Tag Archives: vehicle-to-grid

Government to co-fund 350kW electric vehicle chargers

England’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure looks set for significant investment as the Department for Transport confirmed part-funding of grid connections for new high-powered chargers.

Its Rapid Charging Fund aims to have at least six high powered chargers serving each of England’s motorway service station by 2023.

According to current growth rates, those chargers will be needed: Western Power Distribution is anticipating a 16-fold increase in EVs on its networks within the next three years.

By 2035, the department claims the scheme will part-finance installation of as many as 6,000 rapid and ultra-rapid power points – between 150kW and 350kW beside motorways and major UK roads.

Foreshadowed in the March budget as part of Rishi Sunak’s £500 million investment in e-mobility infrastructure, the fund will focus on hard-to-connect sites, or where grid capacity is constrained.

To qualify, new public points must charge all EV brands, operate across providers’ different billing platforms, and deliver at least 99 per cent uptime, backed by 24/7 technical support.

Source: WPD EV strategy

EV chargepoint operators will welcome the announcement. Network upgrades required for high powered chargers can be expensive.

Western Power Distribution, charges up to £120,000 to connect a 130kW ‘super’ charger, or multiple 43kW rapid chargers. Installing 350kW chargers, as DfT intends to part finance, will cost significantly more.

Dispelling range anxiety

Management of Britain’s strategic roads is devolved to national governments. As of January 2020 England’s highways were already served by 809 open-access rapid or ultra-rapid powered chargers, excluding Tesla Superchargers. The DfT calculates that already no EV owner is more than 25 miles from an open-access charge point.

The DfT has not disclosed sums for the new fund, but made clear developers and site operators will be expected to meet at least part of installation costs. Its Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, announced in 2017, has recently raised a further £80m from private backers, with fund manager Zouk Capital suggesting it is on track to hit £400m.

Now all the UK needs is cars that can take high powered charging.

More details of the DfT Rapid Charging Fund here.

Standardisation is key

The UK’s EV charging network is currently highly fragmented, lacking standardisation and interoperability. Addressing that challenge is a key priority highlighted by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles-appointed EV Taskforce.

While the taskforce has urged cross-market data sharing and interoperability by 2025, some operators are actively working on commercial partnerships to enable better cross network roaming.

This week power retailer Octopus Energy launched Electric Juice, offering EV owners a single bill, presenting charges from multiple charging providers.

Meanwhile Engenie offers pay as you go functionality across its rapid charging network – and is also negotiating further commercial arrangements with energy suppliers and charging network operators.

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NORTHERN POWERGRID AND NISSAN SIGN INDUSTRY-LEADING PARTNERSHIP

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Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network that keeps the lights on for 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, and the leading electric vehicle manufacturer Nissan have signed an industry-leading partnership.

The two organisations, through a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), will work together to explore a range of innovation projects over the next six years.

The projects will look at how electric vehicles (EV), batteries and other technologies can support energy networks.  They will also explore how new technologies can enhance the capacity, capability and resilience of the region’s power network to make it more active and responsive to the growing and changing demands of both domestic and commercial customers.

The partnership also represents another step forward for Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility blueprint in Europe, which aims to demonstrate how electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF – the world’s best-selling EV – can work in tandem with energy providers and grid infrastructure to deliver a cleaner, more efficient energy networks.

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology, for example, allows electric vehicles to be fully integrated into the electricity grid, improving network capacity and helping to make renewable energy sources more affordable and more widely available. It also provides an opportunity to create mobile energy hubs, by integrating large numbers of electric vehicles directly with the grid. This enables Nissan LEAF owners to connect and charge their vehicle during low-demand, cheap tariff periods, and use the electricity stored in the vehicle’s battery at a time when costs are higher, or even feed it back to the grid to generate additional returns.

Jim Cardwell, head of trading and innovation at Northern Powergrid, said:“Building on what we are already doing around innovation projects, this signals the start of a ground-breaking industry partnership to explore new innovations that could support the creation of smarter, greener energy networks and help shape future technologies to support the efficient roll-out of electric vehicles.”

Patrick Erwin, policy and markets director at Northern Powergrid, said: “We’re both major employers in the region.  By bringing together our expertise we will help the region – as part of the Northern Powerhouse – play a leading role in exploring innovation and technological advances that could potentially benefit future generations, communities, businesses and industries both in and outside of the UK.”

Following the signing of the MOU, Northern Powergrid and Nissan will work together over the coming months to develop plans for a series of projects.  Project learnings will be shared in due course.

Ed Jones, EV manager, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd, said: “We’ve always known that Nissan’s EV technology can be used for so much more than just getting people from A-to-B and we’re delighted to be sharing our expertise to help create more sustainable energy networks in the UK. Through the integration of Nissan EVs, we can find new solutions that will help shape a society whose energy use is sustainable, efficient and affordable.”

Pictured: Patrick Erwin, policy and markets director at Northern Powergrid, with the 100% electric Nissan LEAF.

Source: Northern Powergrid.