The EV Charger(less) Boom

You have an electric car (EV), and you’re driving to your destination and you spot that your battery is getting low. We live in 2021 and with the world turning to renewal energy sources, green and clean ways to mass produce, and electric cars to reduce emissions. You’d think that finding a charger would be as easy as filling up at a petrol station, right? 

WRONG! And the reason I say this, there’s just simply not enough EV chargers around the UK. At least to cater for the demand and growth of the EV car industry.  

I live in a village / town in West Sussex, and to say I have no chargers is an understatement. I have to travel to my local supermarket (4.1miles away) to charge my car at 7kw. If I want a faster charge (22kw), then I have to travel even further (14miles). And you may think. That’s not that far to travel, and I do agree with that. 

4 miles is relatively close, as is 14miles. But if I needed charge desperately. It’s the difference between making it to a charger or effectively having zero percent left in my car and breaking down. 

There’s plenty of chargers don’t me wrong. But they’re few and far between. And even travelling to a place like Brighton, where it does have quite a few around. They’re not really in the main part of Brighton. And when you do find one, they’re quite pricey when combined with the parking costs that you also have to pay. 

The other issue is downtime and being out of order. The amount of times I’ve driven to a charger, to find it’s not working. Meaning I then have to travel even further and use more of the depleting battery to get some charge. It’s quite frankly frustrating and ridiculous. 

So the option you have is to get a charger installed at your home. But even with the governments reduced cost to get one installed. It’s still a big chunk of money to put down and then have to pay energy costs on top – and with energy prices souring right now, I’d be worried to even consider charging at home.

Not everyone can afford the luxury of a home charger. And the amount you generally save on petrol, tax and other costs. Why then waste all that money on high energy costs and home chargers? You may as well stick with petrol and never have to worry. 

I love driving fully electric – It’s such a great feeling, knowing I’m not contributing to more shitty emissions in the air we breathe. But something really has to give. 

We need more public chargers now more than ever. I see people curiously standing and reading signs while I charge publicly. And curiosity eventually converts to sales. So why aren’t we a country that invests more in the infrastructure? We need more public chargers, and we needed them last year.

I hear companies like Shell are investing in more public chargers and this is very welcome.  But it’s going to take time to get out there. And even then, my town and even your town may not be on the rollout list. As I’d imagine, they’ll be installed where the most people buy electric cars. 

We need more publicly available chargers in almost every town, and we need competitive pricing, so that those that want to convert to an EV, have the option to charge while on the go, and not just on a motorway.

When will we get to a point, where we can say we have more than enough chargers around? Time is ticking and the boom has already happened.

#EVChargers #EVInfrastructure #InstallMoreEVChargersUK

Virgin Media O2 Unveils First Electric Van To Help Improve UK Charging Infrastructure

  • Virgin Media O2 has unveiled the first electric vehicle (EV) in its new fleet, as it announces plans to install EV charging points at all its fleet drivers’ homes
  • The company has ordered 280 electric vans as a first step towards moving its 4,300-strong fleet to EVs by 2030
  • Through its ‘dig once’ approach with Liberty Charge (deploying charging points at the same time as fixed and mobile networks) the company is working to supercharge the rollout of electric vehicle infrastructure across the UK

London, 10th November 2021: To coincide with Transport day at COP26 in Glasgow, Virgin Media O2 is today unveiling the first of its new electric vehicles (EVs), as it works to transition its entire fleet to EVs by 2030. Alongside the new zero-emission vehicles, the business is also committed to supporting the rollout of EV charging infrastructure nationwide, offering free charging points to its fleet drivers and continuing to deploy charging points alongside its fixed and mobile network rollout across the UK.

This first step towards Virgin Media O2’s 2030 EV fleet goal has seen the business order 280 new Vauxhall e-Vivaros to carry out service and install visits at customers’ homes nationwide. It will continuously review its fleet and look to transition to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as quickly as possible to support a greener economy.

Drivers of Virgin Media O2’s 4,300-vehicle fleet will also be offered charging points in their own homes as part of the move. This will enable them to charge their new electric vans overnight and contribute to a cleaner future for UK transport. Virgin Media O2 already offers EV charging for employees at its Slough, Reading and Hammersmith office sites.

Building better EV charging infrastructure

Since 2020, Virgin Media has been working with Liberty Charge (a joint venture between Virgin Media O2 joint owner Liberty Global & Zouk Capital) to install EV charging points alongside its existing infrastructure and ongoing network build programme, and support the transition to EVs. Liberty Charge and Virgin Media O2 are continuing to work together to assess where they can follow a ‘dig once’ strategy – deploying fixed and mobile solutions at the same time as EV charging infrastructure. As well as streamlining the installation process and making it more convenient for all, this helps create the foundations for the smart-city networks of the future.

