UK EV charging network operator Osprey Charging has released plans to install over 150 high-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging hubs across the UK by 2025.
Collectively offering around 1,500 150-175KW rapid chargers, the hubs, essentially EV service stations, will be located on strategic A-roads and adjacent to motorways.
The £75 million rollout, from one of the country’s largest and fastest-growing public rapid EV charging networks, will see the first use in the UK of innovative Finnish charger optimisation technology developed by Kempower. Its load-balancing technology distributes power based on demand, which varies significantly between individual vehicles based upon factors such as the maximum charging rate and the battery charge percentage at the time of charge.
The load-balancing technology also allows multiple high-power chargers to be installed without the need for more grid power.
The technology, says Osprey, has the potential to revolutionise EV charging. Tomi Ristimäki, CEO of Kempower, said, “We are extremely happy to launch Kempower EV charging solutions with Osprey Charging. The UK is one of Europe’s fastest-growing EV markets and we have the technology and expertise to accelerate this shift. The modularity of Kempower products ensures they have a small footprint, allowing our customers to make use of limited space in densely populated cities and choose solutions that drive meaningful electrification.”
Graeme Cooper, Head of Future Markets at National Grid added, “The widespread transition to EVs means we need to rethink how we make, move and use energy. The power demand for charging will be significant, so it’s crucial that we use the cleanest and cheapest power in our cars and to make the most of each grid connection. By optimising power management at charging facilities, we can ensure a smooth transition away from petrol and diesel whilst maintaining a stable and effective electricity grid.”
Ian Johnston, CEO of Osprey Charging, said, “The EV market is booming, with sales up over 117% year-on-year and EV adoption continuing to grow exponentially. In less than nine years’ time, buying a new petrol or diesel car will be impossible, so it’s crucial that public charging infrastructure stays ahead of the curve.
Construction is already underway at four sites and Osprey’s first hub will open later this year in Wolverhampton, adjacent to the A463 near the M6. Construction will be underway on the first 10 hubs before the end of the year, with over 150 hubs planned over the next four years.
Chargers, says Osprey, will be capable of adding 100 miles of range in 10 minutes and each hub will be located near food and retail amenities including Costa Coffee, Lidl, Aldi, Pizza Hut, KFC and Curry’s PC World.
All Osprey chargers are compatible with every rapid charging EV on the market today and do not require a membership or subscription to initiate charging – drivers can simply tap their contactless bank card or smartphone.
A European team has set a new World Record for the longest distance covered by an electric truck without a recharging stop. The project team covered 1,099 kilometers in 23 hours.
Parcel delivery service provider DPD Switzerland, the e-truck brand Futuricum and tyre manufacturer Continental recently secured the Guinness World Record title at the Contidrom high-speed oval track near Hanover in Germany.
The partners used an e-truck that DPD Switzerland has been using daily over the last six months, to prove that “sustainable, energy-efficient and cost-efficient electric mobility in the transportation industry is not a mobility concept of tomorrow, but is already a reality on European roads today.”
The team prepared the Futuricum truck, a converted Volvo FH, with a high-capacity battery and efficient tyres.
Futuricum said, “The 19-ton truck now has over 680 hp and, with a capacity of 680 kilowatt hours, the largest truck battery in Europe on board,” explains Adrian Melliger, CEO of Designwerk Products AG, the company behind the Futuricum brand.
The truck was also fitted with the Continental EfficientPro tyres designed for particularly low rolling resistance.
“The upturn in electric mobility has put an even greater focus on the importance of rolling resistance optimised tyres,” says Hinnerk Kaiser, Head of Product Development Truck Tires EMEA of Continental. “Our tyres enable high mileage and extremely low rolling resistance and thus offers the essential characteristics for the economical operation of electrically powered commercial vehicles.
The world-record setting run took place at Contidrom, Continental’s in-house test centre. It is a 2.8-kilometer-long, oval test track. In total, two drivers completed 392 laps in shifts of 4.5 hours each at an average speed of 50 km/h.
