Back in 2011, Dundee City Council started its journey in releasing only 100% electric vehicles to its fleet. In the ten years since releasing the first 4 cars, 24% of the Dundee fleet are now electric vehicles.
With this quick progress, our overall goal is for all cars and small and medium vans to be electric by the end of 2023, which we see as a realistic goal. Our changes and influence have inspired members of the public to make the transition to electric vehicles. We now hold 3 charging hubs around the city, with a 4th expected to be completed by March 2023. Our aim is to ensure charging infrastructure is easily accessible for EV owners so that the transition for new users can be made.
In 2016, Dundee successfully became an OLEV (Go Ultra Low) city providing comprehensive and innovative EV charging infrastructure. Dundee currently has 167 chargers and 313 charge points across the city, providing residents, Dundee City Council employees and varying institutions with a robust infrastructure for going electric. This includes 3 rapid charging hubs, 3 multi-storey charging hubs, on-street chargers and innovative pop-up chargers.
The focus of city projects has matured from providing a strong foundation of EV infrastructure to focusing on the sole use of renewable energy and moving away from dependence on the grid.
Our portfolio of projects contains 3 x charging hubs (with the 4th to be completed by the end of 2022), 3 x multi-storey charging hubs, and on-street chargers including pop up points.
We have introduced 3 key charging hubs which host mostly rapid chargers. These are in locations that have been suitably chosen due to their placement in Dundee as they can provide benefit to local residents.
Lochee Charging Hub
Lochee Charging Hub was the first of the 3 rapid charging hubs to be built using the ‘Go Ultra Low Cities’ funding programme. This was opened in April 2018 with the location based on commuter routes and was chosen based on the results of a questionnaire completed by the local taxi drivers asking for their opinions on where best to have the hubs situated.
This site consists of 8 x 50kw chargers and conducted more than 30,000 charging sessions in less than a year of opening, where the first week saw 100 visits from users and chargers were used over 700 times. In 2022, we upgraded the 50kw with contactless features for a straightforward charging experience and we ensured our chargers were inclusive to all.
The second hub is situated in Princes Street and was opened in July 2018 as the UK’s first purpose-built electric vehicle charging hub, featuring 18 bays of solar canopies, rapid charging units and an integrated energy storage system utilising second-life EV batteries.
This hub consists of 7 x 50kw and 2 x 22kw charging units. Renewable energy optimization ensures the best use of the on-site photovoltaic (PV) which provides 36kw of power with the battery renewable solution allowing 90kWh storage capacity.
The site delivered 24,000 charging session in its first year of opening and is future proofed to allow increased battery storage capacity and more powerful chargers.
Dundee’s Queen Street multi-model charging hub was built in December 2018 and opened in Broughty Ferry. The hubs consist of 6 x 50kw and 4 x 22kw with solar canopies across the bays. This hub’s energy supply is also future proofed for any additional chargers to be installed when needed.
This hub provides close links to public transport and has e-bikes to encourage drivers to engage in active travel and utilize public transport. This gives commuters the option to leave their car outside of the city centre, lessening potential congestion and unnecessary pollution.
A key feature of the hub includes an interactive charging video screen which combines electric vehicle charging information and data on prospective projects (e.g we have one coming up called ‘Hello Lamppost’).
Challenges of the Hubs
The main obstacles when building this network of charging hubs were the complex but necessary application processes including applying for meters and substations. Both involved unpredictable time constraints and lack of external communication. Our team have learnt to factor in delays when planning these works and how to operate around them more efficiently.
Multi-Storey Charging Hubs
Dundee also has three main multi-storey charging hubs, providing 60 additional chargers to the existing network. These projects focus on providing charging for the 51% of the Dundee population who live in multi-unit dwellings and don’t have access to dedicated off-street parking or on-street parking. Additionally, the aim of these projects is to support air quality improvements in some of the most polluted areas of the city. The central locations support wider economic interests also by enabling and encouraging emission free journeys into the city centre which has potential benefit to local businesses, tourists, shoppers and visitors.
Each site makes use of innovative dynamic load management. This enables variable charging of vehicles when grid demand is lower, helping reduce environmental impacts associated with electricity generation. It also ensures these sites are fully renewable, cleverly ensuring that vehicles are only powered by solar array by shifting the energy levels.
Greenmarket was the first of three multi-storey hubs built in Dundee and was opened in September 2019. The hub, which is situated at the top level of Greenmarket multi-storey car park, has 20 charging bays, with 7kw chargers, as well as solar canopies across the bays which provide up to 41kw of energy. The hub also uses a central system to control the charging points, an innovative development that is cheaper to manufacture and add to when necessary.
Opened in January 2021, Olympia multi-storey charging hub is located at the top level of the Olympia multi-storey car park, has 20 bays and 10 x 7kw chargers, all powered by solar array. The entire roof is covered in solar panels thus generating optimal energy to supply both the existing and potential future chargers.
Gellatly Street Multi-Storey car park opened in early 2022 and provides 20 bays with 10x 22Kw chargers, powered by 110kw of solar array. Again, the entire roof of this building is covered in solar providing energy for existing and future chargers.
One of the main challenges surrounding these projects included assessing the structural integrity of each site when installing solar on each roof. The structure of each individual car park differed in its ability to take the weight of the solar. Greenmarket was successfully fitted with solar canopies but due to difficulties at the Gellatly and Olympia sites, canopies weren’t possible. To find a solution, we worked closely with funders and successfully installed the same amount of solar but simply as solar panels instead of including the additional canopies.
On- Street Charging
Dundee City Council was awarded funding as part of an Innovate UK project with the aim to design, build, install, educate and trial innovative pop up chargers in Dundee and Plymouth.
The £3m project aims to trial innovative pop up EV chargers that are built into the ground and only rise up when in use, providing a safe and discreet charging solution for EV drivers who don’t have access to off-street charging. The Urban Electric charge points are designed for convenient kerbside parking for use of residents, visitors and commuters.
The installation of these 26 pop-up chargers aim to combat charging issues in residential areas, including aiding residents that don’t have access to off-street parking. We have also installed pop-up chargers to respond to the issues with street clutter which deem to be a great success by operating effectively with the existing environment. These can be found in multiple locations around the city at the Waterfront, South Victoria Road, Blackness Avenue, Findale Street, Dudhope Terrace, Yarrow Terrace, and Early Grey Site.
Drive Dundee Electric Campaign
Due to the significant effort in marketing and promoting EVs across the city, Dundee City received an award in 2018 for “most EV visionary city in Europe” at a ceremony held by the World Electric Vehicle Association in Japan.
The Drive Dundee Electric campaign is aimed at the residents and businesses of Dundee. As well as promoting e-mobility and providing support and advice, the campaign tracks and shares the charging data to the public in order to be transparent about the progress of e-mobility within the city.
In November, Drive Dundee Electric Campaign hosted the global EVI Pilot City Forum 2021, in collaboration with the International Energy Agency. The conference was a huge success, encouraging international collaboration, networking and the exchange of lessons learnt.