Partnership trials ‘new way of delivering rapid EV charging hubs’

Posted: 4 December 2019 |

Electricity North West (ENW), Western Power Distribution (WPS) and Ricardo have partnered to find a new way of delivering rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging hubs through the DC Share latent electricity trial.

Partnership trials 'new way of delivering rapid EV charging hubs'

The DC Share project aims to provide power for rapid charging EV hubs. Credit: Western Power Distribution (WPS)

Electricity North West (ENW) and Western Power Distribution (WPS) have partnered with Ricardo to find a new way of delivering rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging hubs.

The three-year, £5.6 million trial – DC Share – is being funded via Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition. It aims to interconnect substations via AC/DC converters and DC cable so latent electricity can be used to power rapid chargers. To date, significant investment has been on facilitating EV charging solutions for off-street charging, and this project claims to focus on the 40 percent of car users with no access to off-street parking, with the aim of further enabling the take up of EVs to support the net-zero targets.

Innovation and Low Carbon Network Engineer at WPD, Ricky Duke, said: “Rapid chargers use a lot of power and to install them often requires reinforcing the network to allow for the extra load, which can be costly.

“But load profiles are different for each substation: those with domestic loads don’t, typically, have much demand during the day while those with a commercial profile have less demand in the evenings. This trial aims to see whether connecting them on a DC network rather than our usual AC infrastructure will enable us to power a rapid charging hub by sharing its demand between the substations.

“On paper, it looks like an exciting solution that will enable us to ensure there is enough power for rapid charging hubs across the network. Not only will this help customers who do not have off-road parking, but it will also help with the ‘range anxiety’ that puts many people off switching to EVs.”

WPD Innovation Manager, Jonathan Berry, said: “This is one of a number of projects WPD is working on to help meet the country’s net-zero carbon targets, focussing on the connection of low carbon technologies like EVs, while keeping customers’ lights on and costs down.”

Ricardo’s Sarah Carter, Manager of Power Planning and Solutions, said: “This project takes UK networks another step forward in developing flexible networks and supporting the mass adoption of electric vehicles. By using a DC equalisation network to support the existing infrastructure and to facilitate large demand from rapid chargers, we are demonstrating that there are alternatives to traditional reinforcement.”