The record run of 1099km on a single charge was achieved in just under 23 hours, even though the weather conditions were not ideal. The outside temperature was just 14 degrees C with winds averaging 18 km/h and gusting at up to 40 km/h.
Marc Frank, Strategy & Innovation Director at DPD Switzerland said “We decided to invest in electric mobility at an early stage. The Futuricum truck has been travelling between the depot in Möhlin near Basel to the distribution centre near Zurich for about six months now. It’s been travelling about 300 Km every day without any problems, but we are proud that we have now been able to officially document our performance level.”
The British government has outlined details of new legislation that will require the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging points on all new-build properties in England.
The draft bill, revealed by the Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, covers both residential properties and offices, which will be expected to provide a charging point for every five parking bays.
Starting in 2022, the new law is expected to accelerate installations from the current rate of 500 charging points per month up to 700.
The plan, billed as the first of its kind in the world, will also require all charge points to be capable of smart charging.
Last year the Government said it would inject £1.3 billion into scaling-up the rollout of charge points for EVs in homes, streets and motorways across the UK.
The Transport Minister said, “We will publish our consultation response on requiring all new residential and non-residential buildings to have a charge point and we intend to lay legislation later this year.
“We also confirmed our intention to mandate that home and workplace electric vehicle chargers must be capable of smart charging.”
About a third of households in Britain have no off-street parking, meaning charging points installed at workplaces or on the street will be increasingly important.
The UK’s EV charging point network will have to expand by up to 20 times current levels to cope with increased demand to support the ban on sales of internal combustion engine cars from 2030.
Government grants have been issued to private households of up to £350 to install a further 200,000 charging devices across the country.
Randolph Brazier, Director of Innovation and Electricity Systems at Energy Networks Association which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses, said, “To deliver the underlying infrastructure to support the move to net zero transportation, electricity networks must be able to make early investments in infrastructure as well as use new and innovative smart grid technologies.”
Dutch low carbon technology company Zero Emission Services (ZES) has modified the shipping vessel Alphenaar to run on exchangeable battery packs loaded within standard shipping containers. The Alphenaar’s conversion supports a 10-year deal with Heineken to ship its beer with zero emissions around the Netherlands using the country’s inland waterways.
According to ZES, the idea is simple, fill a standard container with batteries and sail under electric power to the next terminal where full batteries are ready to be exchanged. The depleted batteries are then recharged at the terminal and ready for the next swop.
Jorrit Harmsen, sustainable shipping consultant at Dutch technology research organisation TNO, is enthusiastic about the initiative, “This is certainly the first container ship that sails completely electrically. Inland waterway vessels require a large capacity with many batteries. What has been devised now, is a great solution.” It is also particularly suited, he says, to ships that sail fixed routes, meaning exchanging and recharging the battery containers take place at the same fixed places.
“In addition to directly contributing to the realisation of emission-free inland shipping, ZES is setting a standard that accelerates the transition to emission-free inland shipping,” says Willem Dedden, CEO of ZES. “We are laying the foundation with our ZESpack and a standard connector.”
In the near term ZES plans to expand its operations to include eight vessels, with 14 ZESpacks and eight loading stations, which can charge two packs in 2.5 hours (which potentially provide back-up storage capacity to stabilise the electricity grid). ZES says the technology is future-proofed in that it could work with other sources of energy, such as hydrogen or ammonia.
Longer term, the company aims to service 30 shipping routes by 2030, and by 2050 plans to have a fleet of 400 vessels in action, swapping up to 650 ZESpacks at 20 docking stations dotted around the country.
Dutch students from the Solar Team at the TU Eindhoven are about to undertake a 3,000km road trip across Europe in their self-powered Stella Vita camper.
Described as a solar house on wheels, the Stella Vita has an 8.8 m2 solar array on its roof that harvests energy for the 60-kWh lithium ion battery bank while driving. Slide-out panels double the total solar canopy when parked at camp.
