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EV Adoption Set to Accelerate Despite Infrastructure Concerns






New research has clearly shown that UK businesses are set to embrace the electric vehicle revolution, with huge numbers planning for a full electrified fleet in the near future. Despite these ambitious plans, there remains widespread concerns about the availability of public charging infrastructure.

Many businesses have already concluded that if they want to implement electric vehicles, they will also have to install rapid charging infrastructure rather than relying on patchy national coverage. However, some are finding that it is not as simple as just installing charging points and risking the fuel savings and sustainability improvements being overshadowed by substantial unexpected costs to allow sufficient power capacity to charge vehicles.

What are UK businesses’ EV ambitions?

A survey by Centrica Business Solutions found that overall, British businesses are hoping to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing EV fleets. Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned in the UK by 2030, but 62% of businesses intend to overhaul their fleets well ahead of this deadline, with plans to fully electrify their vehicles by 2026. In total, proposed investment in EV fleets is set to reach £13.6 billion.

For many, the change is already happening. 35% more businesses will put EVs on the road during 2022 compared to last year, with registrations climbing from 121,000 to 163,000. This follows similar pattern of greater uptake for EVs from consumers, with one in five new cars registered in the UK now being fully electric.

Infrastructure Concerns

A lack of public charging points continues to be the main objection regarding wider EV adoption from both businesses and the public alike. Even amongst businesses that are intending to electrify their fleet, more than two-thirds indicated that they were concerned about the availability of public charging points. The government has committed to £1.6 billion in additional funding for EV infrastructure, with a target of 300,000 new public charging points by 2030. However, as things stand, infrastructure is lagging behind sales of EVs. While EV sales leapt 76% during 2021, public charging points only increased by around one-third.

In an effort to overcome this patchy coverage, 48% of businesses surveyed have already installed EV charging points on their sites, with a further third planning to invest in on-site charging over the next twelve months. However, as rapid charging points reach ever-larger capacities to charge vehicles promptly, they bring an enormous additional electricity demand with them. Just a handful of rapid chargers operating at the same time could double the total demand of a site. When this additional demand would risk exceeding a site’s authorised supply capacity, this could require a costly new grid connection, which can easily run into six or even seven figures. In some cases, a DNO might simply turn the project application down outright over fears of additional strain on local power infrastructure.

Battery-buffered Charging

An alternative solution is to use battery energy storage to buffer EV chargers. This means that the chargers never connect to the grid directly, eliminating the risk of exceeding authorised supply capacity or putting additional strain on infrastructure. Instead, battery energy storage systems charge either from the grid or through on-site generation, and this stored power is then used to charge EVs when required.

Several large infrastructure providers have already identified this requirement. E.ON and Volkswagen are currently partnering on a project to roll out ‘plug and play’ battery buffered EV chargers that don’t require infrastructure upgrades. Gridserve, which has over £1 billion in EV charging stations in the pipeline across 100 sites, is exclusively installing rapid chargers supported by both storage and solar to ensure that sufficient power is always available for charging.

Find out more about Powerstar’s battery-buffered EV charging solutions here

EV Charging

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