UK National Grid accelerates EV adoption with installation of super rapid charging stations

The U.K.’s National Grid has located around 50 strategic areas where ultra-fast charging banks for electric vehicles (EVs) could be positioned.

By analyzing where the electricity transmission network runs close to the motorway network, it has been able to pinpoint where the most efficient connection for such charging points will be.

This patchwork will reportedly mean that 90% of all EV drivers will never be more than 50 miles from a charging station, thus helping to alleviate an acute condition called “range anxiety”, which the industry has identified as a factor deterring people from purchasing EVs.

The 350 kW chargers would be able to recharge cars fully in around 5 -12 minutes, which is an impressive feat. By comparison, home chargers are usually only around 7 kW to 11 kW in capacity, and thus can take many hours to charge a car fully.

The National Grid has identified additional factors that are deterring people from purchasing EVs. Range Anxiety being the first one, alongside the fear that there would not be a sufficient amount of chargers on roads to avoid tailbacks, and long charging waiting times. The National Grid believes that its transmission action plan will go some way to alleviating these concerns.

The estimated cost of the infrastructure upgrade is between £500 million and £1 billion.

The U.K.’s Renewable Energy Association (REA) believes a combination of home, workplace, on-street and ultra-rapid charging infrastructure will be needed in the future, and that this development is an “important milestone” in the proliferation and success of EVs.

Matthew Trevaskis, Head of Electric Vehicles at the REA, said, “This is an important milestone for the development of a strategic, accessible, and reliable electric vehicle charging network in the U.K. National Grid will play an increasingly crucial role in EV rollout and it is excellent to see some big-picture thinking from them on this issue.

“The pace of progress relating to EV rollout from automotive manufacturers, charge companies, and grid operators is rapidly increasing, and it is now up to Government and regulators to build on the excellent work done to date and to implement documents such as the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.”

National Grid is a member of the REA and its EV sector group. Graeme Cooper, Project Director for Electric Vehicles at National Grid, added, “Range anxiety is consistently given as a major reason for not buying an electric vehicle and we’ve put forward a solution that  addresses this. A number of 350kw rapid chargers over 50 strategic locations would avoid queues at peak times and mean that batteries can charge in 5-15 minutes.

“If you overlay the motorway network over the electricity transmission network, there is a synergy.  When we mapped England and Wales motorways with the grid, 90% of people using the motorway network would be within 50 miles of a rapid charger.

“We want to show that infrastructure needn’t be a barrier to EV growth and a structured and co-ordinated roll out of rapid chargers is achievable.

“Our solution is about future proofing so that as the EV market grows, the infrastructure is in place to support it.  It’s about doing it once and doing it right.”