All of the Stella Vita’s power needs, including the electric drive system but also kitchen, bathroom and lighting requirements, are expected to be met by the solar system alone, so there shouldn’t be a need to rely on charging infrastructure along the travel route.
In bright sunlight, Solar Team Eindhoven says that the vehicle could travel up to 730 km in a day, and that the range on a fully charged battery could allow as much as 600 km of motoring by night.
To prove the Stella Vita’s capabilities, team members are due to embark on a European Solar Tour. Setting off from Eindhoven in the Netherlands on 19 September, the team plans to head south through Zolder toward Brussels, and then onto Paris, Le Mans, Île de Ré, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Zaragoza, Madrid, Toledo, and Córdoba, with the 3,000-km journey coming to an end in the southern-most city in Spain, Tarifa, on 15 October.
UK EV mapping service Zap-Map has signed up five more charge point operators to join its Zap-Pay payment system.
GeniePoint, char.gy, Motor Fuel Group (MFG), Revive and Mer have all recently signed up to join existing Zap-Pay networks ESB Energy and also Osprey, which was the Zap-Pay launch partner in September 2020.
The enlarged network means Zap-Map’s 150,000 monthly active users will benefit from being able to search, plan and pay from within a single app at an increasing number of charge points across the UK, with more networks to be added soon.
Zap-Pay was launched last year with a mission to include all the key charge point networks across the UK. As a single-app payment system that uses a credit or debit card to pay for charging, Zap-Pay avoids the hassle of using different payment methods across all the various networks.
Once all seven networks are live – expected to be by October this year – over 2,000 charging devices across the UK and over 4,000 connectors will be Zap-Pay enabled. It also means that the Zap-Pay partner network is not only nationwide, but now includes all types of EV charging, from the very latest ultra-rapid chargers through to on-street and lamp-post charging closer to home.
In addition, reports Zap-Map, use of Zap-Pay has been increasing significantly in recent months, which will accelerate further as more networks come online with Zap-Pay and drivers increasingly see it as the simple way to charge across networks, within the familiar Zap-Map app.
Alex Earl, Commercial Director at Zap-Map, commented, “As electric vehicles become mainstream, we need to make paying for charging as simple as possible, and that’s exactly what Zap-Pay does.
“I’m thrilled to see that Zap-Pay now covers such a broad network of different chargers across the country. The increase in usage also gives a clear indication that Zap-Pay is the solution Zap-Map users needed.”
Zap-Map, which was launched in June 2014, displays over 95% of the UK’s public charge points, of which around 70% show live status data updated every five minutes. Over 75% of the UK EV drivers have downloaded Zap-Map, which has grown 60% since 2020, in line with the electric vehicle market.
German solar-powered electric car start-up Sono Motors has launched what it claims to be the first bidirectional AC charging wallbox. The wallbox enables Sono’s planned Sion model, which incorporates range extending solar panels, to be used as a mobile power plant and feed stored electricity directly into the driver’s house or into the grid.
Sono says homeowners with photovoltaic systems, especially, will save a large amount of money as they are able to use more of any self-generated electricity without having to buy an expensive home storage system.
The Sono wallbox will charge and discharge the Sion with up to 11 kW via the integrated Type 2 charging cable, saving, claims Sono, up to 70% of costs incurred by DC bidirectional wallboxes available to date. Delivery is expected to take place with the Sion start of production in 2023.
“We want to drive the future of energy generation and make bidirectional charging possible for everyone”, says Laurin Hahn, CEO and founder of Sono Motors. “In combination with the Sion’s integrated solar technology, the new wallbox represents a breakthrough for bidirectional charging technology, as many homeowners can save themselves the expense of purchasing a new, costly home storage system. This is an important milestone for us on the way to 100% renewable energy,” says Hahn.
In contrast to the DC wallboxes previously available, Sono Motors has opted for an AC wallbox which is up to 70% cheaper. This is possible, Sono says, because the conversion from direct to alternating current takes place within the Sion itself and not the wallbox – significantly reducing costs. The Sono wallbox was developed in collaboration with the German manufacturer Kostal.
