• June 11, 2021

  • Abby Nuttall

  • Electric and Hybrid News

Over the past month, we’ve seen a lot of news about EV charging in the UK and we’ve rounded up the highlights for you here.

Ofgem Green Light Ultra-Rapid Charging Infrastructure in the UK

Ofgem has announced that the cabling needed to install 1,800 new ultra-rapid EV charging units across main trunk road locations and motorway service areas across the UK.

At the minute there are a few ultra-rapid charging units, however the majority of these are Tesla’s Superchargers which are only designed for use by Tesla vehicles.

Ultra-rapid chargers are the next step in EV charging allowing you to charge your vehicle more quickly than ever before, reducing the amount of time you need to spend off the road which is one of the main concerns for drivers on long journeys with an EV.

As the government pushes for more and more drivers to opt for an electric option there has been widespread concern about the development of the UK’s public charging infrastructure which many believe is being built too slowly to accommodate the expected rise in demand.

Public charging units are vital for the successful uptake of EVs, not only because they allow drivers to charge while on journeys but many drivers, particularly those without off-road parking or in rented properties, are unable to install home-charging units. Although the ultra-rapid chargers are going to be installed on major roads and service stations it suggests a prioritisation of investment in the public charging network.

In order to put the necessary charger in place there needs to be major investment in the infrastructure which Ofgem’s commitment to installing the new cabling is helping to achieve. 

This investment will be completed over the next two years and is part of a wider effort to ensure there is sufficient modification so that Britain has the right energy infrastructure for a nationwide shift towards low carbon transport and heating without it impacting the supply available to customers.

There are 204 net-zero projects being invested in, including the infrastructure for ultra-rapid chargers with investments totalling over £300 million across England, Scotland and Wales.

GRIDSERVE Take Charge of Electric Highway

GRIDSERVE are a sustainable energy company that purchased the electric highway earlier this week from green energy supplier Ecotricity.

The electric highway is the world’s first national charging network for EVs and includes charging points across the entire UK that has continued to grow since it was established in 2011.

Since the electric highway was established it the EV market and the chargers it requires have changed dramatically. Though three-pin plugs, like the one you have on most household electronics, are still available they are no longer the primary type of charger used on EV’s, in fact, there are five other main types used in the UK alone.

The speed that EVs can receive energy has also increased moving from 7 kWh to speeds of over 100 kWh making the time it takes for your EV to charge as quickly as possible for you.

With these changes the electricity highway has had to evolve rapidly to meet changing consumer demands, alongside the increase in drivers with EVs and so a rising volume of users.

GRIDSERVE has already begun looking forward to the future of the electric highway, wanting to replace all existing pumps on the network with new technology that has all the latest technological advances, including contactless payment.

Kent County Council Establishing Blueprint for Out of Town EV Chargers

Kent County Council are working with EV charging specialists Connected Kerb to create a blueprint that other counties can use for Local Authorities to provide an accessible and affordable EV charging structure for drivers who don’t live in town centres.

The project is entering its first phase which involved Connected Kerb installing 40 chargers across 20 sites in Kent Parish.

All income generated by the chargers will be used to support the installation and maintenance of more chargers in the area or back into the local community.

As mentioned above the UK’s charging infrastructure needs major investment and development in order to be able to support drivers as they transition to EVs. This includes drivers who live in rural communities, where there is less likely to currently be public chargers available.

The government have warned access to chargers in rural communities is essential to prevent them from becoming isolated and inaccessible to outside EV drivers.

As part of Connected Kerb’s mission to make EV charging accessible for all, they are working to engage local authorities and work to provide all communities within their area with reliable and low-cost charging.

The infrastructure they have designed will last over 20 years, is largely located below ground and then an above ground charger can be added at any point to match the consumer demand in the area.

Costa to install EVs

The final bit of charging news that was announced in the last few weeks was Costa Coffee’s partnership with EV charging network provider InstaVolt to install rapid charging units at around 200 Costa Coffee Drive-Thru sites across the UK.

InstaVolt is a company that own, install and maintain rapid chargers across the country and they previously worked with Welcome Break to create a rapid charging hub on M6 in March of this year.

The company has also announced recently it is joining forces with the AA to support drivers across the UK as more and more make the switch to EVs.

Rapid charging units being installed at Costa Coffee locations means you can grab a cup of coffee and be ready to drive your recharged vehicle by the time you’ve finished.

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