The UK government has appointed the Royal College of Art (RCA) and PA Consulting to deliver an ‘iconic’ British chargepoint design to be unveiled at COP26 (hosted by the UK government) in Glasgow this November.
The hope is that electric vehicle chargepoints across the UK could become as recognisable on streets as the red post box or black cab.
A press statement released on the UK government’s media website said they could be seen on streets across the country from 2022. The chargepoints will be ‘functional and accessible for all users with sustainability at the heart of the design’.
This project gets underway as independently produced statistics from Zap Map reveal there are now over 25,000 public charging devices across the UK – a major milestone, which means that electric vehicle drivers are never more than 25 miles from a chargepoint on UK roads, the government said.
In the run-up to COP26, the UK government is calling on countries around the world to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, which – along with phasing out of coal power and halting deforestation – are crucial to keeping warming to 1.5°C. As part of that, having the right charging infrastructure in place is crucial.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Excellent design plays a key role in supporting our transition to zero emission vehicles, which is why I want to see EV chargepoints that are as iconic and recognisable as the British phone box, London bus or black cab.
“With less than 3 months to go until COP26, we continue to put the UK at the forefront of the design, manufacture and use of zero emission vehicles and their charging infrastructure, as we build back greener and call on countries around the world to similarly accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.
“The rollout will allow chargepoints to be more recognisable for drivers, helping to create awareness around the transition to EVs – and linking them to the iconic British designs of old that are recognised the world over.”
The announcement follows the launch of the UK government’s transport decarbonisation plan, published earlier this summer that sets out a path for the UK to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Clive Grinyer, Head of Service Design at the RCA, said: “This is an opportunity to support the design of a future icon that will be part of our national culture as we move towards a sustainable future. The RCA has been at the forefront of shaping our products, mobility and services for the last 180 years. We are delighted to be playing a role in the design of the total service experience to ensure a usable, beautiful and inclusive design that is an excellent experience for all.”
Warwick Goodall, transport and net-zero mobility expert at PA, said: “We know that excellent design has the power to dismantle barriers to growth and simplify the user experience, making the switch to electric vehicles more attractive, accessible, affordable and secure for drivers.
“PA has a strong legacy in product design, which is an integral part of our world-leading end-to-end innovation capability. The combination of PA’s world-class design team and the Royal College of Art brings the creative expertise to reimagine the EV chargepoint as an iconic piece of British street furniture.
“We look forward to working together with the public and industry on a design framework that will accelerate the chargepoint rollout ambitions and bring to life the electric vehicle revolution on our streets.”