3.6p/minute charging on top of this paperwork affair of £4/month is off putting.
Needless to say, despite having(had) two electric vehicles in the household, I do charge at home 90% of the time. And I would* consider topping up where possible, in town,
Even paying this 3.6p/minute rate, – as it deals with dilemma of parking sometime. Thus worth the pennies so to speak. 
The £4/month is a more of how you say, hindrance, not here, not there but I don’t feel like £4/mont payment for “what if”. Worst case I’d sign up right before I need to get to town to use one. And being that “case” not really
Happening, I was content to let go of my membership, and keep zee pennies where they ought to me. In my pocket.
Now this Easter offer: – meh, why not. Maths for “what if” and now that summer is coming, makes more of a likely probability of when not if I would need to top up. Yep. I signed up. 
I personally think it should be silly cheap – to get EV drivers to pay member costs contently when not using the scheme for a while. Scrapped altogether perhaps, better yet, since at-the-point charging fees are not exactly cheap. 
Rough maths tells that in basic 3kw charging that’s, 10-12 mile range for your average Leaf would cost 3.6px60=£2.16!!!!! Without going further I would like to remind you that 1L of petrol would get you some 10 odd miles also (50mpg avg) – yet that would cost £1.15 today! 
That’s £1 over the top making the EV charging more expensive at these points that merely driving a petrol car. Capish?!
Anyway, like I said. I signed up, for that “what if” moment, and I can charge i3 on 7kwh making MY personal charging costs on par with a petrol car, mind.
Anywhoo, read on the good mail from yours truly, Source London:
We have already installed close to 500 new charge points across London and aim to have 1000 installed by the end of the year.

Our new smart charge points are maintained 24/7 by our own in-house maintenance team, can be booked for free up to 40 minutes in advance and usually have free on-street parking whilst giving you access to the largest on-street charge point network in London.

As we do not want our customers to pay for a mediocre charging experience, older charge points remain free to use. Our new smart charge points incur a session fee of 3.6p/min (with a minimum session fee of 20mn and an overnight cap of £8.64 from 8pm to 7am.

We will be installing hundreds of additional new smart charge points over the next few months – an update will be sent to you shortly with our installation plans.

Kind regards,

Source London…

Government announces continued support for plug-in grant and EV home-charging

The Government has announced continued support for the plug-in car grant and the installation of EV home-chargers as it revealed who will receive funding to help develop the next generation of driverless and low-carbon vehicles.

People buying an electric vehicle (EV) will continue to benefit from up to £4,500 off the cost of an ultra-low emission car, up to £2,500 off a hybrid and receive £500 towards the installation of a charge point in their home.

Business secretary Greg Clark and transport minister John Hayes gave their backing to the schemes when awarding £109.7million to 38 automotive research and development (R&D) projects yesterday (Tuesday, April 11).

Hayes said: “This Government is investing £109m to support British businesses in developing innovative, important technologies which will greatly reduce our emissions footprint.

“The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads is at record levels and our renewed support for these exciting technologies is yet another significant milestone.”

Seven projects will share grants from the latest round of funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the joint industry-Government programme to put the UK at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology.

The projects will be led by BMW, CNH Industrial, Ford Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Penso Consulting, Westfield Sportscars and Williams Advanced Engineering.

Successful schemes include:

  • The development of a high power battery suitable for high-performance vehicles
  • A project to address gaps in and strengthen the UK supply chain
  • The development of the fuelling system for a concept gas tractor
  • Technologies to reduce the weight and improve electrification in SUV vehicle platforms

A further seven projects have won funding from the government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) to advance the development of a range of ultra-low and zero emissions vehicle technologies in the UK. These projects will be led by Equipmake, Ford Motor Company, Great British Sports Cars, Jaguar Land Rover, Ricardo Innovations, Romax Technology and Wrightbus.

Clark said: “The projects being awarded funding today will help extend our excellence in these cutting edge research fields, helping to safeguard jobs while ensuring the UK remains the go-to destination for automotive excellence.”

