The UK’s Connected Kerb is to install electric vehicle chargers to deliver sustainable, affordable and accessible charging infrastructure to hard-to-reach UK communities.

The “first-of-a-kind” scheme, in partnership with Kent County Council, offers a blueprint for local authorities across the UK, says Connected Kerb.

All income from the first phase of 40 chargers – which are being installed at sites in small communities across Kent, such as village halls, pavilions and car parks from this month – is to go to the local community or be used to support the rollout and maintenance of further chargers.

Installing public charging infrastructure outside of busy urban areas has traditionally been a challenge for the industry due to the lower grid capacity and fewer connections increasing upfront cost and lower footfall extending the return-on-investment period.

It is hoped that the Connected Kerb scheme will give local residents, businesses and visitors the chance to charge in small towns and villages across Kent, with each charger to provide a 7kW-22kW fast charge and contactless payment via the Connected Kerb app.

The chargers are designed to last at least 20 years, with the infrastructure itself located below ground with passive chargers that can be easily “switched on” by adding the above ground chargepoint to match consumer demand.

The chargers also feature additional smart capabilities that can facilitate air quality monitoring, parking management, CCTV, road sensors, 5G connection, autonomous vehicles, route planning and power demand forecasting.

The scheme has been financed from a variety of sources, receiving funding from the Kent Lane Rental Scheme, the Department for Transport, the parishes themselves and, for some locations, 75% of the costs were financed through the on-street residential chargepoint scheme.

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, said that this project shows that the economics of installing EV charging in non-urban areas “is much more favourable than many believe,” adding, “it is vital that access to public charging is equitable across the entire country.”