Category Archives: Charging

eVolt launch third-generation Rapid EV charger

eVolt, the Electrical vehicle (EV) charging business, has launched its third-generation Rapid charger, the Raption 50, which uses modular power technology for enhanced reliability and performance. eVolt is the eMobility brand of the SWARCO Group.

Traditionally, Rapid chargers operate via a single power pack, rendering a charger out of use if the power unit fails. The Raption 50, however, uses state-of-the-art modular power technology with four individual power packs delivering 12.5kW each. Should one power pack fail, the Raption unit continues charging EVs at a lower output by drawing power from the functioning packs.

eVolt Raption Rapid Charge Point (image: eVolt)

The new unit completes an 80% charge in 30 minutes with simultaneous charging for two EVs at 50kW DC and 43kW AC. It is smaller and slimmer than its predecessors and has three charging cables that cater for every EV/PHEV model.

Justin Meyer, General Manager of eVolt UK, says reliability is key for Rapid charging:

“While eVolt’s Rapid units have always proved highly dependable, modular power technology makes them even more reliable by reducing the potential for down-time,”

he says.

“The new Raption 50 has been designed with input from our clients. This is one of the ways we make sure our chargers meet their needs.”

In adopting the modular architecture, the Raption range offers flexibility through scalable power:

“The Raption can be scaled down should a local power network not be capable of Rapid charging or if a user only needs to draw 25kW of power,”

Justin adds.

“At the same time the opposite can happen, and we can scale the chargers back up to deliver more power.”

Read more: Swarco via Electrical Trade


First eVolt charge point installed for Electric Nation

The first eVolt smart electric vehicle (EV) charge point has been installed at a residential property outside Nottingham for the Electric Nation trial, which is seeking to find a smart charging solution that will better manage local level power distribution at peak times.

Research suggests that some of the UK’s local electricity networks will need intervention to enable motorists to charge EVs at home at peak times. That research indicates at least £2.2bn would be needed for local electricity infrastructure upgrades.

Electric Nation Matt Tupper

Electric Nation is a Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Network Innovation Allowance funded project, and it is providing new electric car owners with a free smart charger. In return, the project will have access to charging data to help electricity distribution companies better manage electric vehicle charging.

Matt Tupper, who has had an eVolt smart charger installed for free at his house near Nottingham says:

“I believe that more and more people will be buying electric cars in the coming years, so it’s really important that we can all recharge them. I would certainly recommend anyone buying an electric car to sign up to the project.”

Dave A Roberts, Director of Smart Interventions at EA Technology, the business responsible for trialling the demand control system, and delivering an electricity network modelling tool that will enable WPD to identify which parts of their network are susceptible to EV loads and to assess solutions to avoid network reinforcement works, explains the challenge facing electricity distribution companies:

“Many local electricity networks serving our homes were never designed to cope with the demand from large numbers of high capacity electric vehicles,”

he says.

“To avoid costly and disruptive upgrading work to cables and transformers, a smart solution, as being trialled by Electric Nation, could provide a much cheaper option to ensure we can charge our EVs.”

Electric Nation Matt Tupper

Justin Meyer, General Manager of eVolt UK, emphasises the importance of working together to find a solution:

“The problem has been identified and the industry is coming together to find an appropriate and cost-effective resolution,”

he says.

“Electricity capacity has to develop side-by-side with EV and charge point innovations, and we are very happy to have been chosen as one of the two EV suppliers to enable this.”

The trial is seeking 500 – 700 members of the public to install a smart charge point on an ongoing basis to accurately measure charging levels, and eVolt, which is the eMobility brand of the SWARCO Group, is providing half of the trial’s chargers. All smart charging units are subsidised by OLEV eligible households are initially required to be within the bounds of WPD (South West, South Wales, and the Midlands.) OLEV grants are only available to people with an EV who have not previously received OLEV funding for a charge point for that vehicle.

Source: Swarco via Professional Electrician & Installer

Free Home Smart Chargers For Electric Vehicle Owners Rolled Out In Milton Keynes

Electric vehicle (EV) owners in Milton Keynes have become the latest to benefit from free smart chargers provided by the Electric Nation project.

Milton Keynes is part of the Go Ultra Low City Scheme and it has a high level of electric vehicle ownership, which is helping to improve local air quality. In order to ensure that local electricity grids can cope with charging increasing numbers of electric vehicles at peak times, the Electric Nation project is recruiting new EV owners and providing a free* smart charger, so it can learn from the data – and the feedback – from trial participants.

Keith McLean is one of the first Electric Nation participants in Milton Keynes to have a smart charger installed for his BMW i3. Keith says

“I’m delighted to be able to help with the Electric Nation research project, which aims to ensure that the UK’s local electricity networks can continue to charge the ever-growing numbers of electric vehicles. This 7kW smart charger is one of the latest, most intelligent on the market and can provide useful data on your charging history – as well as being able to charge an EV up to twice as fast as a 3kW home charge point. It has the most up to date functionality, with software updates being carried out remotely.”

