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Electric Vehicle Association England Q&A

As we celebrate installing nearly 500 EV Charging Points in the last year, we sat with our friends at EVA England, the members’ association focused on providing an independent voice for EV motorists, to discuss our EV rollout and future plans.

As we celebrate installing nearly 500 EV Charging Points in the last year, we sat with our friends at EVA England, the members’ association focused on providing an independent voice for EV motorists, to discuss our EV rollout and future plans.

Q: Your EV Charging Point rollout has been very well publicised. How is it going so far?

A: It is going really well; across the UK and Ireland we have installed just over 500 brand new EV Charging Points since the start of 2023 but this is just the beginning. This includes replacing older hardware at some locations as well as introducing EV Charging to locations (and cities) that never had them before.

We also won an Evolution Award in 2023 for the Best EV Chargepoint Provider. We were of course delighted to be recognised in our industry for the work we are doing.

Q: Why have you decided to install so many EV Charging Points?

A: At Q-Park we always like to be ahead of the curve and be constantly innovating, this culture is from the top down and includes every single aspect of our operation. It is clear that electric vehicles are the future of motoring, and any legislative delays won’t change that! Therefore, we know that customers future journeys into city centres will require somewhere to park and charge. So if your parking facilities don’t have EV infrastructure then you won’t have parkers! It is our belief that we are leading the way in terms of private car park operators in city centres with a rollout of this scale.

Q: What challenges have you faced during this rollout?

A: There have been two main challenges that we have had to overcome during this rollout. Firstly, a lot of our parking facilities, especially in Central London, are underground which is a far more complex installation with various connectivity challenges. Without connectivity, the customers would not be able to start a charging session via the mobile app without logging onto Wi-Fi which is not a seamless experience. Secondly, whilst the majority of our assets are modern facilities, we are still limited at times by the surrounding electricity infrastructure. This then creates limitations in how many EV Charging Points can be installed and commissioned and we must find a balance between the number of charge points in a facility and the power of the charge points.

Q: How have you dealt with these challenges?

A: At parking facilities with limited phone signal, we have installed contactless payment terminals so that customers can use these more easily. So, a customer would simply plug in their EV, tap their card on the terminal and then the charging would commence. We started installation of these prior to the new Government’s Public Charge Point Regulations being released, so we feel that we are a real trailblazer! At car parks with power limitations, we are investing heavily in improving our infrastructure so that we can increase our EV Charging offering. This ranges from liaising with the local DNO to request more power be made available in our buildings, right up to commencing Grid Reinforcement works within the facility. Thankfully this particular challenge hasn’t overly impacted our first phase installations at many of our facilities can house huge numbers of EV Charging Points. Good examples of this are Park Lane, London which has 31 charge points and Deansgate in Manchester which will soon have 41 charge points! We are actively monitoring our EV Charging Point usage and where locations have high usage we then start the process of installing even more!

Q: Most of your Charging Points are either 7kW or 22kW. What was the reasoning behind this?

A: A Q-Park car park is a destination rather than somewhere like a service station. What we mean by this is that customers park with us whilst going shopping, eating at a restaurant, staying at a hotel or simply working in their office 9 to 5. Our average parker duration is 4 hours so there would be no need to install a really small number of rapid EV Charging Points as they are just not what our customers need. Instead, we can have more EV Charging Points that, whilst they will top up a battery slower, actually fit our customer profiles.

Q: There is quite a lot of false information in the media about Electric Vehicles, do you experience that from your customers and other stakeholders?

A: Yes, this does occur. You’d be amazed how often we get asked about the ‘EV Fire at Luton Airport’ when this was in fact a diesel car! Secondly, we also get increasing queries about whether our car parks will collapse due to the increasingly heavy EVs that are coming into the market. We take huge pride in our facilities and operation so we always go the extra mile when it comes to any fire regulations and structural care of our facilities. As an example, at the request of a landlord we recently commissioned a structural report on one of our facilities and found it could easily handle every single parking space being taken by a heavy EV. We also feel that EVs are the future of personal mobility so wrote a blog dispelling some of the myths that are circulated, this can be found on our website.  

Q. You mentioned that you believe that EVs are the future of personal mobility, do you have any schemes that support EV motorists?

A. Our Electric Season Ticket are priced so customers with electric vehicles can receive a heavily discounted price, simply by making the switch. We’ve of course been a partner of EVA England since its funding, and we’re proud to offer 20% discount to their members when they pre-book parking online.

Q: What are the future plans for Q-Park and EV Charging?

A: The initial £3m we have spent in the UK and Ireland on rolling out EV Charging Points is just the first phase of our plans to really lead the way when it comes to city centre charging infrastructure. We want our rollout to follow the demand for EVs and the plan is to install more and more EV Charging Points should the usage continue to increase. We are ambitious but we’ve always believed that future-proofing our facilities is what helps us stand out from the competition.

To find out the benefits of becoming an Electric Vehicle Association England member click here.

To find out where you can charge your EV with Q-Park click here.

About Q-Park

Q-Park is a leading off-street parking infrastructure owner and operator with well-managed commercial parking facilities across seven western European countries. We operate off-street parking spaces we own, have under concession or with long-term lease contracts from public and private landlords. We focus on off-street purpose-built parking facilities at strategic locations. We operate more than 3,600 parking facilities comprising over 706,000 parking spaces in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark. Based on publicly available industry data for our competitors, we estimate that we are a top three player, based on the estimated off-street revenues, in all the countries in which we operate. Q-Park also has numerous mobility hubs which provide access to a variety of mobility solutions. We house and support a range of activities from last mile logistics, electric vehicle charging, micromobility and car sharing services which help support urban accessibility, sustainability and liveability.

About EVA England

The Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England is a dedicated members’ association focused on providing an independent voice for current and prospective electric vehicle (EV) drivers. EVA England is a non-profit community interest company founded by passionate EV drivers inspired by the benefits of electric driving and concerned by the health and climate impacts of the use of petrol and diesel cars and vans.

EVA England is an independent group and represent our members and the wider EV driver community.

 

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