The inclusive and sustainable design was launched yesterday (Weds) at COP26.
The project - commissioned by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in August 2021 - supports local authorities up and down the country by providing a blueprint of good design standards for electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints. It has been designed to enhance the charging experiences of residents, businesses, and visitors alike.
EV chargepoints are an increasingly common feature across the UK but positive action is now needed to encourage wider adoption. User experience will take centre stage, ensuring that chargepoints are easily locatable, and that interfaces are consistent across regions and locations, so that EV drivers across the country are confident they can charge their vehicles simply and efficiently. The ambition of this project is to develop a concept design that could become as recognisable as the red post box or black cab and accelerate the UK government’s transport decarbonisation plan.
PA developed the new design from research, through concept, to prototype by leveraging its world-class innovation capabilities and facilities. This meant bringing together its expertise in human insights, exceptional product design and engineering capability, and vast experience of the EV ecosystem to create a design with inclusivity and accessibility at its heart.
There were six principles that guided the design of the chargepoint; not only did the end product need to be functional, inclusive, sustainable, adaptable and affordable, but people had to love it. With this in mind, the chargepoint has an instantly recognisable circular handle, and the materials, size and colour help it to blend into the UK’s diverse surroundings, whilst remaining visible for EV drivers. The design is influenced by heritage street furniture, brought into the 21st century via smart technology, materials and form.
To achieve this design, PA engaged an inclusive group of existing and potential EV drivers from across the country to understand their challenges, as well as getting the perspective of more than 30 different organisations in the EV space - from chargepoint manufacturers and operators, to local authorities and consumer groups such as Motability. This work complemented the government’s consumer experience consultation and ensured the design was aligned with accessibility standards, infrastructure strategy and local authority guidance. The end product is a visible emblem to help position the UK at the forefront of advances in EV manufacture, charging infrastructure and battery technology.
Dan Toon, design and innovation expert at PA Consulting said: “Great design has the power to bring the electric revolution to life. Combining our end-to-end innovation expertise with a focus on human-centric design principles, we spoke with motorists, consumer groups and industry to draw out the real needs of people and businesses and design a chargepoint that combines practicality and inclusivity. The value of design isn’t just in creating a brilliant product, but in solving problems and changing behaviours.
“Our approach put the consumer at the heart of the design; rapidly iterating and testing with real people at each milestone. This is just the start. Design has a critical role to play in the journey towards Net Zero.”
Warwick Goodall, transport expert and project lead at PA Consulting added: “It is incredibly exciting to unveil the new design concept at COP26. Combining functionality and inclusivity, this design will have a profound impact on how we think about charging EVs and accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles. Ultimately, this is essential to deliver the reduction in carbon emissions and meet our climate change commitments.”