Frequently Asked Questions

HOSTS OF CHARGE MY STREET EV CHARGEPOINTS

Q: What’s the aim of Charge My Street?

A: The ultimate aim is to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the UK by encouraging more people to use electric vehicles. We will focus on two ‘areas’: rural areas and areas in which there are significant numbers of homes without driveways or off-street parking, particularly terraced housing and flats. We want to ensure that everyone living in urban and rural areas is within a 5 minute walk of an EV chargepoint. Our project also wishes to test new ways of funding electric vehicle chargepoints through community ownership, based on the existing ‘Charge My Street’ model. In some instances, we will also be testing how renewables can be integrated with the chargepoints.

Q: Why should I choose your electric vehicle chargepoints rather than one from a different provider?

A: Because we want the transition to a low carbon world to be fair, not just rapid, our chargepoints are owned by the community. This ownership allows people an important stake in their own future and provides confidence that the installation and management of the chargepoint will not financially exploit the host. Our EV chargepoints and mobile phone software is designed by market leaders to ensure compatibility across the UK and Europe. And once the installation phase is complete, we won’t just disappear like some other providers – we’ll be there to maintain the chargepoints and to support a network of ‘chargepoint champions’ to help users. So whilst you might not make a ‘fast buck’ out of us, we won’t be making a fast buck out of you either! Instead, we can both focus on making a real and fair difference to our community and our planet.

Q: How do I register my interest and find out more about what’s on offer?

A: Register you interest through chargemystreet.co.uk  Simply click on the ‘Host’ link and fill in your details together with the location of where you would like to install a chargepoint in your community or premises. (Please check ‘Essential Criteria’ to check that you’re eligible!).    

Q. Where can I get more information?

A: Please read all of the Frequently Asked Questions first – you’ll probably find the answer below! If you then need additional information, you can call one of the project officers: If you live in County Durham, please call Tracy Millmore, Electric Vehicle Project Officer on 03000 268034. If you live anywhere else, please call 01524 881227 and ask for Ady Powell.

Q: What sort of help is available?

A: Charge My Street and its partners may be able to install, operate and manage up to two fast chargepoints at your property, depending on eligibility. Once you have registered, then a project officer will get in contact to discuss your ambitions, as well as the opportunities and challenges you might face. One of our staff may then carry out an initial site survey to assess the viability of your site for a fast charger or chargers. The project may be able to fund up to 100% of the cost of installation (see next question) and carry out the physical installation. Drivers can charge their vehicles using our dedicated smartphone app. In special and limited instances, Charge My Street might also be able to support the integration of solar photovoltaics (solar PV) with battery storage and an EV chargepoint. Finally, the project will train ‘Chargepoint Champions’ at many sites to raise the profile of the chargepoint(s) and to answer any questions that users might have.

Q: How much will it cost our organisation?

A: The aim of this project is to ensure that the cost of installation and operation is ‘cost neutral’ to you and your organisation; in many cases, there will be no cost at all to chargepoint hosts. We will ask you to help us raise funds for the installation through pledges to your site (see ‘Share Offer’ FAQ), while existing investments can be put towards the initial capital costs.

Q: How do we know we can trust Charge My Street?

A: Charge My Street is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and has been registered with the FCA since 2018. The rules governing the company state that once the cost of capital is repaid together with any operational costs, then any ‘profit’ (known as a ‘surplus’) must be redirected for the benefit of the community. Members may receive an annual interest payment on their loan, within the limits of a Community Benefit Society. In this regard, Charge My Street creates a circular economy of investment and benefit.

 

ABOUT YOUR ORGANISATION AS A POTENTIAL HOST OF AN EV CHARGEPOINT:

Q: Who is potentially eligible to receive support from Charge My Street?

A: Any organisation (community, local authority, business, school, health centre, shop, pub etc.) can be a chargepoint host, but you do need to meet the essential criteria below:

Q: What are the ESSENTIAL CRITERIA for being a potential EV chargepoint host?