Keith will be well known to many Milton Keynes residents as he was previously the Mayor of Milton Keynes, when he tried several electric vehicles, and was impressed with how easily they could be used in a city that at the time had over 200 public charging points.

The project is seeking to recruit 500-700 people buying or leasing new electric vehicles (of all makes and models, pure electric and plug-in hybrids) to take part in the largest trial of its kind. Trial participants will get a free* smart charger installed.

Read more: Electric Nation

‘Smart lampposts’ could be on the way as electric vehicle charge points approved

THE first wave of new electric vehicle charging points across Oxford have been approved by transport bosses, with the first set to arrive within months.

David Nimmo Smith, cabinet member of Oxfordshire County Council, hailed the technology as ‘the future’ and said he expected many more to be built over the next few years.

It is part of a trial that officials hope will lead to a further 100 electric vehicle charging points being rolled out across Oxford, in what is thought to be the largest scheme of its kind in the world.

The trial will involve installing different kinds of charging points, with the most successful ones taken forward to a bigger scheme.

Businesses have been asked to put forward proposals for these and it is understood the city and county councils are likely to announce which ones have been chosen in the coming months.

Possible solutions already on the market include low-tech ‘cable gullies’ laid into the pavement and high-tech ‘smart lampposts’ capable of charging a vehicle.

The authorities hope the Oxford scheme will encourage more people to buy electric cars to help cut carbon emissions in the city, with 16,000 homes set to benefit from the 100 charging points proposed.

CHARGE: Andy Edwards, left, and Terry Kirkby with the Rose Hill electric car and charge point at the community centre Picture: Ric Mellis

Andy Edwards, of eco company Bioregional, worked with car club Co-wheels to get an electric car based at Rose Hill. He said:

“Electric vehicles are an essential part of the transition to a low-carbon, cheaper energy economy.

“Without them it would be very hard to achieve the kind of reductions in fossil fuels we are aiming for.”

Read more: The Oxford Times

Tesla exec explains new sustainable energy vision

‘You have solar, battery pack, EV and you control everything on your phone’

Since Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, the company’s mission slightly changed from “accelerating the advent of electric transport” to “accelerating the advent of sustainable energy”. The company wants to offer solutions throughout the entire energy production and consumption process.

At a conference last week, a Tesla executive explained the company’s vision for managing all that energy across all their products.

Kurt Kelty, Tesla’s longtime director of battery technology, was in Florida last week to give a keynote address at the International Battery Seminar.
During his presentation, he explained Tesla’s vision of energy management in future houses (transcript via evannex):

“Where we see the future [is] in houses [and] we want to be your EV provider. Put your EV in your garage and you charge it up with one of our chargers, you have a powerwall… [and] a solar product [solar roof] that we’ll be introducing this summer. You [can] see how this could integrate well in your house. You have solar, battery pack, the EV and you’ve got all the controls on your cell phone and you could control everything. This is the kind of future we see for [your] house.”

That’s similar to the vision shared by CEO Elon Musk when he first suggested Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity in order to have a single company offering electricity generation, through solar products, storage, through Powerwall and Powerpacks, and consumption, through Tesla’s electric vehicles.

Read more: electrek

Building the UK’s electric vehicle infrastructure with POD Point

Ten years ago the notion that electric vehicles (EV) could significantly disrupt the conventional diesel-fuel monopoly of the car market seemed like a pipedream – but that dream is coming close to a reality. Erik Fairbairn, the Founder of UK electric vehicle (EV) charging company POD Point, which recently crowdfunded £9m on Crowd Cube, explains why EVs are about to become the new normal.

It’s Fairbairn’s belief that in the future EV drivers will no longer need to stop somewhere to charge their car, but instead this mundane task will happen when the car isn’t being used, which is 90% of the time.

There are 2,000 public POD Point charge stations around the UK. Image courtesy of POD Point.

Starting a revolution

“My first thought was: how do you put energy into your car? With a petrol pump, so you probably need something similar for an EV,”

Fairbairn explains.

His POD Points look like conventional petrol pumps, but instead of a long, oily nozzle at the end of the handle there is a large plug.

Fairbairn quickly grasped that he couldn’t completely replicate the petrol station experience, as to take a battery from empty to full in two minutes simply doesn’t work.

“I realised I need to put a charge point everywhere your car is parked,”

he explains.

Grid watch

One of the main concerns linked to widespread EV roll-out is the energy demand and strain they will inevitably put on the national grid, which Fairbairn believes can be managed with demand-side response.

“In the future, when we get to a mass roll-out of EVs we can carefully manage how many cars are charging at any one minute,”

he says.

Who’s investing?

POD Point is one of the top ten most crowdfunded business in the UK. It previously raised £5m across three different rounds of crowdfunding and in December raised an additional £9m.

“Crowdfunding is great as there are many EV drivers that want to invest in the company – there is this affinity between the company and the drivers who like being part of the POD Point ecosystem,”

says Fairbairn.