The wallbox will fully charge the Sion’s 54 kWh LFP battery, providing a range of up to 305km from a 5-hour charge. And if caught short during a long journey, the Sion can be charged at DC charging stations at a speed of up to 75 kW via the integrated CCS interface, achieving an 80% charge in around 35 minutes.
Furthermore the Sion functions as a vehicle-to-home electricity storage unit. Electricity from, for instance, a home’s photovoltaic system or even the solar panels integrated into the Sion itself, can be stored in the Sion’s battery during the day and delivered to the house at night.
The vehicle also offers a vehicle to grid capability meaning excess energy, such as surplus generation from wind turbines, could be temporarily stored in the vehicle’s battery, meaning Sions could collectively become a decentralised mega-storage system.
Barcelona-based Wallbox, a leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions worldwide, has launched Hypernova, the company’s fastest public charging station to date.
Wallbox says as electric vehicles become increasingly popular, there is a need for reliable public chargers that are ultrafast, long-lasting and easy to repair.
The Hypernova can deliver up to 350 kW that allows it to fully charge an electric car in the time it takes to make a typical short rest stop and is substantially faster than most other ultrafast chargers on the market.
“We are thrilled to unveil our fastest public charger to date, which can fully charge an electric vehicle in under 15 minutes,” said Enric Asunción, CEO and co-founder of Wallbox. “Hypernova will be a game changer in building fast public charging infrastructure, especially on highways where drivers need to recharge and keep going,” Asunción added.
Hypernova employs advanced software that allows it to optimise available power and adapt to the number of EVs connected, making it ideal for public charging along highways and transcontinental road networks.
Hypernova’s integrated cable management system ensures easy handling and stores the cables inside the dispenser unit, maximising durability and helping to protect and keep the installation clean. It also offers several authentication and payment options, including RFID, screen QR Code and credit card reader with worldwide acceptance. Production and deliveries of Hypernova will start in late 2022.
Energy company Shell has set an ambition to have 50,000 on-street electric vehicle (EV) charge posts installed across the UK by the end of 2025, through ubitricity, which was acquired by Shell earlier this year.
The move is part of a wider effort to bring more EV charging availability UK drivers without private parking. More than 60% of households in English cities and urban areas do not have off-street parking – this rises to 68% for people living in social housing.
The UK government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) currently meets 75% of the cost of installing on-street chargers through the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS).
And for local authorities looking to install ubitricity charge posts, Shell, under its new initiative, will cover the remaining costs, subject to commercial terms.
Around 3,600 ubitricity chargers are already in place in the UK, using existing street infrastructure such as lamp posts and bollards.
Globally, Shell wants to grow its electric vehicle network from more than 60,000 charge points today to around 500,000 by 2025.
David Bunch, Shell’s UK Country Chair, says: “It’s vital to speed up the pace of EV charger installation across the UK and this aim and financing offer is designed to help achieve that. Whether at home, at work or on-the-go, we want to give drivers across the UK accessible EV charging options, so that more drivers can switch to electric.”
UK Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, adds, “Together with industry and local authorities, we can create cleaner, greener local communities – providing EV chargepoints for people without off-street parking across the country.”
Italian scooter maker Piaggio has joined forces with a Japanese consortium of major bike manufacturers set up to encourage the use of swappable batteries for electric motorcycles and light electric vehicles.
The newly enlarged and rebranded Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC) aims to broaden the use of light electric vehicles, such as scooters, mopeds and motorcycles, and support a more sustainable management of their batteries, a joint statement said.
It will focus on issues such as battery life, recharging times, infrastructure and costs and will work on defining international standard technical specifications for swappable batteries.
The companies in the consortium said they welcomed others joining them to extend standards to as many companies as possible.
“Urban mobility is going through a delicate transition moment towards electrification. Thanks to this consortium motorbikes will keep their key role,” Piaggio Chief of Strategy and Product Michele Colaninno said.
Honda’s Motorcycle Operations Chief Officer Yoshishige Nomura added the consortium’s objectives are to make electric motorbikes more convenient for clients, as their “use on large scale can substantially contribute to the creation of a more sustainable society”.
