We caught up with Giles Kinnersley, Head of Commercial at Connected Kerb, who explained how the EV charging point provider transforms commercial properties to become more sustainable, healthy and future-proofed.
It truly is an exciting time for the electric vehicle (EV) market. By the end of August 2021, there were 300,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads. Though this number may seem comparatively low to the number of vehicles with an internal combustion engine (ICE) on UK roads today, the number of electric cars in the UK has drastically increased in recent years.
In addition to this, the numerous government incentives, such as the 10-point plan designed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, have incentivized organizations to develop EV infrastructure to meet this growing demand. The Aurora Energy Research economic study predicts the number of cars on the road in Great Britain to grow to 17 million by 2024, which will require an acceleration in the adoption of EV infrastructure. The transition to EV poses a considerable challenge to the UK, which is notably behind other European companies in uptake.
One company that is championing the installation of EV infrastructure in the UK is Connected Kerb, whose passive infrastructure has disrupted the EV market. To understand the business’s role in this transition, we caught up with Connected Kerb’s Head of Commercial, Giles Kinnersley, whose department is responsible for deploying its solutions to workplaces, commercial, retail and leisure locations.
Kinnersley has been in EV business development, strategy, and solution sales since 2008. He has worked for large companies such as Schneider and startups in Dubai and the UK. He recalls that he was drawn towards Connected Kerb when he saw CEO, Chris Pateman-Jones, talk about the company’s solutions and ethos at an event. “It was the first EV company that I thought truly understood EV and the real user needs; Connected Kerb designs its solutions to be there for the long term, and it has the evidence to back itself.
You see, there is an assumption that Connected Kerb only offers on-street charging solutions, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is innovative, sustainable and future-proofed, and has so many valuable applications like workplaces, fleets, destination and residential, to name a few.” So when a recruiter approached Kinnersley with a job opening at Connected Kerb, he jumped at the opportunity. Kinnersley shares, “The team at Connected Kerb is a committed one, with passionate, very intelligent people, who share the same drive to do things properly and in a way that makes long term sense.”
In 2020, Connected Kerb swept up several awards last year, including Evies’ award for “Best On-Street Charging & Best New Product or Service”; 2020 Cambridge Wireless award for “Most Innovative Startup of the Year”; and Schneider Electric’s award for the “Net Zero Homes Programme.”
A competitive edge that Connected Kerb has is a modular solution that can withstand changes to the infrastructure in the future. “As an example,” Kinnersley says, “A client can switch out the charging socket to a wireless charging point using the same charging infrastructure.” This flexibility positions the solution as an adaptable one that is attractive to commercial developers, as the solution can grow and alter with the demand as the uptake in electric vehicles grows.
Connected Kerb can also provide its clients with a competitive edge in retaining staff and customers. “Being able to offer workplace or commercial charging is vital in attracting and retaining employees, and we’re going to see a lot more of this need by workers throughout. Employees will consider EV charging points as a ‘perk’ of a job presently, but they will become an expectation in the future as the uptake in EVs grow.” Kinnersley adds that this isn’t just the case for workplaces; hotels and holiday parks now offer search filters for EV drivers to search and filter for EV charging points. “For example, an EV driver going on holiday or travelling away for work will more than likely need that location to have an EV charging point, and as EV uptake increases, staying at a location like this will not be realistic without guaranteed and accessible on-premises charging.”
Reliability on the road and at the office
Kinnersley explains that charging points today are often unreliable, as many may be temporarily or seemingly permanently out of service. “As much as 40-50% of electric charging points may not be working at a given time, which is very bad for EV drivers. However, Connected Kerb has a really high uptime of at least 95%, positioning us as far more reliable than our competitors.” Kinnersley explains how essential it is that EV points are up and running, as many EV drivers will currently plan their routes around the availability of charging points.