Mass adoption

The immediate plan for POD Point is to scale-up the UK operation, but regardless of the outcomes of Brexit, there is huge potential for the company in neighbouring Europe.

“I think the UK is one of the more advanced places in Europe for EV charging, but the opportunity to export from UK to the rest of Europe and build networks across the whole of the continent is very exciting,”

says Fairbairn.

In the rankings of EV adoption, Norway is first, the Netherlands second at 5%-8%, and the UK third at 2%.

“The biggest barrier for EVs today is that they are more expensive,” Fairbairn says. “My rule of thumb is that mass adoption is going to happen when we get a 200-mile range car for £20,000 and I think that will happen in 2020.”

Read more:

Cars could charge homes with new EV unit

The UK’s first domestic vehicle-to-grid (V2G) unit is to be installed at a home in Loughborough.

That’s according to Cenex, the Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, which has announced the move as part of its Ebbs and Flows of Energy Systems (EFES) project.

The innovative new system will power a home through the owner’s electric vehicle (EV).

The company hopes to showcase the interaction of EVs as battery storage within a domestic property and how this feature can be incorporated into the wider energy system.

The £1.8 million project is being completed over three years, starting in December 2017.

Cenex is to use project data to put together a business case for domestic scale V2G in the UK and believes the installation will act as a catalyst for future innovation.

Robert Evans, CEO at Cenex, said:

“Cenex is delighted to be at the forefront of this important new research into the domestic scale use of V2G power systems.“Installation of the UK’s first domestic V2G unit marks a significant landmark for the country’s manufacturing and innovation, not to mention our efforts to move toward a low carbon economy.”

A new research project is offering to install free smart chargers at EV owners’ homes.

Source: Energy Live News

Charge points at work may be key to broader electric vehicle adoption

There are many ways to support wider electric vehicle adoption. But one of the simplest, and most powerful, may be encouraging employers to install charging at work.

Promo Image of Charge Port, Ford

Business Green reports, for example, on the experience of National Grid in the UK, which saw a large increase in the number of staff using electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles after it installed 6 charge points at its headquarters:

“Since the eVolt charging infrastructure was installed, the number of company car PHEVs has risen from 177 to 375, and we have seen an increase in the number of fully electric vehicles,” said Darren Watson, environmental operations advisor for National Grid’s Sustainability and Climate Change team. “The chargers’ take up has been rapid and exponential, and we are forecasting further rises as the business continues to support the adoption of EVs, and our employees continue to select them as a credible alternative to traditional petrol or diesel engines.”

Of course, convenience and the reduction of range anxiety are—most likely—major factors in this increased adoption of plug-in vehicles. After all, many UK drivers may not have off-street parking in which to charge, and the current crop of electric vehicles probably leaves other drivers nervous about a full round-trip commute without an option to charge at work. The reporting doesn’t say whether drivers were expected to pay for a charge, but if use of these charge points is complementary, that adds up to a pretty nice workplace perk too.

Read More: Treehugger


Spring has sprung and it’s not just my Renault ZOE that’s smiling

Summer is on its way, the sun is shining and I’m full of energy, much like my Renault ZOE.

On a beautiful sunny day last week, I returned to my fully charged electric car, did my usual reset of ‘Trip B’ on the right hand stalk and looked at my estimated range – it gave me a lovely reading of 89 miles (22kWh ZOE).

Although winter range isn’t a big problem (us eco warriors are made of sterner stuff), there is something quite satisfying when you see the estimated range increase by about 15 miles, simply because it’s warm and sunny outside, and it’s still only spring.

I’m told the range increases because chemical reactions work better at higher temperatures, and obviously a chemical reaction must take place to create energy. But I quite like to imagine my Renault ZOE as a true sun worshipper, rejoicing in the change of season 😊

In Praise of the Ecotricity Charging Network

Last week I took a bunch of friends to a concert by the progressive rock band Haken. The round trip distance from Northampton to Nottingham was 150 miles. So, even in the new i3, I knew I would need a charge or be constrained to keep my speed low.

With a bit of Googling I settled on parking at the Victoria shopping centre as it had a charge point. On arriving we plugged in and I started a charge using an old Plugged in Midlands card.

The concert was great and Haken were in fine form. However afterwards we returned to the car to find the charge had failed. Unfortunately I hadn’t been able to monitor its progress on my smartphone as the location had no signal.

So we went to Plan B and stopped off on the way back at Donnington Services to top up on the Ecotricity rapid charger. Although we might have gotten away with just a ten minute charge, there were signs saying the M1 was closed further south so I gave it a  good 20 minutes instead.

After a coffee and a Danish we were on our way. It turned out that it wasn’t just the M1 that was shut but also the main alternative, the A5, so we had to divert a long way out via Rugby.

The i3’s range was more than up to it though and we got home with charge to spare. The trip took place after going to work earlier in the day so the i3 had done 200 miles in a day without trouble. And all for £8.70 in fuel costs (the daytime charging at work in Milton Keynes).