Question Charging advice


Active Member
I currently drive a petrol car and would swap to a pure electric or petrol hybrid but do not have off street parking and therefore have not looked into it in any great detail. My daily commute to work is less than 20 miles (round trip). Weekend trips are normally just local, so unlikely to need charging for return journeys etc. This is where the petrol hybrid comes into the equation as a possibility.

Then today i get the message below from my local council who are going to put charging points in lamp posts and this would solve my problem. Does anyone in London or elsewhere in the country have these charging points locally or used them, or is it a non starter.

Any practical advice appreciated.

The London Borough of Waltham Forest has recently met with an operator that installs electric vehicle charge points into lamp columns. This type of charge point has been trialled several other London boroughs. We are keen to make on street EV charging available in Waltham Forest and we’re emailing you now to gauge your level of interest in this type of charger.

The scheme would involve an operator, in collaboration with the Council, installing 5kWh charging points onto suitable lamp columns in your area. This would be on a 6 month trial. There would be no dedicated electric vehicle bay, but the operator would work with The Council and yourselves to select lamp columns in or around your street that are most suitable. The council would fund the costs of the charge points. If feasibility work shows that the location is suitable, we anticipate that these charge points could be installed later in the year.

The lamp column chargers must be used with a smart cable which manages the metering. Residents would need to purchase this smart cable, which is around £200. There is an on-going monthly subscription cost, details of which will be supplied by the operator. The cost of the electricity could be around 16p/kWh. The operator will provide you with more information on this.


Staff member
There is a huge density of charge points already in the London area - far more than pretty much anywhere else. What I'd do if I were you is look at what there is that I could use, preferably alongside some other normal activity (such as shopping), but also as a standalone event in case of need. Rapid chargers will take the typical EV from just about empty to just about full in say 30 minutes, so it's not a long time to spend sipping coffee and catching up on EMails. Or a 4-hour fast charge while you were going to be walking or shopping or whatever takes no (extra) time at all. Both types take less time, of course, if you aren't empty when you start. And that's the trick; unlike a ICE car, you don't wait till empty before filling; you charge every time there is an opportunity in parallel with something else (such as, at the Supermarket, with a "free" charger) so you keep it as full as you can; that saves time on later occasions.

You don't say exactly where you live or work - or whether you could charge there, even - but a look at either
zap-map.com or
will show you what public infrastructure is already there.

Boring real-life example follows: no need to read it if you don't want to.

Last Tuesday evening, our car is 78% full when we arrive home. (We do have a driveway and garage and a fast charge point). I did not plug it in, because I'm "cheap" and I knew what we intended to do the next day.......

Wednesday we go to nearby Asda. Car is 73% full when we get there. There is a set of fast chargers there. I plug it in, and it wants 1hr 40 to fill up. I spend 40 minutes in the supermarket, and then the next hour walking to and around a nearby strip mall - somewhere I intended to visit anyway. So I haven't expended any more time than I was going to. Car now full. Cost - zero* (time and money).

Thursday, Mrs LV426 is going to the physiotherapist. We park the car at another supermarket with a fast charger rather than at the clinic; it takes her 5 minutes (you might call that wasted time) to walk to the clinic. 40 minutes later the car is full again, and her 30 minute appointment plus 5 more minutes walk is over. Cost - zero* (plus arguably no more than 10 minutes walking time).

Today, we start out with the car ~95% full; the physio was 7 miles away. We're going 30 miles each way. On the way back, I'll very probably stop off at the Mall or another nearby location where a rapid charger will see me up to 93% full in maybe 20 minutes. Cost zero (plus 20 minutes).

And by the time I'm back home, I'll be about 88% full, without having spent a cent.

(* - use of Polar Plus card, which has a monthly subscription, in order to get free power at these two locations. However, my card comes free with my domestic electricity supply so I count it as free. The last two locations mentioned - at the mall and the nearby alternative, are completely free to use).
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Active Member
Thank you for the information and personal explanation.

Checked the websites and locations within a couple of miles of home are both underground stations so unlikely to be readily available, but would mean taking the car there, leaving it to charge and going back to collect it.

At work the nearest location is approx 3 miles away in a Waitrose car park and both sets of locations only have slow chargers.

The street lamp charging (if we get it) would be convenient to plug in overnight.
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