Technology company Port and parking operator Q-Park have launched what’s claimed to be the world’s first ‘dark hub’ to park, lock and charge EVs.
The hub has been launched at Q-Park’s Leicester Square car park, which is planned to be repurposed into a mobility hub.
The Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) dark hub will allow couriers and delivery firms to rent a range of EVs, such as e-bikes, scooters or mopeds, for delivery purposes from one of their locations.
The EVs can be hired through a weekly or monthly subscription managed via the Port app.
Vehicle charging and maintenance are provided by Port, which designed the dark hubs to automate all fleet management tasks.
Couriers can pick up EVs from the the hub at any time and return them at the end of the day.
The reported long range and battery power of these EVs mean they can be used for an entire day; this works by locking and charging EVs overnight ready for collection.
With the last-mile delivery industry expected to grow 10% annually, regulations are putting pressure on companies to switch to more sustainable transport models. Port claims that these new hubs are designed to support this change.
Port believes the hubs will encourage new drivers by appealing to a suburban workforce that struggles to cover the distance between home and the city centre by e-bike or moped.
Reportedly, the hubs include the world’s first, patented universal docking station for locking and charging any small EV.
Kamil Suda, Port founder, said: “We are hugely excited to be launching our first Port dark hub in the heart of London.
“Electrification of the last mile delivery industry is both a great challenge and opportunity; we want to bring Port’s solution to every major city to help the sector reach net zero and fully capitalise on the benefits of small EVs.”
Following trials in Madrid, the company plans to expand across Europe.
Q-Park’s facilities can be found in most major UK centres. It has been developing sustainable mobility hubs in the hopes of making parking facilities integral to urban sustainability and accessibility.