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EV Baywatch: Turck Banner takes charge in tackling infrastructure challenges

Author : Sophia Bell, Group Editor

07 September 2023

The rapid surge in electric vehicle (EV) adoption is undoubtedly shaping the future of transport. However, as the world shifts towards greener mobility, a pressing issue persists: the shortage of public charging infrastructure to facilitate it.

The Government’s ‘Taking charge: the electric vehicle infrastructure strategy’, published on 25 March 2022, promised that every motorway service area will have “at least six rapid chargers by the end of 2023, with some having more than 12.” 

With under four months until the Government’s stated deadline, however, there is a growing concern that these goals will not be met in time. In fact, as of May 2023, less than a quarter of motorway services in the UK met the target number of chargers required to serve the country's growing fleet of battery electric vehicles, according to a report from the RAC. As a result, the need for innovation in the EV charging space has never been more critical.

Enter Turck Banner…

The current EV charging landscape

As the number of electric vehicles on UK roads continues to grow exponentially, the demand for reliable and accessible charging infrastructure becomes increasingly evident. 

While there are apps to help users find available charging stations, they often lack real-time data on charger occupancy and expected wait times. This lack of data poses a challenge in understanding the demand and usage patterns of EV charging facilities, as well as fanning range anxiety in drivers.

To tackle this issue, Turck Banner is offering a compelling solution. Inspired by the efficiency of drive-thrus, the company aims to create a queuing system for EVs.

Turck Banner's vision

Turck Banner's solution is simple: rather than requiring extensive civil engineering, all that is needed is efficient data collection. 

As the EV market expands beyond early adopters, new challenges emerge, such as so-called ‘charge rage’ incidents, where disputes over charging point usage escalate into confrontations.

Turck Banner is working alongside EV charging companies like VCI to help mitigate such frustrations through the use of sensors. These can monitor charging current to detect vehicles that are parked but not actively charging, as well as those that remain connected beyond a full charge.

This information can be used to:

• Provide an external indication (e.g. through the use of a simple traffic light) that the driver has been seen and is being monitored, which encourages correct use. This can be expanded to full bay illumination in red and green, or any other colour. 

• Create visual charging information using multi-segment LED lights. This can indicate charging current, the percentage of full charge, the time for which the charger has been used, and the time remaining. 

The latter information is especially useful to users waiting for a charger – seeing this information from within their vehicle allows them to estimate how long the wait will be. There is also a sustainability angle here: the number of drivers aimlessly searching for available charging spaces will be reduced, meaning fewer emissions.

To trial the effectiveness of such a system, Turck Banner has been collaborating with local councils, including Hounslow and Middlesex, to collect data on charger usage, queue lengths, and instances of misuse. 

The collected data can be transmitted either to the equipment operator or supplier through the charger system or via the GSM technology integrated into Turck Banner's equipment. 

Alerts can also be sent to traffic wardens or relevant authorities to combat the problem of spaces being occupied by non-charging vehicles and crack down on misuse. 

The road ahead

As the EV industry continues to evolve and expand, adaptable and forward-thinking solutions are essential. Turck Banner's innovative approach is certainly a step in the right direction. 

While the global transition to electric vehicles promises a greener future, it is imperative that the public charging infrastructure keeps pace with the increasing demand. Companies like Turck Banner play a crucial role in ensuring a seamless and efficient EV charging experience, contributing to the broader goal of reaching net zero.

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