A: The essential criteria for hosting an EV chargepoint are:

  • There is a reliable mobile signal at the site and / or open broadband available.
  • You are able to confirm with certainty (i.e. Land Registry documents etc.) that you own the site or have permission from the owner to host an electric vehicle chargepoint.
  • Off-street car parking is available for at least two EVs at the site.
  • You are happy to allow the public to use the EV chargepoint(s) overnight and usually during the day.
  • In order to make the installation viable, you need to have some rationale why you think the chargepoint would be regularly used by the public, not just on rare occasions. For example, you may be in an area with limited off-street parking, where residents have expressed an interest in access to EV charging and, you are in an area of high tourism, your car park is well-used, or you are part of a popular EV car club.
  • You need to be able to demonstrate that there is support for hosting the chargepoint within the community / organisation / neighbourhood. For example, you could demonstrate positive feedback from discussions with local residents or EV users, with the parish council, local authority or within your organisation. We need to know it’s not just you who wants a chargepoint!
  • You have read the Charge My Street contract (link) and are happy to sign the contract.
  • Finally, you or someone local in your community or organisation is happy to serve as a ‘Chargepoint Champion’ willing to work with Charge My Street to support the process of installation and the initial functioning of the chargepoint, to report any issues and to provide information to local users if necessary. There will be training and support material provided, as well as Charge My Street online and phone support.

Q: Once I know we can meet the essential criteria, what happens next and how long will the process take?

A: Firstly, if you meet the essential criteria, register your interest through chargemystreet.co.uk. A Project Officer will then contact you within 3 weeks of you registering an interest.

Following discussion with a Project Officer, we will then arrange for a technical site visit to assess the requirements and cost of the install. We will notify you within 4 weeks of the technical site visit of whether we are able to help you.

Q: If our site is suitable for hosting a chargepoint and we sign the lease agreement with Charge My Street, what happens next?

A: Once the lease agreement and supporting documents are signed to indicate a formal go-ahead, we will begin preparing for installation of the chargepoint, including procuring the necessary equipment and planning a realistic work schedule.

The time this will take us can vary depending on a range of factors, including:

  • the level of complexity of the installation
  • whether a new electrical supply connection is required
  • availability of groundworks contractors
  • our prior commitments on other site work elsewhere

Throughout our planning we will keep you fully informed so that you are aware when work is due to take place at your premises, and what will happen during the installation phase, aiming to ensure that we minimise any disruption to you and users of your site over that period. We will also continue to liaise with you if we have any further questions or need to revisit to check any aspect of the site prior to beginning work.

The work on site may be completed by one or more groundworks and installation contractors on behalf of Charge My Street. Ahead of starting the installation, we can supply you with an up-to-date RAMS (Risk Assessment & Method Statement) documentation, outlining in detail how the work will be carried out.

Q: How many chargepoints could be supported at any one site?

A: As a guide, you should expect that we would pay for up to two fast chargepoints.

Q: Who will maintain the chargepoint?

A: If you are in County Durham, Mer will maintain the chargepoint.

Outside of County Durham, Charge My Street will maintain the chargepoint.

Q: Who will actually own the infrastructure?

A: In County Durham, Mer and Durham County Council will own the infrastructure.

Outside County Durham, Charge My Street will own the infrastructure.

Q: What is a ‘Chargepoint Champion?’

A: If you want to help improve the environment, reduce CO2 emissions and help switch more people to quieter electric transport then you would make a great Chargepoint Champion.

Charge My Street is supporting local people like you to get electric vehicle charging points into towns and villages like yours across the North of England. 

We are looking for people who can:

      • spot parking spaces where we could potentially put local chargepoints

      • talk to local people – asking local businesses, churches, community centres, halls, pubs etc. if they would like a free chargepoint

      • explain the benefits and drawbacks of electric cars to neighbours, friends, colleagues

      • put leaflets through doors and posters up around your neighbourhood

      • help decide where their community chargepoint will be located

Q: If the chargepoint is hosted on private property, will the host be expected to allow public access to the chargepoint?

A:  Yes, this is essential. However, as outlined above (see ‘What are the essential criteria for being an EV chargepoint host?’) access can be limited to specific times of the day if required.

Q: What is the nature of the Lease?

