Charging up for a sustainable future
As a result of the UK Government’s plan to ban sales of all new solely internal combustion engine powered vehicles from 2040, interest in electric vehicles (EV’s) has heightened in recent years.
As part of this increased interest, many commentators have pinpointed hurdles that electric vehicles need to clear in order to become the dominant form of transport in the UK and aid in the process of decarbonisation and fighting climate change.
In addition to range anxiety, which covers issues concerning how far an electric vehicle can travel on a full charge, a major obstacle for the quicker and greater adoption of electric vehicles is the charging infrastructure. Whilst linked to range anxiety, which would be less of an issue if there were more widely available chargers across the UK, the lack of a comprehensive EV charging infrastructure dampens the growth of the EV market in ways which are unlikely to be solved by automotive manufacturers, whereas general solutions to EV range anxiety are primarily the responsibility of automotive manufacturers.
This is because EV charging can often be much slower than the 2-3 minutes needed to fill up a tank of fuel, with rapid EV chargers being able to charge to 80% in approximately 30 minutes and some slower charges taking in excess of eight hours. This is not a problem that vehicle manufacturers are likely to resolve and therefore needs to be approached from the perspective of charging infrastructure which ultimately relies on the antiquated energy network. Even as solutions to range anxiety are introduced to the EV market, such as larger batteries that enable increased range on a single charge, this will only increase the time required to charge to full with the current available infrastructure and wider energy network which is unable to support the large amount of demand that charging EV’s brings.
The load required to charge electric vehicles, especially when considering a company fleet, places a large strain on the network which increases with the speed of the charge, for example a rapid charger utilises 50kW which, if ten cars of a company’s commercial fleet need to be charged simultaneously, would result in a total load of 500kW, a load that is potentially large enough that the supply would need upgrading to tolerate the extra load. The responsibility for solving this issue lies with those in control of the energy network and those responsible for placing this strain on the network (i.e. those responsible for the charging infrastructure). Therefore, businesses looking to electrify their fleet are at the mercy of the energy network, or must invest into expensive infrastructure upgrades at their property to make the transition viable.
It is for these reasons why battered buffered EV charging, such as Powerstar’s VIRTUE EV, is an ideal solution to the imperfect EV charging infrastructure in the UK. VIRTUE EV is a combined DC rapid/fast charger and energy storage solution, and therefore provides a double-pronged response to the aforementioned issues. This means that it can both charge rapidly, and utilise stored energy to minimise the strain on the network and avoid the need for costly infrastructure upgrades.
Case in point
The effectiveness of VIRTUE EV as a solution has been proved by its implementation at a telecommunications company based in London that was attempting to electrify its fleet while maintaining stable operations. Due to the site of the company being in a heavily constrained area, the network couldn’t support the rapid charging facilities required to run the full fleet, or at least not through more typical charging mechanisms.
However, through the ability of VIRTUE EV to rapidly charge electric vehicles by using energy stored through the battery energy storage technology, the company was able to implement rapid charging on-site and successfully electrify its fleet. Additionally, due to the capabilities of Powerstar VIRTUE, the company was able to benefit from enhanced supply resilience through the solution’s full site-wide Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) capabilities, when required.