With many European countries banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, cleaner modes of transport are needed.
As part of its “Road to Zero” strategy, the UK government, for example, has pledged that £1.5bn will be invested in ultra-low emission technology within the next three years - but to date only £100 million has been set aside for the building of unified charging points.
Many experts predict that there will be a chronic lack of infrastructure in the lead up to 2040 to cope with the mass move to electric.
With charging points being “blocked” by slow-charging hybrid cars, local authorities and private organisations (i.e. supermarkets, retail parks) need a reliable alternative if more drivers are going to be encouraged to make the move to electric.
Connected to a constant power supply and regularly serviced (as part of strict maintenance operations of all lighting networks) Shuffle columns can be installed in locations like car parks or motorway service stations - which need energy-efficient lighting anyway - and then used as both a primary charging point or an ‘overflow’ when all other charging points are in use.
Customers could pay for the energy they use and as most lighting networks are owned by local authorities, revenue generated can go back into the pot and invested elsewhere.
Some automotive companies - like Volkswagen - are developing mobile charging points which are ‘rented’ and delivered to places like shopping centres when drivers need a charge.
Instead of implementing costly separate charging units, a more effective solution is to build on the pre-existing lighting infrastructure to help the transition to a sustainable transport network; until the time comes when the battery technology in electric cars evolves to have a much longer lifespan and can be fast-charged.
Aside from EV charging, the Shuffle has numerous other features which can benefit drivers and transport networks as a whole.
Its CCTV module offers an additional layer of security for drivers who leave their cars unattended whilst charging, while its public address system can be used to effectively manage customer services.
Payments can be made online or via an app, with drivers benefitting from the Shuffle’s Wi-Fi coverage and the light ring can guide drivers to available spaces quickly.
If organisations wanted to take this a step further, the Shuffle columns could even be fitted with sensors to monitor pollution levels and provide valuable data about peak usage times for electric charging.
Quite a few Shuffle's integrating EV chargers are already installed across Europe - notably in towns like Otterweiser, Germany and Glucholazy, Poland and in the car parks of companies like Phoenix Contact and B-Solutions in Belgium.
More installations are planned for 2020 as the range of benefits this technology offers becomes more apparent.