An ubitricity lamppost charger at night, which was requested using the ubitricity request a public EV charge point form as EV drivers more and more search for "charging points and charging stations near me."

How to get best value for money from on-street residential EV charging tenders: A guide for Local Authorities on making the most of LEVI funding

Sep 6, 2023

Local authorities play a crucial role in EV adoption through creating easy-to-use, accessible charging infrastructure for their communitiesHowever, funding pools are limited. The Low Emission Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund, launched by the government in early 2023 aims to improve the roll out and funding of local charging infrastructure. Read our LEVI fund guide and learn how to make the most out of it.
LEVI helps English local authorities collaborate with the charge point industry. The goal is to enhance the equitable and fair rollout of local charging infrastructure, putting a specific focus on drivers who don’t have access to a home charge point,
The LEVI fund is a fantastic resource for local authorities to bolster their charging infrastructure, but the application for funding puts a large emphasis on ensuring any EV rollout provides value for money. You may be wondering, what does value for money mean for an EV infrastructure project?
In this blog post, we will explore six essential ways that local authorities can demonstrate value for money when formulating their EV charge point strategies.



1. Choosing the Right Charging Speed 


Understanding EV charging patterns is essential for optimal charge point deployment. EV charging is worlds apart from traditional petrol and diesel refuelling. The main difference is the time it takes to recharge. Even a quick top-up changes from 5 minutes at the fuel pump to +20 minutes at a rapid charger. When local authorities start to plan their EV strategies, some can fall into the trap of thinking that residents would only want to access rapid charging. But that isn’t the case. A 20-minute wait is different from a 5-minute wait, and most residents would prefer not to wait at all.  
The average car is driven just 4% of the time, for the rest of the time the car or van is either parked at home (73%) or parked elsewhere (23%), for example at work [2]. 8 million households in the UK, and just under a quarter (24%) of households in England, don’t have access to off-street or private parking. As a result, the majority of the time their car is parked on the street [3].

When designing their EV strategy, councils should look for technologies that target this idling time
. That way, they can focus on installing enough of these chargers to facilitate easy on-street charging. Depending on the number of households and EV uptake in the area, each street might require anywhere from 2 to 20 charge points. With potentially hundreds of streets in need of charging infrastructure, the total number of required charge points can quickly exceed a thousand. Local authorities can consider different options based on an assumed budget of £1m:

(*prices may change dependent on project parameters)  


20-25 x 50 kW
single rapid
charge points
(own costs).




60-75 x 7-22 kW
dual fast
charge points
(own costs). 


700-800 x 5 kW
single lamppost
charge points
(own costs). 

For a budget of £1m, you could roll out 20-25 rapid single charge points, or 60-75 7-22kW fast dual charge points, or 700-800 5kW single lamppost charge points.

There is a lack of literature on the topic of lamppost charging and value for money. As a result, we have seen councils specifying +7kW charge points in tenders for residential charging. Most lamppost charge points provide between 4 to 7kW. However, it’s important to be aware that the charging infrastructure should reflect the existing energy supply and dwell time. Whilst service stations or car parks only used for short stays should include rapid chargers, the dwell time is much longer for residential parking. It would be a waste of resources and energy to provide residents with rapid charging in under two hours when they usually stay parked for 8+ hours.


2. Ensuring your network will stay up and running

To achieve value for money, it is essential that your charging network operates as close to 100% reliability as possible. This requires a two-pronged approach: 

  • Reliable Hardware: Street environments are harsher than typical charging hubs or parking lots. Chargers on streets are exposed to the elements and face a higher risk of damage. Therefore, selecting robust and durable charging hardware is crucial.

  • Choosing a reliable network operator with a proven track record: The charge point industry is booming with different solutions. Partnering with network operators who have proven their reliability at scale can significantly enhance charger uptime. A provider with a track record of maintaining consistent and reliable operations can ensure the best value for money.


3. Open Infrastructure Access for All – ensuring your return on investment

The end goal for any public EV charging network should be to have a high level of utilisation by the general public. After all the goal is to encourage local residents to switch over to EVs. 