A programme to introduce workplace electric vehicle charging by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Germany’s largest research organisation, provided the perfect opportunity to research the commonly accepted position that simultaneous charging of many electric vehicles at one location will cause problems for the electricity grid.
The study, undertaken in collaboration with energy distribution network operator BN Netze, suggests the power distribution grid can cope with typical workplace EV charging – provided it is undertaken intelligently.
Furthermore, the project partners concluded that intelligent EV charging not only helps to limit the load on the grid but is potentially an opportunity to avoid unnecessary grid expansion.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, as part of the Charging at the Workplace project (LamA), installed 480 EV charge points across 36 of its Fraunhofer institute sites.
And with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg taking the lead, the project provided the perfect testbed to investigate both the charging behaviour of employees and the impact on the grid.
Working with BN Netze, Freiburg’s distribution network operator (DNO), the work established that intelligent control in the grid control system protects the grid from overloading when many users want to charge their vehicle at the same time, says Jörn Schumann from the Fraunhofer ISE project team.
However, he adds, it is important that charging is intelligently controlled. “If all users were to charge their vehicles at the same time, the load limit on the transformer could be exceeded. In order to avoid an overload of the distribution network due to massive power peaks and thus possible damage to the infrastructure, the charging power must be regulated by a control logic.
Central to the project’s success was a charging algorithm that generates a plan of when individual cars will be charged and at what rate. In addition to load forecasts the algorithm also factors in user requirements such as the desired departure time.
The charging management system monitors and controls the charging process. It also reacts to external control signals in the event of an impending overload of the grid. The charging power is then reduced. “This mode of operation leads to a more even distribution of charging power throughout the day and reduces grid expansion costs at the system level,” explain the Freiburg researchers.
The test programme also investigated deliberately increasing the load on the charging infrastructure to see how the how the system performed during limit violations. The charging management system apparently performed as designed, instantly reigning back charging to manageable loads.
“Charging electric vehicles at the workplace is an optimal use case,” says Schumann. “The private vehicle is parked in the company car park all day anyway. By implementing charging stations in company car parks, electromobility can become a viable alternative for the masses.”
Austrian solar energy company Fronius has completed a two-week test operation with a bus fuelled with green hydrogen at Wels in Upper Austria. The clean hydrogen gas is produced from solar power at Fronius’ SolHub facility at the SAN Biotech Park, in Herzogenburg, Lower Austria.
During the trial, the emission-free Solaris Urbino 12 Hydrogen bus was refuelled daily with around 13 kilograms of hydrogen. Refuelling took around 15 minutes which depending on operating conditions, provided a range of “at least 160 kilometres”.
“The best thing is that heat and water vapour are the only products of the chemical reaction in the fuel cell, they act as a kind of mini power station,” explains Abba Mejer, head of Solaris Bus. “Refuelling with hydrogen is short, convenient and hardly different from refuelling a diesel vehicle.”
Martin Hackl, Head of the Solar Division at Fronius says, “With the Solhub, we offer a complete turnkey solution that makes it possible to produce local, green hydrogen and use it to refuel fuel cell vehicles.”
Fronius’s aim with the trial was to prove the practical feasibility of locally produced green hydrogen. “We are showing that the technology works and is suitable for everyday use,” says Thomas Rührlinger, who develops new business models at Fronius.
“Sustainable and locally produced hydrogen holds great potential and strengthens domestic value creation as well as regional business models,” he adds. “In the next few years, we expect to see a large number of additional implementations with customers from commercial and production companies, municipalities and transport companies, as well as logistics, tourism, operators of special vehicles and in the context of renewable energy communities.”
German ferry company Oderhaff Reederei Peters has put a solar-electric ferry into service for the short crossing from the port town of Kamp on the German Baltic coat to the island of Usedom. Power comes from solar modules on the ship’s roof.