The Government also announced the first set of winners of the second round of its connected autonomous vehicles competition, CAV2, with projects set to receive a share of up to £31m, match funded by industry.

Twenty-four projects demonstrated clear commercial value and identified technical solutions for CAV technology, including how these vehicles will work within the UK transport system. Further successful projects from this competition round will be announced soon.

Funding is divided into four streams and ideas include projects using cars and pods platooning, or going in formation, to transport passengers from Stockport train station to Manchester Airport, create vehicles capable of driving in a range of road environments and technology which could make any car operate autonomously.

The CAV2 competition includes funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, for 4 one-year research and development projects supporting CAV vehicle developments, specifically in the areas of energy reduction and air quality improvements. The government will launch its third CAV competition, CAV3, to fund further industry-led research and development projects later in the year.

Innovate UK chief executive Ruth McKernan said: “These successful industry-led R&D projects will further spearhead UK development of low emission, and connected and autonomous vehicle technology, building on our world-leading research and innovation capability in this area and the significant strength of UK businesses large and small in this field.”

The announcements follow the launch of the first phase of Government’s £100m CAV test bed programme at the end of March with a competition worth £55m.

In a speech to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Connected Conference in London, the business secretary outlined plans to create a cluster of excellence in CAV testing along the M40 corridor between Birmingham and London.

The test bed programme forms part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to develop world-class CAV testing infrastructure.

The programme will use some of the UK’s existing CAV testing centres to create a concentrated cluster of testing facilities in the UKs automotive heartland in the West Midlands, including; Coventry, Birmingham, Milton Keynes as well as Oxford and London.


Startup Tests Car-Charging Lamp Posts in London

A new business in London has the dream of adding electric car chargers to many of the city’s lamp posts, meaning that even the people who live in the converted loft up on the fourth floor that doesn’t even have any windows (£1,450pm, shared bathroom) can manage to charge their contract hire BMW i3s while they sleep. is asking potential users to badger their local councils to see if they’d like to get the chargers installed too, with the company promising local councils that the installation cost is paid for by an OLEV grant and then leased back, so, technically, there’s not much in the way of barriers to turning every residential street’s lighting post into a 7.7kWh charger.

Surely there will soon be rules about not dangling cables all over the pavements though. Can’t have trip hazards criss-crossing the nation, can we? [Char.gyvia TechCrunch]


Zapinamo secures funding for movable EV charge point trial

Start-up awarded £3.1m by Innovate UK to deploy mobile EV charger as part of pilot project with Heathrow Airport

A UK start-up that promises to deliver the world’s first movable electric vehicle charge point has secured £3.1m of funding to help make its vision a reality.

Zapinamo announced yesterday that it has been awarded funding from the government-backed Innovate UK agency, following a previous £48,000 initial funding round.

The company said the latest funding will allow it to move forward with plans to demonstrate its technology in partnership with Heathrow Airport, Europcar E-Car Club and Warwick Manufacturing Group.

Zapinamo’s ‘first of a kind’ technology provides a fully movable EV charger, which can charge several electric vehicles simultaneously at speeds of up to 400kW.

The company said the ability to move a charge point to where it is required will reduce the time and cost it takes to deploy EV charging infrastructure, while providing firms with more flexibility as their EV fleets expand.

In addition, the ability to store energy for use by the charger should allow it to integrate with renewable energy systems and reduce pressure on local grids. 

“The unique Zapinamo battery storage and power electronics system allows harvesting of energy from renewables off peak, which is stored and utilised when required and delivered at the maximum power the EV can accept,” explained Zapinamo’ Edwin Philpott viw email. “Where currently a Leaf can accept a 50kW charge our system is future proofed to accommodate the forthcoming 150-350kW EV systems already being developed. This renders conventional rapid charging systems ineffective without grid supply upgrade.”

He added that the system can be deployed in a static, moveable or fully mobile variety.

The new trial will involve the provision of charging solutions at Heathrow airport for electric private hire vehicles and other EVs using the Heathrow campus.

The company said the Innovate UK-funded trial will allow it prove that “two of the biggest blockers to EV uptake – charging on-street in urban areas and deploying chargers where power is at a premium – can be overcome with Zapinamo’s technology”.   

