UK-based Southern Railway has partnered with electric vehicle charging firm Pod Point to upgrade its 48 existing free-to-use electric vehicle (EV) charging points, which are located in 23 stations across the country.

The EV charging units are currently present in car parks at various stations across London and South England, including Arundel, Eastbourne, Barnham, Hassocks, Chichester, Hove, Coulsdon South, Sutton and Dorking.

Southern has initiated the upgrade project following the collection of data regarding the charging units’ popularity and consistent usage among customers.

The information was obtained by Southern by monitoring the usage of the EV charging points at its busiest station car parks.

Southern conducted the monitoring as part of its environmental strategy, which includes a commitment to the development of sustainable travel solutions.

The upgrade initiative is intended to provide a quick charging system for motorists driving electric vehicles.

“The upgrade project will see the power supply upgraded, meaning quicker charging, as well as the addition of a simpler interface to improve the customer experience.”

Phase one of the project was completed earlier this month and involved replacing the existing EV units at Chichester station with Pod Point’s Open Charge points.

The next-generation, 7kW Open Charge points are accessible through Pod Point’s mobile application and provide enough energy to power approximately 30mi of travel per charging hour.

The Open Charge units are also capable of charging two vehicles simultaneously.

Southern parent company Govia Thameslink Railway Safety and Environment head Colin Morris said: “Among a raft of improvements, the upgrade project will see the power supply upgraded, meaning quicker charging, as well as the addition of a simpler interface to improve the customer experience.

“The data from the past year’s trial has not only told us that people are regularly using the charge points, but also that EV is a technology that is growing in demand and it is important for us to be able to offer facilities that cater to all of our passenger needs.”

Southern Railway intends to extend the charging network to additional car parks connected to the franchise in future.