He emphasizes that it is essential that charging points are available in commercial environments such as the workplace, as 60-70% of Britons do not have access to charging at home, as they do not have car parking spaces, sufficient power or are allowed to install a charging point at their home. “Workplaces being able to offer employees a place to charge their EVs is vital as employees are going to park in this space for about eight hours a day. As the uptake in EVs continues, people need access to low impact charging for low rates, as well as fast charging points.”
Kinnersley recalls an experience he had a few years ago at a charging hub in the US. “There were four rapid charging stations, and one was down. The impact this made on demand for the other three charging points was drastic. I had 14 people in the queue in front of me, each of them requiring 40 minutes to an hour, at least. We cannot afford to have this happen in the UK especially in busy locations.
We need charging available in parking spaces, and importantly, have an intelligent infrastructure that can communicate with end-users to inform them on charging times and availability.” Kinnersley also adds that Connected Kerb strives to support rural areas also. “There are many rural areas where there is no EV charging available at all, and it makes the transition to EV even more difficult. We’re striving to change that.”
Connected Kerb is continuously working to extend the longevity of its products to deploy a wholly sustainable solution. As a result, its part-recycled products have a longer life than the average infrastructure, which has a lifespan of up to 10 years. Longer-life products save businesses both money and disruption to business operations by preventing the need for new infrastructure. “There is a true desire here when we say that we want to be future-proofed and sustainable. We have a brilliant team here continuously innovating to ensure this,” says Kinnersley.
In addition to this, Connected Kerb seeks to use renewable energy as often as possible, supporting developments in becoming sustainability leaders. Its dynamic load management (DLM) ensures electricity is distributed most efficiently and safely, avoiding strain on the grid by working within existing power capacities. Furthermore, all charging is optimized to avoid expensive tariffs and to prevent the need for costly power upgrades.
“We work to support businesses in becoming more ethical and sustainable through the adoption of EV charging. This goes beyond the standard benefits of EV, such as reduced noise pollution and better air quality. It also allows a developer to add long term value to a project, as the uptake in electric vehicles will mean that properties without charging points will lose value to properties that do.
The longevity of the equipment means we can support sites for vastly longer than our competition. The industry has developed products like most electrical devices have historically been manufactured, with planned obsolescence. Our products not only last a long time but can also adapt to the inevitable changes to charging. A key example is Inductive Charging. If or when this becomes the norm, we can simply swap the cost-effective post and socket for an inductive charging pad.”
Kinnersley explains that Connected Kerb strives to differentiate itself from competitors by developing long term relationships with its clients. “Commercial is a very large sector, and we strive to ensure that our customers have the solution that suits them the best. This includes everything from commercial viability to user experience.”
Kinnersley explains that some of Connected Kerb’s projects with its clients will last up to 20, or 30 years, so clients must be supported and well educated in how the EV points work. “For some of our larger projects, we work on a project for two or three years before we place a charging point in the ground.
Locations such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle took six to eight months from the initial consultation. It can take much longer than this as there is so much to consider to ensure that the product is accessible future-proofed. Considerations range from ensuring that the product is ecologically and financially sustainable, through to ensuring that the points are located in a way that is accessible to the grid, and all end-users, including disabled users and parent and children parking spaces.”
He continues: “Whenever I bring a new client our solution, their reaction is always overwhelmingly favourable. This is because we provide a thorough consultation, as while we encourage the adoption of EVs, we want our clients to be sure that they are implementing an infrastructure built to last. This includes assessing the electrical capacity on-site, overlaying any renewable generation on-site, and understanding that the business allows us to put a phased deployment plan in place, backed by relevant data.”
One of Connected Kerb’s most successful projects is Cambridge Science Park, which installed EV charging points. Cambridge Science Park is home to over 100 companies that collectively employ 7000 individuals who work to develop life-enhancing products.