“This is a great result for Zapinamo, and makes a strong case that the UK is the best place to develop globally competitive, disruptive automotive technologies,” said Tim Martin, chief executive of Zapinamo “Working with our partners, I look forward to bringing to market the world’s first EV charging solution.”

The news comes in the same week as the London Taxi Company cut the ribbon on the UK’s first dedicated EV manufacturing plant, boasting the capacity to deliver 20,000 plug-in range-extended black cabs a year.

Chago Media to offer electric vehicle charging and mobile advertising in one place

Ensto is introducing its world-first combined electric vehicle charging station and commercial advertising screen to the UK, to give businesses the option of funding their annual running costs through advertising.

 Ensto’s Chago Media is an innovative approach to EV charging, combining outdoor advertisement media, with an option of one or two charging points incorporated into the station, from which the income of advertising space sales can be used to fund the building investments and expenditures of the charging infrastructure.

 Offering a profitable EV charging station from installation, Chago Media’s robust steel structure contains a 55” LCD display suitable for the most demanding outdoor use in all weather conditions. Chago Media is remotely controlled through a cloud-based media content management system where advertising can offer a fast return of investment of up to £80,000 in high-footfall areas of towns, as well as car parks, hotels and shopping centres.

 Available with one or two fast charging Type2 sockets (max 22kW per socket), Chago Media has already been successfully launched in a number of European cities including Oslo, Helsinki, Vantaa, Turku and Kerava.

“The smart design of Chago Media incorporates digital advertising to cover off the costs of maintaining a charging infrastructure for a company, retailer car park owner or local authority”, comments James O’Neill, Ensto UK director. “Customers need to simply select the charger that delivers the required end-user services while fulfilling their technical requirements.

“It’s the ideal solution for businesses looking to expand their customer offering as the popularity of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles continues to grow within the UK. Having access to on-site charging increases a business’s desirability for EV customers.” adds O’Neill.

Ensto UK is currently liaising with several outdoor advertising specialists, to utilise their expertise to ensure customers are able to achieve the most out of their investment in a Chago Media charger.


Charge your EV overnight!: Charge electric cars smartly to take pressure off national grid – minister

Electric cars are putting increasing pressure on the UK’s power grids, making it vital they are recharged at the right time of day, a minister has said. 

John Hayes, transport minister, said it was important that such battery-powered cars were topped up in smart ways to avoid unduly stressing the energy system.

He said he hoped the accelerating uptake of electric cars, which registration figures show are growing faster than conventional new cars, could catalyse a wider debate on how best to manage the UK’s energy demand.

“We know the demand for electric vehicles places the national grid under pressure. It’s critically important – we are working on this. It’s particularly important that we charge smart, so we flex demand and take advantage of spare capacity,” Hayes told an audience in London.

The minister joked that a competition to design a better-looking electric car charger could see the winning entry nicknamed the “Hayes hook-up”.

SSE, one of the UK’s big six energy companies which also runs local power grids in Scotland, said its electric car programmes found most owners charged their batteries immediately after returning home from work. That coincides with when energy demand is already at its highest point in the day, which has led the company to trial time-shifting the charging to miss the peak.

The utility said such “demand-side response”, where a car may not start charging until a few hours after a driver has plugged it in, when demand is lower, could alleviate much of the cost of power network upgrades required to cope with electric vehicles. However, most of the UK’s existing 10,000-plus charging points do not have such technology.

Stewart Reid, ‎head of asset management and innovation at SSE, said realistically some network upgrades, which would ultimately be passed on to energy bills, would be required if electric cars took off in a big way.

“If this goes ballistic, if it’s like iPads went, then we’re going to have a very big investment programme: you’re going to have to invest in the network. But at least we’re going in with our eyes open,” he said.

A spokesman for the Energy Networks Association, whose members run local power grids, agreed that investment in the network would be needed. But he said: “Electricity network operators are developing a number of innovative solutions to enable people to charge their vehicles while minimising the impact on the power network.”