A: A 7 year lease, with peppercorn rent.

Hosting a chargepoint

Q: What if the chargepoint is damaged?

A: Charge My Street has a maintenance agreement for chargepoints to be repaired or replaced. In the unlikely event that a car is damaged from using a faulty chargepoint then our public liability insurance will cover the costs of repair.

Q; What if a car is left overnight and not picked up in the morning, taking up parking spaces?

A: Site hosts will get contact details for local members, so they can contact them directly if the vehicle is blocking access. Members that do not comply will have their membership withdrawn.  

 

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS:

Q: Who pays for the electricity that is used, how is this measured and how is this paid for?

A: The EV driver will pay for the electricity he / she uses automatically through a smartphone app. Every time a car charges, the amount of electricity is automatically recorded. If a new electricity supply is installed at your site, the costs of electricity will be covered by Charge my Street. If the chargepoint is piggy backing on your electricity supply, at the end of each quarter, we will provide you with details of the electricity we have used at your site, so you can invoice us for the electricity used.  We will then send payment equivalent to the cost of electricity used by Charge My Street (i.e. what you get charged by your electricity user, we will reimburse you for) – so it will not cost you anything, nor will you profit from the use.

Q: Should the host expect to receive rent for hosting the chargepoint?

A: No, but the host will receive a nominal peppercorn rent. The benefit to the host accrues in having an EV chargepoint installed for free or greatly subsidised, in having the EV chargepoint managed and maintained by Charge My Street or Mer/Durham County Council in County Durham at no cost, and in having the chargepoint regularly inspected and serviced, as required. The host can, of course, use the chargepoint for its own vehicles, and the chargepoint may make the site more attractive to customers and visitors. Charge My Street is registered with the FCA as a community benefit society – so any profits will be redirected back into communities.

Q: What is the role of a share offer in this project?

A: The share offer serves a number of purposes. Firstly, it helps to raise additional funds for Charge My Street which then allows Charge My Street to purchase additional chargepoints. A successful share offer also demonstrates the viability and strength of the model of community ownership of assets to the UK government. Finally, the share offer helps the team at Charge My Street to evaluate where the strength of community support for the EV chargepoint is greatest, allowing the organisation to target resources and to prioritise installation.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS

See common myths… Youtube Video

Q: Surely this project is just getting more private cars on the road?

A: The aim of the project is to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality through the replacement of petrol and diesel engines with electric vehicles. Unfortunately the project funds don’t extend to improving accessibility to public transport or the promotion of walking or cycling, much as we support these as the first choice where they are available and accessible. Where communities are installing a chargepoint as part of a car share scheme, we will give additional consideration as this has the potential to decrease car ownership / use in our communities.

Q: I’m worried about the precious metals that are used in electric vehicles?

A: We are aware of concerns with the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries and fully support Amnesty International’s campaign for transparency within the battery supply chain - Amnesty article

 

TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS:

This project is focussed on the installation of chargepoints, not the merits of the large variety of electric vehicles on the market. You may find it useful to go to https://www.nextgreencar.com/ to learn a bit more about the choice on offer.  

Q: What are the different types of charger?

A: Rapid / Fast / Slow charging:

Rapid chargers provide high power EV battery boosts, usually found at service stations.

Fast chargers are more commonplace, allowing full EV charges between 3-8 hours.

Slow chargers charge at about the same power as a kettle, and can take 12 hours or more to fully charge an EV.  More details at https://www.zap-map.com/charge-points/

Q: Will your site be suitable for the installation of fast chargers?

A: We have set of criteria for choosing sites which we can discuss with you. In general terms, we are looking for sites with available parking spaces and 3 phase power.

Q: What will be the process of charging an EV at the chargepoints?

A: You park up, plug your car into the chargepoint and then open the app on your phone. If you have already registered, you select the chargepoint you are connected to and press start charge.

Power then starts to flow into the car and you can monitor how much electricity your vehicle has received in kWh. At the end of the charge, you unlock the cable from the car and it automatically releases from the chargepoint. You will receive a notification of how much electricity has been used.

