The photo above - click on it to see a larger version - is debatably the most bland, uninteresting and seemingly pointless photograph to grace the start of my weekly Blog entry in a very long time indeed. Never fear, there is reason behind the apparent madness. The two metal posts are located in the Eastern end of Morrison's car park in Erith. They are the first stage in the installation of two rapid chargers for EV's - Electric Vehicles. This marks a start of wide scale deployment of electric vehicle fast charging stations in all major supermarket chains around the UK. I spoke to the engineers on site on Tuesday afternoon, and they told me that the work to install and commission the two new points would take between two and three weeks to complete. The number of EV's in the local area is growing rapidly, and this will no doubt be something which will only increase with time. There is some confusion regarding the different types of EV charger available, and what their capabilities are. I will explain. A slow charger usually means a domestic three-pin plug (up to 3kW), and would take more than 12 hours to fully charge an electric car. A fast charger, typically found at a workplace or public location, will take the ‘Type 2’ seven-pin plug attached to the charging cable in your car and will have an output of 3.6kW, 7kW, 11kW or 22kW. Depending on the charger’s power and what your car can accept, a charge will generally take between one and six hours. Rapid chargers, also called quick chargers, will have a plug of their own that attaches to your car, and can charge in an hour or less. While lesser chargers all output AC electricity, most rapid chargers give DC. AC rapid chargers have an output of 43kW, while DC rapid chargers have an output of 20kW-50kW, although installation of 150kW and 175kW chargers has begun in the UK. These can recharge the latest electric cars in just 45 minutes. Tesla has a network of its own ‘Superchargers’. In the UK, these are capable of dispensing 145kW, although the firm’s current cars can only accept up to 120kW. In Europe, a consortium of major car manufacturers has begun installation of 350kW capable chargers. These could result in EVs being charged in as little as five minutes. The National Grid conducted a study into installing 100 of these across England and Wales and found that this would put 90% of drivers within 50 miles of such a charger. The chargers would be wired directly into the electricity transmission network, rather than local grids, dispelling concerns about power shortages. You might wonder why manufacturers and the press often quote a charging time to 80%, rather than 100%. This is firstly because not fully charging each time extends the life of the battery, and secondly because the last 20% takes longer to complete relative to the first 80%.
One worrying trend is now coming to light; homeowners are deliberately failing to report minor crimes in their area, because they fear that doing so could damage the value of their property. Now that there are several online services featuring interactive online crime maps, homeowners are turning a blind eye to minor crimes, raising fears that the interactive maps are actually distorting official crime statistics. A recent survey found that half of households had been the victim of minor property crime, such as vandalism or theft from a garden shed. Two thirds of the people surveyed said that they did not report the incident to the Police. One in twelve said that their motivation for not reporting the crime was the worry that it might adversely affect local house prices. Official statistics show that the crime rate in England and Wales fell by seven percent last year, to the lowest figures since 1981. Studies in the U.S.A show that higher crime rates depress house prices. Since 2011 the Police have mapped every incident of recorded crime online, where users can see exactly how many crimes and the type of offence committed on every street in Britain. More than half of prospective house owners check the website before they buy, and almost two thirds said that they would not buy a property in an area with a crime rate that was higher than average. The study was undertaken by the property maintenance company Aspect.co.uk. The figures have raised concerns that crime mapping may be encouraging criminals and distorting crime statistics. What do you think? Have you encountered this kind of behaviour?