The installation of these points supports members of the Park who have no viable alternative to driving who would like to transition to electric. Connected Kerb installed the below-ground infrastructure for 18 charging points during the project’s first phase, with 12 initial charging points activated as demand is monitored. “We set up an initial network of charge points in the ground that is up and running,” explained Kinnersley, “Since then, we’re looking to expand our solutions to other businesses parkside.”
The installation of EV charging points is essential in improving air quality and reducing noise pollution. A study from Future Care Capital found that UK air pollution also contributes to asthma, depression, and mental health disorders, and so it is clear that the shift to electricity has a role in improving the mental health of Britons. It also found that air pollution deaths total around 40,000 annually in the UK, and 100,000 in the US, numbers that EV uptake can reduce. “The fostering of healthier communities is often an overlooked benefit in the EV market, especially in lower socio-economic areas, and we’re really trying to drive the development of charging points in these areas to increase the quality of the living space,” said Kinnersley.
As so often, one concern that many organizations have regarding the implementation of EV infrastructure is the financial aspect. “Our solutions are long life, and so we can offer solutions over 20 or 30 years. Given this, we have a strong institutional investment that will support this package.
We can offer our customers funding for a project with either revenue or a profit share split. If it is the latter, we have an initial period where we recoup our investment while the client receives a percentage. Once we’ve recouped our investment, we do a step change, where the customer gets a higher percentage of the profit share, and then we manage that project by assisting in driving the utilization of charge points.”
Kinnersley adds that Connected Kerb can offer high purchase and leasing on Capital Expenditure (CapEx) costs. “We can offer a monthly payment where clients can offset a payment with the revenue generated by charge points. And of course, we can do straight sales as well. Our modeling demonstrates what return on investment and profit revenue looks like, and this is why we’re winning a lot of major projects.”
Gearing up for the future
As Kinnersley and his team prepare for the future, he shares that major contracts will soon take place for Connected Kerb. “We’re about to announce a few major Premier League football clubs, as well as a really large project in Birmingham. So there’s a lot of good things happening.” In addition, he looks forward to working on more projects that “truly help people.” He said: “I look forward to seeing how more of our long-term projects evolve, and our relationships with our clients develop further.”
Kinnersley believes that there will be a much faster switch to EVs. “I think that within the next 10 years, we will see a transformative amount of EVs on the road, with 70% of the cars on the road being EV. I also think we will see a lot more seven-kilowatt charge points, both in the residential and commercial space in the UK.” Connected Kerb is a company that is always looking ahead, and this is reflected in its solutions. “We’re always considering the role of emerging technologies and the use of 5G and other IoT devices in enhancing our clients’ data to improve upon the end users’ experience.”
Kinnersley finishes by urging everyone to try EVs just once. “There are plenty of options where you can try an EV for a month to see how it suits you and fits into your routine. Few people feel that they want to return to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles after that, and many people I speak with share that they plan for their next car to be electric.”
About Giles Kinnersley, Head of Commercial at Connected Kerb
Giles Kinnersley is the Commercial Account Director at Connected Kerb and has been in the EV industry since 2008 with Schneider Electric and several start-ups. Giles has been instrumental in the strategy, launch and management of several successful EV businesses both in the UK and Internationally with a focus on driving business development, sales, account management, product development and securing partnerships with notable successes including partnerships with BMW and installations at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle as well as several international hotel and retail chains.
- How Connected Kerb is disrupting the residential sector
- Charging ahead: why electric vehicle infrastructure is key to boosting sustainability on our streets
- The future of smart cities
- How the UK using electric vehicles to achieve its 2050 net zero goals
About Connected Kerb
Connected Kerb are one of the UK’s leading charging point providers, delivering future-proof, cost-effective and sustainable EV charging solutions for the public sector, developers, fleets, workplaces, car parks and other organizations to help accelerate the transition to EVs for all. Its unique solution combines power and data at the kerb to deliver user-friendly and reliable charging and provide the foundation for connected cities and communities.
For more information visit www.connectedkerb.com/commercial-ev-charging