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Trojan Technology FAQ

How does the Trojan Energy charge point work?

The chargepoint is embedded into the ground and is flat and flush with the pavement/footpath surface.

A ‘lance’ is used to access charging and can be provided with either a type 2 (standard) or type 1 (older EVs) charging cable. The user inserts the lance into the chargepoint and the cable into their vehicle which begins a charging session.

Will the charge points add more clutter to the street?

Will the charge points add more clutter to the street?

This technology specifically aims to minimise street clutter compared to traditional electric vehicle charging equipment. The Trojan Energy chargepoints only take up a small amount of space next to an EV whilst it is charging. When no cars are charging, just the flat and flush sockets are left on the street.

How long does it take to charge a vehicle using one of these chargers?

How long does it take to charge a vehicle using one of these chargers?

The Trojan Energy chargers charge at up to 7.4 kW on a single phase and up to 22.1 kW on three phases but few vehicles are currently able to charge at the 22.1 kW rate. The amount of time it takes to charge your EV will depend on the model – the table on the left provides some example charging times for EVs depending on the battery size.


What speed are the chargers?

The maximum charging rate is 22kW, however the actual charging rate will depend on a number of factors, mainly the vehicle’s maximum charging rate, and how full the battery is. Other factors like ambient temperature can also affect the charging rate. Our charging hubs operate with a standard 68kW supply, which is shared across all 15 chargepoints.

Trojan are also working with BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) on a trial project that will introduce new Smart charging technology which will bring significant advantages, for example automatic local network protection (throttling during network demand peaks), and cheaper overnight charging options for customers.

Whatever the charge rate, users can log on to the portal/smartphone app to view a live feed of charging status including current charging rate, total energy delivered, estimated charge completion time etc.


How well does the charge point cope with grit and water?

The system has been designed from the start with this challenge in mind. While the design minimises ingress of substances during use we knew from the start of the design process that it would be unrealistic to expect zero ingress. We therefore designed multiple layers of protection between the outside world and the live components. Any water or other substances which find a way in are managed into a chamber at the bottom of the charger where they are ejected.

In early endurance testing we performed 500 insertion/removal cycles under grit and rain conditions without a loss of connection. Examination of the test unit showed some material had entered as expected but had been managed to the sump as planned and had not passed any of the barriers to the power side.

How much does the plug unit (lance) cost?

The lances are being issued to trial users for free. As we roll out the technology on a wider scale we don’t want the lance to be a barrier to customers, so we’ll simply ask users to credit their Trojan charging account with £200 (around 3000 miles of driving) in exchange for the lance. This credit will be then drawn down over a period at normal charging cost, ensuring the lance is used and users effectively receive it at no cost. Unused credit would be returned to the customer in exchange for the Lance should they wish to stop using the system.

The top handle looks flimsy - a vandal could break that easily.

The lower part of the lance is a strong aluminium cylinder which is essentially kick-proof, having passed an impact test at the proving stage. The top handle is designed to flex and lightly spring back. This was a design feature added to reflect the wishes of people with visual impairments. An accidental knock will result in this part of the lance conforming to the person rather than hurting them. This design also reduces the risk of damage from casual vandalism but will not protect against all cases of vandalism involving tools.

Will there be dedicated parking spaces for charging electric vehicles?

As EV uptake accelerates in the UK, the ability to zone off EV-only parking bays no longer exists - the required volumes make the political and financial cost too great. Parking bays on a residential street belong to the local authority and no one has an automatic right to park outside their house. EV drivers, with a suitable parking permit, have equal rights to each charging bay as any other resident on the street, they simply need an advantage in accessing them. Watch this space...

How much does it cost to charge with the trial technology?

The pricing for out initial trial is set at:

  • 25p per kWh up to 7.4 kW

  • 30p per kWh from 7.4kW - 22.1 kW

It is important to state that the pricing differential is a specific test case for the trial, to ascertain what appetite there is among trial participants for charging at faster rates. We want to see if a pricing message can encourage drivers to charge slower, where they can. This is an important insight into the future of smart vehicle charging in the UK.

We plan to develop new pricing as we move from trials into commercial trading, and further develop our smart charging offers. This does not necessarily mean increasing prices, but adjusting them to incentivise charging behaviour which helps both us and our customers. One example is that if Trojan can access cheaper electricity overnight and our customers choose to charge during that period some of these savings can be passed on.

Is my electric car compatible with the Trojan Energy charge points?

