The STEP Solution
The ‘Standard Terminal for an EV Point’ (STEP) solution or ‘Neutral-Host’ (N-H) concept has been developed from the ideas being applied to the roll out of 5G projects. When applied to EVCPs, the principle is that the design, installation and operation of a CP network is sub-divided into elements with differing risk profiles and each element is associated with a different stakeholder who has a different appetite for risk.
In the long term, it will provide a steady revenue generating asset for the Local Authorities who will then be able to pass over the customer facing complexities to competing private sector companies as Electric Vehicle become more and more a part of everyone’s everyday lives.
The STEP concept allows LAs to work with the DNO provider (Northern Powergrid) who invest in the time consuming but low-risk elements of the EVCP network – the electricity connection, the identification of community sites and the relevant planning and asset permissions. This work will provide a portfolio of STEP sites. This upfront work will be done in collaboration between the Local Authorities, communities and the DNO but mainly funded by OZEV. Once completed, these STEP sites will provide a platform for the private sector suppliers to then compete for all the above ground customer facing activities relating to physical charge posts, payment systems, apps, advertising and services for users.
The innovation lies in the business model. The partners will deliver a collaborative model to combine the LA regional “top down” approach with the “bottom up” demand from communities. The N-H model borrows from 5G infrastructure roll out — splitting the layers of a chargepoint site and value chain across different actors, corresponding with their appetite for risk and innovation.
If the STEP solution works, it will help local authorities overcome one its biggest challenges when coordinating the installation of new chargepoints, namely the connection with the DNO. Assuming national (OZEV) funding support continues to be focused on local authorities, the N-H approach means this support can be targeted at the low risk, but fluctuating costs elements of the charge point – i.e., the section between the DNO connection and the base of the charge point. OZEV could consider providing funding based on a % of these DNO costs – and leave the funding of the commercial elements, the actual equipment and customer interface to commercial service providers. How successfully REVUP liaises with its DNO provider (Northern PowerGrid) will be a key measure in the success of this project and how we can overcome this current barrier.