A massive new plan to deploy DC fast-charging stations powered by grid-scale batteries throughout the UK to create a network with a 2 GW capacity – the world’s biggest – moves forward with backing from the National Grid.
The plan was put forward by the startup Power Pivot.
They envision the installation of 50MW battery systems at 45 sites where they also plan to install up to 100 150kW to 350kW electric vehicle charging stations.
By combining the stations with energy storage, it should enable them to maintain a relatively low electricity rate to charge the electric vehicles.
Graeme Cooper, National Grid Project Director for Electric Vehicles, said: “We expect the use of electric vehicles to grow rapidly. This innovative solution will help accelerate adoption by providing a network of rapid charging stations across the country enabling cars to charge quickly, efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible. It will also give the system operator more choice and flexibility for managing the demands in the day to day running of the network, and also help mass EV charging”.
It’s going to be a massive infrastructure project with an expected cost of £1.6 billion, but Pivot Power says that it already secured financial backing from Downing LLP, a UK-based investment manager, and Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Colin Corbally, Partner at Downing LLP, said: “The prospects of a future ban on petrol and diesel vehicles, coupled with the threat of a potential energy crisis in the UK, means Pivot Power is extremely well-positioned to help UK investors benefit from supporting the low-carbon transition. Through our partnership with the Pivot Power team, we have developed an exciting but robust business plan to seize this unique opportunity to play a pivotal role in the battery and electric car revolution.”
He is referring to UK’s plan to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
While they are still seeking more funding, they are already working on their first sites and they aim to have operational batteries at 10 sites within 18 months.
Pivot Power CEO Matt Allen commented on the announcement: “We want to future-proof the UK’s energy system and accelerate the electric vehicle revolution, helping the UK to clean up its air and meet climate targets. Big problems require big solutions, and we are moving fast to put in place a unique network to support a clean, affordable, secure energy system and embrace the low-carbon economy. We are keen to hear from anyone who shares our vision and wants to ‘go electric’, particularly partners with large fleets such as local authorities, supermarkets and logistics companies.”
The company says that it will announce sites for the first batteries and charging stations in the coming months.
They didn’t announce what batteries and charging station they will use for the network, but it sounds like they don’t have their own technology and instead, they will use existing systems to create the network. It’s quite an ambitious plan, but it also makes a lot of sense. UK’s grid, like most grids, is in need of energy storage and it will be even more the case as the share of renewable energy increases within the whole energy mix and as the EV fleet grows over the years.
We just reported on over 500 BMW i3 battery packs being connected to the UK National Grid in latest large energy storage project and Tesla deployed a few new Powerpack systems in the UK recently. It makes sense to build more of those and leverage the sites to build charging stations if they are well located to enable long-distance travel.