The trial Trojan technology requires vehicles to be compatible with a Type 2 (Mennekes /IEC62196) or Type 1 (Yazaki/J1772L) charger. Most new EVs use Type 2 for AC charging, but to double check your car compatibility. You can ask your car dealer, or check online e.g. with Zap-Map's charging guide.

How are the chargers powered?

The chargepoints are supplied with electricity from the local network through a cabinet situated up to 100m from the furthest chargepoint, in a discreet location. This is typically against a gable end wall and away from the pavement edge. Trojan uses only certified renewable power to supply our chargers.

The connection has been designed to be 68kW, which is available almost everywhere without the need for additional reinforcement. The nature of this low-voltage connection means it is the most cost effective balance of power and cost, and enables Trojan to install chargepoints much more cheaply than equivalent post-based systems.

How will you make sure that the local electrical grid can cope with extra cars charging?

Trojan have consulted with the local energy network operator UK Power Networks (who are a partner of the STEP trial) to ensure that all our chargerpoints will have enough power, without having to complete a costly upgrade.

The electricity network operators (DNOs) understand the constraint points in their local systems. We are working in conjunction with them to explore demand management techniques, such as load reduction during times of peak demand, to ensure their networks will be ready for an all-EV world.

Can someone unplug my car while it is charging?

No. Charging cables lock in place into most EVs when you start to charge. The lance is also locked into the chargepoint using those same signals. The lance and charging cable can be unlocked either by unlocking the car, or using the Trojan app.

How will this work with snow and ice?

Our production units, coming later this year, have been designed with an internal heating ring which is highly configurable to deliver heat at a range of settings. During our trial we intend to determine the optimum heating level to ensure the charger remains operational in cold conditions experienced throughout winter. The aim is to ensure the chargepoint does not freeze, but also doesn't waste energy by melting deeper snow on top of the charger that can be cleared by a brush, or even a foot.

What about people with visual impairments - will they trip over this?

Early in development we consulted with Disability Rights UK and a panel of stakeholders with a range of impairments. This consultation changed a number of aspects of the system design:

  • The lance shape was originally more angular but was changed to the rounded design currently being trialled. There are now no defined edges, and protruding surfaces are made from softer plastics rather than metal. In addition the top handle was changed to bend over and lightly spring back, conforming to a person during a collision rather than remaining rigid. These changes were requested by the members of the panel with total loss of sight.

  • Stakeholders with a range of visual impairments requested downlighting and frosting of light lenses to diffuse the light and reduce glare. In addition to the status lighting, adjustable LEDs are also situated under the collar of the lance. In low light they illuminate the lance without uplighting.

  • Panel members also emphasised the need to keep the chargepoints off the central portion of the footpath. Our commitment is to install the base units as close to the kerb edge as local rules allow - minimum distances vary between authorities. This has been achieved for all units installed so far.

  • Stakeholders with total sight loss expressed a preference for tactile paving before and after the strip of chargepoints (similar to the “dotted” paving used at pedestrian crossings). This would alert them to a potential hazard on the path. However, this has not been implemented yet due to preferences from wheelchair users to keep tactile paving to a minimum, but will be considered for all future installations.

We will provide a cable etiquette tutorial to all Trojan users, showing the correct way to route the cable straight to the gutter, while keeping it fully within the footprint of the car.

NB Stakeholders with whom we consulted considered the Trojan Energy chargepoints as very much preferable to charging cables lying across pavements.

Shouldn’t it be brighter coloured in order to make it more noticeable?

Research with stakeholders with a range of visual impairments indicates that contrast is more important than colour. Our installations to date have been over light-coloured concrete and paving, therefore a black cable is acceptable in these cases. Street furniture is subject to planning restrictions, and so future colour changes to system elements where darker materials are used will have to be carefully considered against local rules and requirements.

Does it generate light pollution?

The onboard lighting is not bright enough to illuminate the local area beyond street lighting. It is remotely programmable in colour and intensity to match local requirements, and can be altered in real time. We work with councils to minimise light pollution and energy usage but also ensure lighting sequences are long enough for users to understand status. For example, five minutes after the start of a charging session status indication is no longer required, so all visible uplighting can be switched off, leaving downlighting on during the night to aid people with visual-impairments.

It should be closer to the road and not so far onto the pavement

Distance from pavement edge is strictly governed by planning rules. In most circumstances footpath furniture must be set back by at least 400mm. This is historically to prevent damage to car doors when opened. Trojan will always put chargers as close as possible to the pavement edge while staying within local planning constraints.

Will this get damaged by Cars and trucks mounting the kerb?

We have designed the charge points to withstand the rigours of life in the street. The chargepoint is engineered to meet the same standards as manhole covers. This means that cars, vans and even trucks can drive over the charger without damaging it.