Usedom is a tourist destination and particularly popular with cyclists. The new ship carries 20 people and 15 bicycles at a service speed of 8km/h hour across the Szczecin Lagoon, which is only 500m wide at this point. The boat has a maximum speed of 15 km/h.
The solar modules generate a power output of 4.3 kilowatts, which is sufficient for the short journey, although the boat has an 80Kw/h back-up battery.
The 14.65m-long boat took steel sheet manufacturer Ostseestaal three months to construct with input from sister company Ampereship, a specialist in electric solar-powered ships and ferries.
The new emission-free ferry should save 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year compared to the diesel ferry it has replaced.
Meanwhile Ostseestaal and Ampereship, both based in the Hanseatic city of Stralsund on the German Baltic coast, have a full order book for similar electric-solar boats for various inland navigation services within Europe.
The London Borough of Lambeth and electric vehicle charging specialist Connected Kerb, have completed a project to demonstrate how affordable and accessible public EV charging infrastructure can be provided to tackle EV inequality and drive greater adoption among under-represented communities.
While EV ownership is increasing significantly, the transition to EVs has exposed disparities between different communities across the UK. For example, those living in urban centres, high-rise flats and council estates are significantly less likely to have access to a private driveway, making it difficult to install solutions for charging at home.
At the same time, these communities have the most to gain from the clean transport revolution, as often they are disproportionately exposed to the highest levels of toxic exhaust emissions and poorer air quality.
Approximately a third of residents in Lambeth live on estates managed by the council and a large proportion of drivers rely on public EV charging infrastructure. The project potentially acts as a blueprint that can be adopted at scale by other boroughs, councils and cities across Britain to deliver an inclusive and equitable EV transition, serving all members of society, including the 40% of households nationally without off-street parking.
“People often think electric vehicles are the preserve of a fortunate few with detached houses and driveways, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With running costs much lower than petrol and diesel cars, all communities, regardless of where they live, their social background, or whether they have a driveway or not, have lots to gain,” said Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb.
“Unfortunately, some communities are being failed by a classic chicken and egg scenario. Without high EV adoption, charge point operators won’t build public charging, and without reliable charging, why would anyone go electric? We have designed our business model to overcome this and with Lambeth Council, we are delivering a fairer and equitable clean transport future – here and right across the UK.”
The project in Lambeth includes 22 on-street EV chargers across 11 of the borough’s housing estates to provide easy access to public charging, even for those without off-street parking. It forms part of the council’s wider strategy to work with multiple charge point operators to install more than 200 charge points by 2022, with the aim of ensuring every household with no access to off-street parking is within a five-minute walk of their nearest charge point.
Performance Team, a US warehousing and distribution company owned by Maersk, has placed an order for 16 Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 trucks — Volvo’s largest commercial order of the North American zero-tailpipe emission model to date. The VNR Electric model will also be Performance Team’s first zero-tailpipe emission, battery-electric Class 8 truck.
Designed for local and regional freight distribution, when put into service by the end of the year, all 16 vehicles will be carrying regional loads daily to customers across Southern California.
“The shift toward electrification is an exciting time in the commercial truck space and Performance Team is leading the way with its largest order of the only battery-electric Class 8 model in scalable serial production today,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Through its commitment to deploy 16 Volvo VNR Electrics by the end of 2021, Performance Team has demonstrated a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, and this is another great step forward in reducing the trucking industry’s overall carbon footprint.”
The acquisition of the new Volvo VNR Electric models is part of Maersk’s Environment Social Governance (ESG) strategy to decarbonize logistics. Performance Team is participating in a State of California South Coast Air Quality Management District grant to reduce emissions in the transportation sector by replacing diesel trucks with electric trucks and creating new, future charging infrastructure. The El Segundo, California-based company operates a North America warehousing and distribution network of 45 locations and a fleet of 215 trucks.
“We’re seeing a 30% growth rate in our warehousing and distribution business,” said Jason Walker, executive vice president of operations of Performance Team. “Customers are looking for more truck power to meet high volume delivery demands. This new order of will give us firsthand experience on their performance carrying regional loads and environmental benefits. Our findings will help determine next steps in our fleet modernisation and the electric infrastructure necessary for future operations.”