On-street charging infrastructure should be open and easily accessible to all EV drivers. If users need to buy or lease special hardware to use the charge point (e.g., bespoke or non-standard hardware that connects the car to the charger), it creates barriers to entry and limits the number of users who can access your infrastructure
To ensure you build a network that is highly utilised, local authorities should focus on building an open network that is easy to use and supports standard AC charging cables. This approach will encourage a broader range of EV drivers to access the charging network


4. Low-Cost Relocation Options

Over time, residential streets may undergo changes that necessitate relocating charge points. For example, as part of your carbon reduction strategy, you may want to implement more cycling lanes across your district. Local authorities should consider the cost and ease of relocation when selecting on-street charging infrastructure. Different types of chargers have varying relocation costs. For example:   

  • 50 kW charger: ~ £15-25,000 and 4-6 months for relocation. 
  • 7-22 kW retractable or street flush chargers: ~ £3-8,000 and 2-4 months for relocation. 
  • Lamp post chargers: approximately £500 and less than a week for relocation. 

By opting for chargers with lower relocation costs, local authorities can adapt to changing needs more efficiently. 

Relocation costs: 1) for a 50kW charger, it costs £15-25k and 4-6 months for relocation, 2) for a 7-22kW retractable or street flush charger, it costs £3-8k and 2-4 months for relocation, 3) for a lamppost charger, it costs £500 and less than 3 hours for relocation. By opting for chargers with lower relocation costs, local authorities can adapt to changing needs more efficiently.

5. Predictable Grid Connection Costs

Grid connection costs are a hidden cost in most EV charging projects. They can have a huge impact on the total cost of a project.

The distance between the charger and the point of connection, which ranges from 3 to 10 meters, can hugely affect these costs. When planning your project, conducting surveys for each proposed charge point location before implementation is essential to accurately predict the grid connection costs.
Lamppost and bollard charge points have the benefit of not requiring a new grid connection. So, there is no unknown cost that can impact the ability to deliver a certain number of chargers for a given a budget.


6. Specifying the right payment options for different EV charging uses

 Payment methods can add significant cost onto your project.

For example, requiring contactless bank card readers for a lamppost charge point can increase the cost of the hardware by up to 50%. A more user-friendly approach, such as smartphone apps or QR code payment can reduce your costs.
In July 2023, the UK Government outlined new regulations to improve the charging experience for EV drivers. One of these rules include the compulsory inclusion of a contactless payment terminal on all chargers over 8kW within the next year [4]. This rule does not apply to slow charge points, such as lamppost, allowing for more flexibility in terms of budget.
Selecting the right payment method for the right use case can ensure you provide your residents with the most amount of charge points for your budget.


Value for Money for EV Drivers 

Evidence shows the public wants to charge at or near home. When it comes to EV charging, near-home charging has been shown to be the most appealing and the primary charging solution for those looking to switch to EVs. The common goal is to park directly outside the home [5]. ‘Rapid charging as you go’ and ‘charge where you are’ (i.e., charging at destinations where people regularly park their car), whilst appealing, were generally seen as ‘back up’ options to support charging near home

Ultimately, the value for money proposition in EV charging infrastructure also benefits the EV drivers themselves. A well-designed, well-utilised and cost-efficient charging network translates to lower kWh costs. Such a network make it more affordable for EV drivers to charge their vehicles.


 By adhering to these six crucial points, local authorities can ensure value for money when selecting their EV charge point strategy. The key components that contribute to the success of an EV charging structure include:

Optimal charging
speed choices

Reliable hardware and
ntetwork operators

Open infrastructure

relocation options

Predictable grid
connection costs

In prioritizing value for money, local authorities can empower their communities to embrace electric vehicles. This way, they can accelerate the transition to a greener, more sustainable future.

The ubitricity portfolio of charge points contributes to bringing intelligent solutions for charging electric vehicles. We transform streetlamps into public EV charge points, and we also offer individual solutions for rapid and fast charging in public urban areas. 

Do you need more help with the rollout of your EV charging infrastructure? Get in touch with our team and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions and guide you to deliver the best infrastructure for your residents.

Stuart Wilson

I'm Stuart Wilson, Market Unit Lead for the UK. With a background in public procurement I am an expert in public charging infrastructure projects.