For most electric vehicle (EV) owners, home charging is highly convenient. They can simply plug in when they get home, set the start charging time for when off-peak power rates apply and have a fully charged battery by morning.
It is an easy routine that is both environmentally beneficial and cost-efficient.
The best set-up is when you can have your power outlet or charging point and parking space on your own property.
Unfortunately, many people have to make do with on-street parking which can make charging more complicated. They are forced to run their charging cable across the pavement that separates their property boundary from the parking spot.
This situation often feels awkward because EV owners know they are interfering with normal foot traffic- and there are several risks associated with doing so.
- By laying the cable across the pavement, drivers could cause someone to trip and fall, which they would be legally liable for if pedestrians were injured.
- If the cable is damaged and it is raining, there could also be an increased risk of
- Unsavoury characters could end up vandalising or stealing the cable, as it is not contained to your property and is therefore seen as worth the risk.
EV owners cannot be expected to stand guard over their cable and car during the charging process. Even with a fast charger that is recommended for domestic use, it can still take several hours to get a decent charge.
So how can you safely charge your car while using on-street parking?
How to Charge Using an EV Cable at Home with No Driveway?
If you are lucky enough to have your own driveway, then you have greater freedom and security in installing a charging station outdoors. You simply need to pick a convenient spot near where you park and run the cable from there.
If you do not have a driveway, however, then you need to find another option.
Charging with on-street parking
Confusion abounds in relation to the legality of trailing EV charging cables across public pavements to recharge your electric vehicles.
The Local Government Association (LGA) have told the publication This is Money that there is ‘no legislation that it is aware of’ that makes laying charging cables across pavement illegal, further explaining that drivers should always remove the cable when it is not in use as a way of reducing the likelihood of accidents.
However, they do emphasise that drivers should check with their council for specific rules in individual cases.
This general confusion puts final decisions firmly in the hands of the driver of the vehicle, who must decide if it is worth the risk or not.
Some drivers will surely continue to charge using on-street parking that is directly in front of their property. This ensures as short a distance as possible for the cable to reach your EV.
If drivers decide to run their charging cables across public footpaths, they could:
- Keep the cable lying flat against the ground to reduce the risk of someone tripping.
- Consider investing in a cable spiral wrap in a bright colour. This can help make the cable more noticeable and allow people to safely step over it.
The best tool may, however, be an external cable protector.
Usually used on construction sites, this gadget contains the cables as they run over the ground, providing good coverage over the cable, and creating a surface that is easy to walk over.
External cable protectors generally come with bright striped markings to help make them clearly visible to pedestrians. They are also very durable.
Moreover, because it covers the charging cable as it cuts across the pavement, it may even discourage animal activity that would damage the cable, including chewing, tugging, and attempts to move it by pawing or digging.
If the distance to be covered is more than your cable can accommodate, you will likely need to invest in a longer cable, or a Type 2 to Type 2 extension lead, tested and designed for outdoor use.
You should always avoid the risk of using an extension cable designed for domestic use, as it will not necessarily be weatherproof and may not have the capabilities to handle the increased electrical load, which can cause short circuits or even electrical fires.
You should also ensure that you never ‘daisychain’ together multiple extension cables, as this vastly increases the risk of short-circuiting, electrocution, and electrical fires.
Private on-street parking options
If you are not willing to lay your charging cable across the pavements, you will have to consider alternative solutions to recharge your electric vehicle.
This is likely to include private residential charging schemes or the Government’s on-street residential charging scheme.
Private residential charging
Companies such as Ubitricity are running projects that install lamppost chargers in residential areas, which motorists can pay to use. As with other charge point schemes, you will need to bring your own charging cable and pay for the electricity you use, typically by card.
To find your closest Ubitricity charge point, see the Ubitricity Charge Point Map.
The On-street Residential Charging Schemes (ORCS)
The UK Government’s ORCS grant allows for the installation of public access charging points, which are made available to local authorities and councils.
This may include a few different options, such as:
- Charging points installed into lamp posts.
- Free-standing or pillar EV charging.
- Retractable telescopic charging points in the pavement.
Local authorities apply for funding for the installation of charge points in residential areas, and if it is granted, charge points will be installed in areas of need.
If using one of these chargers, you will also need to bring your own charging cable and pay for the electricity you use.
Alternative Charging Solutions
If connecting your EV to a charging point near your property is difficult, then you may have to consider alternative charging solutions.
These are likely to include public EV chargers and workplace EV chargers.
Public EV chargers
Taking advantage of the many public EV charging networks is easy and simple, and some of them are even free.
This can be very convenient for those with short commute times that do not majorly deplete battery time daily. However, unless you access a free charging unit, the rates on some of these charge points are likely to cost more than home charging, with annual estimates expected at around 45% more.
Encourage your workplace to sign up for the Workplace Charging Scheme
Charging at work is also helpful if your employer has invested in charge points.
Many office buildings and commercial parking spaces feature charge points that have been installed with the benefit of grants from the UK Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme.
Many ways to charge
It is important to keep in mind that there are no legal restrictions or private licensing required to charge your car with a cable that lies across the pavement.
However, councils across the country retain the authority to remove cables in locations that they deem to be unsuitable or hazardous. Some councils are also strongly advising against using charging cables in this way at all.
As EVs become more popular, councils may see this as an opportunity to make changes to these policies, especially if private residential charging schemes prove viable.
Until the infrastructure needed is in place across the country or local authority rules change, electric car owners can continue to make individual decisions about how they charge their vehicles, including running cables across public footpaths.