POD Point to install EV charging points at airport car parks across the UK

Parking management firm APCOA has entered into a new partnership with POD Point, a manufacturer and supplier of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, which will see charging units installed in airport car parks, as well as other locations, throughout the UK. The agreement has already seen 15 POD Point units installed at London Heathrow Airport and Birmingham’s Broadway Plaza retail center.

Erik Fairbairn, CEO of POD Point, said, “This partnership agreement has the potential to be a game-changer for the EV industry in the UK, and not only in volume.

“Working with APCOA means access to EV will be granted to a huge section of the population at various touchpoints in their daily life as well as putting a measure in place to generate footfall in retail centers and provide added services that encourage customer retention for businesses.

“Our mission is to have a POD Point everywhere people park for an hour or more and today’s announcement means we are a step closer to making that vision a reality.”

Kim Challis, regional managing director for UK and Ireland, APCOA, said, “At APCOA we’re passionate about sustainable travel and the future of electric vehicles. I’m proud to be em-barking on this exciting new partnership with POD Point.

“APCOA is the parking provider of choice to hundreds of organizations across the UK and Ireland, and our broad network will open up EV chargers to new motorists and support the wider take-up of electric vehicles.”

Pod Point: Parking for an hour? Charge up your EV…

A charging point everywhere you park for an hour or more. That’s the aim of Pod Point, one of the major players in the electric vehicle charging sector. The company is getting there, gradually, with around 22,000 points in operation across the UK, and 5,000 more in Norway.

Founder Erik Fairbairn set up the business in 2009, after previously establishing a couple of other businesses – before that, he was an engineer, including a spell at Ford.

Pod Point’s approach to the market is logical – with the business split into home, work and public charging point divisions.

Around 17,000 of the company’s UK charge points are home-based, and Fairbairn explains that the average electric vehicle driver requires the use of one and a half to two charge points in their daily driving life.

“Each driver needs one charge point at home, which is normally exclusively for their use, a share of a charge point at work, and a smaller share of public charging – perhaps one charger for every 10 vehicles – at places like shopping centres.

Pod Point is a recommended charging point provider for manufacturers including Hyundai, Nissan, Renault, Tesla, Volkswagen and Volvo, and much of its work is providing points for customers of new vehicles.

Home charging point installations currently attract a £500 subsidy from the Government through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), which leaves an electric vehicle (EV) driver to pay around £400 – though many manufacturers will fund the rest of the cost.

“You have to map the growth of charging facilities to the growth of vehicle sales,” says Fairbairn, explaining that the rate is currently fairly proportional.

At present, financial incentives and environmental evangelism are still driving growth in electric vehicle take-up, with the necessary infrastructure following not far behind.

The recent introduction of the OLEV workplace charging grant now offers a universal financial contribution for businesses to install chargers for the first time.

There have been contributions for some public sector bodies and a few businesses in certain regions in the past, but the new programme is open to all – with some criteria.

It’s not as generous as the home charging scheme – supplying £300 vouchers for the installation of up to 20 points per business (with a few complications for franchises and subsidiaries) – but it should encourage many businesses to add facilities, which Fairbairn welcomes.

In some cases, commercial installations are more challenging than a home one.

“In a perfect world, a business will tell us they want some charging, we’ll look at the EV market in their area and the size of the company, and offer a steer on how many points may be a good idea.

“Don’t necessarily tell us where you want the chargers. Most businesses want a cost-effective install, so we can advise the cheapest and easiest places to put them.

“By all means, a company can say we’d like six points over there – but in cases where installing a few metres away would be a tenth of the cost, we’d always suggest that,” Fairbairn says.

A workplace or retail installation for multiple sockets isn’t just putting up a few posts and connecting them to the mains, however.

“If you’re a big organisation and you’d like 100 or 200 charge points, then you might be in a situation where you can’t charge all of those vehicles on full power at the same time.

Pod Point’s system works on an array basis – it can manage the total load across those charge points.

“It means you don’t end up having to reinforce grid connections, and other expensive stuff. It’s a really efficient way of putting a large amount of infrastructure in.”