Tracey Herald, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Virgin Media O2 said: “With a fleet of 4,300 vehicles visiting millions of homes and businesses every year, we have a responsibility to swap to cleaner, more sustainable alternatives as soon as possible. I’m proud that we’re introducing the first EVs to our fleet, and giving our valued field engineers access to the charge points they need to keep moving.

“The only way to encourage businesses and the public to make the switch to EVs in time for the UK’s 2050 net zero target is by making vehicle charging points widely available and accessible to all. We’re eagerly anticipating the Government’s EV strategy and plans for wider infrastructure rollout, and together with Liberty Charge, we’re committed to using our expanding national network and street furniture to help put charging points where they need to be – and drive the UK towards net zero.”

Neil Isaacson, CEO of Liberty Charge adds: “At Liberty Charge, our goal is to tackle the chronic under-supply of easily-accessible on-street charging in the UK and help councils meet the very clear public need of the millions of households who need reliable, cost effective EV charge points close to their home. As our delivery partner, Virgin Media O2 is instrumental to this goal – deploying the infrastructure required and working with local authorities to overcome any delivery obstacles faced. And it doesn’t stop there: by the end of the year, our Charging Network will be operational in 6 local authorities, with more than 500 sockets open to the public and with many, many more to come in 2022.”

Supporting cleaner transport for the future 

Virgin Media O2 is committed to using its digital capabilities to help reduce transport emissions and contribute to the UK’s net zero future. Working with the Smart Mobility Living Lab, it is supporting the development of 5G Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) which use connected sensors and stream information from one vehicle to another via the 5G Network in real-time.

5G-connected vehicles cut carbon by allowing for reduced idling, as well as route planning to avoid the most polluted and congested areas. They also enable smarter driving patterns such as lower acceleration rates and platooning (where two vehicles follow each other closely to reduce aerodynamic drag).

As part of its trials, O2 has converted two Renault TWIZY electric cars into CAVs and fitted them with LIDAR sensors, to allow autonomous driving as well as remote control at slow speeds. One of these test vehicles is on display at COP26 – with a simulator experience to give users the opportunity to see, hear and feel what it is like to become a passenger in a 5G-powered CAV.

ITV And Virgin Media O2 Agree Long Term Commercial Partnership

ITV and Virgin Media O2 have today signed a new long term multi-year agreement that delivers deeper integration of ITV programming, support for IPTV, enhanced advertising capabilities and continued access to ITV’s vast range of channels and on-demand services for Virgin TV customers.

The new agreement, which lasts over five years and signals a new commercial relationship between the two companies, includes full integration of the ITV Hub platform onto Virgin TV set-top boxes. This enables viewers to seamlessly search for and watch all of ITV’s ever-growing selection of available programmes, including more full series than ever, on-demand directly from within the ITV Hub – which currently has 34.8 million registered users. A range of new features including programme start over and cloud recording will also be introduced for some Virgin TV customers in future.

This full integration of the ITV Hub platform also brings increased benefits to advertisers through Planet V, ITV’s innovative programmatic addressable advertising platform. Planet V allows both advertisers and agencies control over the planning, purchasing and reporting of their campaigns on ITV Hub, building audiences with first party data and augmenting those audiences with advertisers’ own data.

Looking ahead, ITV’s live channels and the ITV Hub will also be available through Virgin TV’s upcoming IPTV service when it fully launches in early 2022 – the service will offer a seamless app and streaming-based experience powered by the company’s leading ultrafast and gigabit connectivity.  Building further upon the benefits to advertisers under this agreement, ITV will also be able to offer linear addressable advertising via IP delivery through the Planet V platform.

ITV’s wide range of much-loved programmes and content across various genres will receive enhanced prominence across all Virgin TV interfaces, and bespoke curations of content will be made available within the catch-up sections of the provider’s platform. This will help viewers easily discover, access and watch the latest and greatest ITV shows all in one place.

Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, said:

“This extended and enhanced commercial agreement brings benefits to both ITV’s viewers and advertisers and the work that Virgin Media O2 is doing to develop its IP proposition advantages both those groups.

As Planet V continues to grow at scale, we’re able to deliver addressable advertising via the fully integrated ITV Hub on the great platform that Virgin Media O2 continues to evolve via both on-demand and linear viewing. Plus our viewers are able to access ITV’s fantastic range of programming more easily than ever before with an enhanced viewing experience.”

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, said:

“We have been a longstanding partner of ITV for many years and this new agreement further cements our relationship. It paves the way for future product innovation and delivers more for our customers and our business, as well as enhancing the toolkit available to advertisers.

“Our focus in TV is all about providing incredible entertainment to our customers in a seamless way underpinned by the very best connectivity. As we continue to invest and innovate, having ITV’s vast selection of must-watch programming fully integrated and easily accessible plays a huge part in giving our customers a fantastic experience both now and in the future.”