While the charger is in use, the lance will typically be protected by presence of the EV itself.

What about a dog urinating on the lance? That is not hygienic to put it in my car.

All on-street charging carries the risk of antisocial residents allowing their dogs to urinate or foul on cables, and for Trojan technology this also includes the lance. Both the lance and cables are built robustly and contaminants that rain do not wash away can be cleaned using a hose or jet wash. Our lances are also supplied with a washable bag for storage.

Are you not just making it worse for EV drivers by creating a new connection type and forcing them to carry the lance in their car in addition to their other charging equipment?

The lance is a solution for charging near to home - it’s home charging in public, not public charging. As such, it’s possible to limit charging to local residents only as each system can be configured to accept lances from that street, or district, or city - depending on local authority requirements refined in conjunction with those residents. The lance itself can be stored in the car or in one’s property, but it is not intended to be used to access public charging away from one’s home. In any case, it is likely that Trojan users from one area would not be able to use Trojan chargepoints in another area. Many of our systems are installed in controlled parking zones and so non-residents cannot park there, thus making it important to restrict access to the chargers as well.

The lance offers the ability for EV owners access to fast on-street charging on their doorstep in a way that no other technology is capable of. We deliver the number one requirement for EV drivers who park on-street: reliable access to numerous chargepoints where they park. Feedback from early users is overwhelmingly positive. They love it because it delivers charging right outside their property without the need to make a special trip somewhere else.

Why is public charging so expensive compared to driveway charging? Surely this is discriminatory and overcharging the consumer without driveways?

Although the price of installing driveway chargers is supported by government subsidies, a cost of £1000 is not uncommon, and this needs to be taken into account when comparing to the costs of charging in public, where there is no up-front cost.

In order to access the lowest off-peak electricity prices, customers have to agree to some higher peak time pricing, cooking dinner or having a morning power shower at up to 35p/kWh

It’s true that on-street charging is more expensive to install due to the requirement for more specialist equipment, civils work (laying cables in new underground ducts) and new electricity connection costs. These costs are only partially offset by current government grants (which are also only short-term), and therefore public charging providers must be commercially viable to attract investment in order to provide charging at the scale required to allow every car in the UK to become an EV.

There will never be an upfront cost to access the Trojan charging system, and while our kWh prices can vary slightly depending on the preferred model of local authority partners, it will always deliver a significant saving against fuelling an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle.

Why do we need this when we have Lamppost Chargers, pop-up chargers, Rapid charging hubs, traditional charge posts and wireless charging coming soon? This is just another thing to further confuse the EV buying public?

Moving away from petrol and diesel vehicles to EVs is a massive undertaking, and with less than a decade until the end of petrol and diesel vehicle sales, a huge amount of infrastructure must be installed over the next 10 years. Different problems will require different solutions. Our technology is designed to solve a specific problem, the plentiful supply of high power AC chargers for residential streets where lamp post charging is either not possible at all, or cannot cover the requirements for power or the number of chargers. Other solutions are better suited to car parks or motorway stops.


General EV and charging FAQ

How far can I travel in an electric car?

Driving range for electric cars varies between models, and also depends on whether you choose a fully electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid. Most cars have an advertised range of around 100 miles, and some are over 300 miles. For more information about electric vehicle ranges please see here.

What about rapid chargers?

Rapid chargers are not included in the Trojan trial. There are rapid chargers nearby where you can charge a car to 80% in around 20 minutes depending on the model. For information on local chargers please visit Zap Map and apply filters.

Not all vehicles can use a rapid charger - so check your car’s compatibility before planning your journey.

What if I can’t find somewhere to charge my electric car?

There are electric car chargers all across the UK and you can even use a journey planner to help you plan a long journey via charge points on the way. There are a number of these available so it worth having a look to see which one you like best:

Zap-Map’s route planner

Pod Point route planner

PlugShare's Tesla route planner

How can I get a home charger installed?

If you have a driveway or other off-road parking you can get a home charger from many different companies. You can also get help from the government towards the cost. See information on this grant on the Government's website.

What are the cost benefits of using an EV and charging at home?

Please read this Blog Post that compares the cost of and the running of an electric vehicle to a petrol car.

I don’t have a driveway; how can I charge an electric car?

The STEP trial is helping to make this possible! When the trial is finished, Trojan Energy will begin installing many more chargers on streets around London.

If you are thinking about getting an electric car in the future and would like to suggest your street for a charger once the trial is complete, you can let us know by getting in touch or request an install.