The array operation offers benefits to smaller installs in terms of forward planning, too.

“If you install 10 now, it’s possible you would want 50 in three years or so. We’d provide a little plan for growth to ensure the number of points can be easily scaled if needed.”

Software-managed charging, as Fairbairn calls it, means a business or retailer can see an overview of their charging infrastructure across the country if they wish.

It means they can see utilisation and the stress levels of points, and work out where they need to add more.

This system is not just limited to one Pod Point customer.

Every OLEV-subsidised charging point has a requirement to report usage statistics through a sim card, but Pod Point units take this a step further, and every Pod Point built since launch is connected to a central hub.

If needed, the company can help to control and manage demand across all its units, whether that be at home, a destination or in the workplace.

“Centrally managing the roll out of charging is quite important. If 6% of vehicles were electric, and plugged in to charge at 6.30pm, we’d be close to reaching our peak generation capacity as a nation. The system could reduce power usage at that point, and spread charging out throughout the night.

“The future of a well managed grid definitely involves electric vehicles.”

Fairbairn continues: “Pod Point is aiming to ‘solve’ charging at scale. Of course, we’re delighted to help you charge one car, but the big challenge is on a countrywide scale.”

The company’s view of utilisation is perhaps a little different to that of a fleet manager.

“If a point is being used for seven hours of every eight-hour day, then it could either be used by one person all day, or seven different drivers for an hour each.

“A retailer’s usage profile looks very different to a workplace or a long stay car park. Working out behaviours and cycle times is a big part of what we do.”

As volumes of electric vehicles increase, and the demand for charging grows, the issue of who pays for the fuel is likely to become more relevant.

Fairbairn says: “You can give it away for free, and stump the cost of the energy, cost recovery which is charging customers loosely what the energy costs, or you can make a profit.

“It’s not for me to tell hosts which is the right answer. In the workplace market, it’s likely most employers will opt for the cost recovery basis in time as volumes increase.”

Pod Point’s systems, accessed by a web page or mobile app, will handle the technical process of charging, and collect payment from the user at whichever rate is desired and pass it back to the charging point’s host.

Time-based charging is one of the most popular options at present.

“The average customer doesn’t really know what a kilowatt hour is. Consumers are already used to paying to park somewhere per hour, so we have been emphasising the range per hour – for example, a 7kw unit can charge at up to 30 miles per hour.

Fairbairn continues: “Long term, perhaps we’ll all get familiar with kilowatt hours, but at the moment, we understand time much better than we understand units of energy.”

Most of the growth in charging points is in the private sector, according to Fairbairn, with retailers opting to install additional points to attract more customers – taking a lead ahead of the public sector.

A driver may choose a particular retailer over another because of its charge point, he says, but drivers are rarely visiting a destination just to top up on power.

“Our job is to make charging as simple as possible, and to ensure there are chargers in places people want to go.”


UK government to act on price gouging for electric vehicle charging



The UK’s government is preparing to tackle the problem of extortionate fees to charge electric cars at public locations. Ministers are set to enact legislation that will see standard prices applied and ensure electric vehicle users are provided with better access to roadside charging locations.

The government is responding to complaints that the cost of a 30-minute charge at a public point can be as high as £7.50. Motoring critics say this high cost means the cost of running an electric car is on a par with that of a diesel engine, although home charges are generally a lot cheaper.

The move to make public charging more user-friendly comes hot on the heels of news UK motorists are not buying the targeted amount of ultra-low emission vehicles. The government had aimed for nine per cent of vehicles on the country’s roads to be low emission by 2020. Current estimates show the number will be seven per cent at best.

The UK currently has about 11,000 public charging stations for electric cars and vans. Motoring critics claim they are distinctly unfriendly and come with varied pricing structures. They are also typically not an option for all electric vehicle owners as they require pre-registration and password access.

The Department for Transport (DfT) launched a study designed to revamp the electric charger network in October. A spokesperson noted that the reforms would give electric vehicle owners 24/7 access to chargers and ensure pricing structures were economical to encourage more drivers into opting for low emission engines.