Electric vehicle motorists in grid constrained areas of the UK could soon see quick charge hubs powered by batteries, with Connected Energy using second life batteries from Renault to offer fast charging in regions with costly connection charges.
The E-Stor technology uses batteries which are charged at low power before being discharged using fast chargers with 43kW output capable of charging a car to 80% in half an hour. Two of these stations, using 60kW/90kWh batteries, have been unveiled in Belgium and Germany this week, where use of E-Stor has helped avoid high power grid connection costs.
Speaking to Clean Energy News this morning, Connected Energy’s technical director Ian McDonald said: “There is a grid constraint on both sites so it can charge when there's capacity to do so. It’s a totally integrated system, so the E-Stor looks at the overall network capacity on the site and manages the request from the customer.
“It looks to see what the available capacity is and comes online and controls the chargers so it can't overload the grid network. There's always sufficient capacity to at least charge from one of the power sockets but it could be that there's two vehicles per charger.”
According to Matthew Lumsden, managing director of Connected Energy, the company is already fielding a number of inquiries in Europe and the UK, where EV charging projects using batteries up to 500kW are being proposed.
“EV drivers would appear to prefer to go to a cluster of chargers because there's a higher probability that one of them is going to be available. Therefore clusters of rapid chargers are going to be more common and we're certainly talking to a number of parties that are talking about putting one or multiple clusters in,” he explained.
“Some of them are six chargers but most are leaving their options open and saying they want to create a charging hub and want to know how storage can be used to support that. The benefit of our storage is you can gradually expand it as needs be so I think we'll see more and more charging hubs and storage will play a part of those.”
Potential projects for Connected Energy include forecourts, strategic networks of rapid chargers, and some commercial parties who are looking to become charging hub operators.
Integration of such locations to accommodate rising levels of EVs was suggested by National Grid last week as a potential strategy for avoiding ‘pinch points’ in both local distribution grids and household electrical set-ups.