Q: Will the software for mobile phones and these chargepoints be compatible with other chargepoint sites?

A: In time yes, as we and Fuuse - the app designed for us - negotiate roaming agreements with other networks. Fuuse is fully OCPI compliant, enabling it to talk to other software back-end systems that have the same compliance, and is also OCPP compliant, allowing it to talk to hardware that is similarly set up.

Q: Can we upgrade existing chargepoints through this programme?

A: Potentially we can look at upgrading older chargepoints if they no longer work or do not meet current requirements.

Q: How will EV users be charged for the electricity they use?

A: Customers will pay via their app (Mer in County Durham / Fuuse elsewhere) either on a subscription or “pay as you go” basis. There is also the option with Charge My Street sites to use a web payment facility, avoiding the need to download and install an app. Full details at: www.goincharge.com/uk/charge-on-the-go  chargemystreet.co.uk/charge

 

INVESTING (BUYING SHARES) IN CHARGE MY STREET

Q:  Why are you raising funds through a Charge My Street share offer, and how will shareholder funds be used?

A:  The purpose of the share offer is to attract investment to facilitate installation of new electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints. As a community benefit society, Charge My Street focuses on providing public EV chargepoints to residential areas where most people do not have their own driveway. We make use of off-street parking spaces at community centres or other venues that are generally empty at night, when most EV charging happens. See chargemystreet.co.uk/host for details of chargepoint eligibility criteria and host sites being considered for selection.  

Q: How does this help the environment?​

A: Transport is responsible for approximately a third of the UK’s carbon emissions and, unlike other sectors, emissions from transport have not reduced significantly since 1990. To tackle the climate emergency, we really need to cut back on our use of petrol and diesel. Part of the solution is to switch to EVs, which are more efficient than petrol and diesel vehicles, and which can be powered by electricity generated from renewable sources. However currently one of the main barriers to greater adoption of EVs in the UK is a lack of public chargepoints.

Q. How do I invest?

A: There are 3 ways to invest:

  1. Online at chargemystreet.co.uk/invest (preferred method)
  2. By cheque, made payable to Charge my Street Ltd., including a completed copy of the application form (final page of the share offer document). Please send the cheque and the signed form to Charge My Street, Office 5-2-14, White Cross Business Park, Lancaster, LA1 4XQ.
  3. By bank transfer to our dedicated Cumberland Building Society account (please include your surname in the transfer reference):
    Account number: 54243281
    Sort Code: 16-52-21
    Along with the bank transfer please also email a completed copy of the application form (final page of the share offer document) to us at hello@chargemystreet.co.uk.

Q. What are the minimum and maximum investments permitted?

A: The minimum investment is £100 and the maximum investment £15,000. 

Q. What are the financial returns? When can I expect a first interest payment / dividend?

A: Based on our detailed financial projections, we expect to be able to pay share interest of 2%, and - if use of the chargepoints increases over time as we expect - 5% after five years. 

Payment of share interest is subject to the financial performance of the Society and will be agreed at each AGM. You have the option for share interest to be credited to your share account as new shares, or paid in cash. Interest payment, or the option to withdraw capital, is not available until the investment as been in place for three years.

Q. Is my investment protected in any way? What financial or other risks are there?

A: No, your investment is not protected in any way and you should not invest if you cannot afford to lose the money. 

The directors have assessed the risks to Charge My Street. These include:

- competition from other chargepoint networks and/or little up take of electric cars resulting in low use of Charge My Street chargepoints so income is less than predicted. This is mitigated by promoting the chargepoints widely through local groups and direct marketing;

- difficulty in finding and reaching agreement with host sites means fewer chargepoints are installed, reducing income. This is mitigated by developing options on several sites so there are fallback positions if one drops out.

- managing and maintaining a complex network of chargepoints across Cumbria is mitigated by the automatic monitoring of sites and billing systems in place.

Q. As a shareholder do I have any public liability or other legal responsibilities? For instance what would be the consequence if a chargepoint gets damaged?

A: Your personal liability in all circumstances is restricted to the value of your shares. Charge my Street has public liability insurance.

