The Plight of the Drivewayless—those poor souls who live in urban locales where they can’t charge their EVs at home—has emerged as a major drag on the speed of EV adoption. Solutions from the clever to the silly have been proposed, but if we look at dense cities where adoption is already well advanced, we’re bound to conclude that the answer is simply curbside charging—lots of small, cheap chargers that can fit into existing street hardware such as lampposts.
Curbside EV chargers are already common sights on the streets of Oslo, London and Amsterdam, and the US is slowly beginning to get into the game. The DOE has funded curbside electric vehicle charging projects in Detroit and other US cities.
Brooklyn-based startup itselectric has a distinctive business model—it installs and maintains curbside charging posts at selected sites, and cuts property owners in for a share of the revenue. The company has a project going in Detroit, and five pilot studies underway in New York City.
“Curbside charging is the final frontier for EV charging,” said itselectric co-founder and COO Tiya Gordon. “There are effectively three categories: Home Charging (off-street); Highway/Destination DC fast charging; and Urban. In the US, the first two are well tended to. However, if you live in a city and don’t have a garage or driveway, you are out of luck. In cities, the current approach of destination charging (e.g. charging at a shopping mall or supermarket) is failing. Curbside charging allows drivers to charge where they already park at night, affording them the same convenience and affordability as those who can charge in a suburban driveway or garage.”
Other companies deploying curbside charging in the US include FLO, which has installed some 100 curbside chargers in all five of New York City’s boroughs in cooperation with utility Con Edison; and EVgo, which has at least 3 curbside charging sites running in Sacramento.