Q. What happens if you don’t reach your share offer funding target?

A: Charge My Street will seek short term loans to cover any shortfall (more details available in the business plan). Details of the amount raised will be regularly updated on our website during the period of the share offer. 

Q. What are the tax implications of my investment in shares?

A: Shares issued as part of this share offer will be eligible for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). Under this scheme, eligible investors receive 50% tax relief against their investment, providing it remained in the society for 3 years. 

Applications for tax relief are made to HMRC by you, the investor, using a form that we will provide to you.  We cannot give any guarantees that you will receive it.

HMRC’s information site, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/venture-capital-schemes-tax-relief-for-investors explains the application procedures but, if you are unsure, please seek professional advice.

Q. When and how can I withdraw my money?

A: Shares cannot be sold, but after three years you can get your money back by withdrawing your shares from the Society. You do this by writing to the Directors enclosing your share certificate. There is a three month notice period on share withdrawals.

If the Society does not have funds available, the Directors can suspend the ability of members to withdraw their shares. Decisions to expand the number of chargepoints may also reduce the funds available to repay shares.  

Q. How will I know that shareholders’ funds are being managed responsibly? e.g. Annual reports, accounts, governance, Board of Directors, AGM, audits, scrutiny, etc.

A: Charge my Street publishes Annual Reports and produces Annual Accounts which are presented at the Annual General Meeting then submitted to the Financial Conduct Authority when they are approved. These reports are available on the Charge my Street website. At the Monthly Management Committee meeting, Directors review the performance of the Society. The Innovate UK funding, which comes to an end in January 2022, requires Charge my Street to have its expenditure and systems reviewed by an external auditor.

Q. Given that this share offer is part of a fixed-term project to install electric vehicle chargepoints, what will happen to shareholders’ funds once the project completes?

A: The shareholders funds will be used to install further chargepoints and providing working capital for the society.

Q. What happens to funds if a shareholder dies?

A: In the event of the death of a member, their personal representative can apply for withdrawal of their shares.  Such applications will be given priority by the Board.  Members can nominate someone to receive their shares in the event of their death, up to a value specified in the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, or any amending legislation.

 

What is the cost comparison between an EV and petrol car?

Money saving – low / free road tax, ULEV / congestion charge exemptions and lower ongoing maintenance costs are all good reasons to buy an EV. Fuel costs are lower than typical ICE vehicles, and can be further reduced by EV / overnight tariffs.

Vehicle

Internal combustion enginge

EV (home charge)

EV (rapid charge)

p/mile

11-20

2-5

8-10

 

JARGON BUSTER

ICE – Internal Combustion Engine, refers to diesel / petrol engine powered cars.

Hybrid – a vehicle with both an electric and fossil fuel powered drivetrain, but no means of plugging in to charge the battery pack. The battery pack is exclusively charged by regenerative braking, with the battery typically used at low speed, about town driving.

PHEV – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, cars with both an electric and fossil fuel powered drivetrain. Similar to a hybrid, but the battery pack can be charged by plugging in to a socket. “Electric only” ranges vary from 30 to 90+ miles on one charge. Similar to REx, Range Extenders are BEVs but with small petrol generators to top-up when the batteries run flat, rather than driving the wheels directly.

BEV – Battery Electric Vehicle, the main topic of this guide – cars with no engine, only an electric drivetrain powered by a battery pack. Ranges vary but are now upwards of 250 miles real-world range on a single charge!

kW – kilowatt, a unit of power, the rate of energy transfer.

kWh – kilowatt hour, a unit of energy. Charging speeds are stated in kW, and battery capacity in kWh.

AC – Alternating Current. Standard mains supply to UK houses.

DC – Direct Current, single-phase output. This flows from positive to negative from a battery.

Rapid / Fast / Slow charging – Rapid chargers provide high power EV battery boosts, usually found at service stations. Fast chargers are more commonplace, allowing full EV charges between 3-8 hours. Slow chargers charge at about the same power as a kettle, and can take 6-12 hours to fully charge an EV.

NEDC / WLTP – two different test cycles against which “range” is determined for a vehicle. WLTP is considered the most realistic (less optimistic) of the two.