The UK’s Department for Transport has awarded funding through Innovate UK to a consortium to undertake the UK’s first ever study on the electrification of long-range trucks with dynamic charging, using overhead wires on motorways.
The study is part of the £20m assigned for zero emission road freight trials under the recently announced Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP). The Costain-led consortium includes Siemens Mobility, Scania, The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (Cambridge University and Heriot-Watt University), ARUP, Milne Research, SPL Powerlines, CI Planning, BOX ENERGI and Possible.
Costain’s Sue Kershaw, managing director transportation, said, “This study is another important step towards understanding how industry could work together to tackle one of the largest carbon emission producers in the country and create a cleaner, greener and more efficient road freight network across the UK.”
Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) currently emit 18% of all road vehicle CO2 emissions, despite only representing 1.2% of the total number of vehicles on the road and 5% of the total miles driven. They are, however, essential to the health of the UK economy, with the new plan citing them as “critical to our economic wellbeing,” transporting 98% of our food, consumer, and agricultural products across the country.
The consortium has proposed an ‘electric road system’, using the Siemens Mobility ‘eHighway’ technology, as the fastest, lowest carbon and most cost-effective route to decarbonising the road freight industry and delivering cleaner air. The nine-month study starts is a trial for a plan that could see the UK’s major roads served by overhead lines by the 2030s.
The eHighway technology allows adapted trucks to attach to the overhead wires and run using the electricity, similar to rail and tram systems. The trucks come equipped with a battery that charges while they are in motion so they can detach to both overtake vehicles and reach their destination with zero emissions from start to finish.
Consortium members Siemens Mobility, Scania and SPL have previously trialled smaller electric road systems in Germany and Sweden, with this UK initiative being the first in the world to investigate deploying it at a much larger scale.
The project will look at electrifying at least 30km of the M180 motorway, linking Immingham Port with the logistics hubs of Doncaster and its airport. The partners plan to take the lessons learned from Europe, and provide technical, economic, and environmental recommendations for installing a proof-of-concept system with a bigger demonstration fleet.
Professor David Cebon, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (Cambridge University and Heriot-Watt University), said, “Our previous research says that overhead catenary power will provide the lowest cost, lowest carbon, and most rapidly deployable solution to decarbonise long-haul road freight in the UK. This project will test the concept at the next level of detail. Moreover, the technologies this consortium is working on could be deployed in most countries once demonstrated, supporting the global move towards greener logistics.”
UK electric vehicle technology company Sprint Power is leading a UK government-backed project that aims to demonstrate the suitability of wireless charging technology for taxis.
Taxi ranks in the medium to large cities of Nottingham, Coventry and London are to be fitted with inductive pads allowing the vehicles to charge while waiting for the next ride. Wireless charging has the potential to increase range and by reducing the need to plug-in means vehicles can be in service for more of a driver’s shift.
The project involves a fleet of ten range-extended LEVC TX (the low emission version of London’s iconic “black cab”) and eight pure-electric Nissan models. Sprint Power has modified the vehicles for both wireless and plug-in charging and developed the charging technology.
Project partner University of Nottingham is currently commissioning the first prototype, with all vehicles due to be on-road from early autumn. Members of the public will be able to spot the special taxis by their distinctive livery, while passengers can learn more about how the technology works via posters in each vehicle.
Funding for the project has been awarded by Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body funded by the UK government and designed to drive research and development into new technologies. In addition to Sprint Power, the consortium includes CENEX (Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies), Coventry University, Nottingham City Council, Shell, Parking Energy, and Transport for London.
Founder and CEO of Sprint Power, Richie Frost, said: “We are delighted to be part of this pioneering project and are on track to deliver these custom-built products for the taxis hitting the streets of Nottingham.
“I firmly believe this exciting project underscores the importance of wireless charging technology to this country’s shift towards sustainable mobility.”
US electric vehicle charging network operator ChargePoint has acquired Dutch eBus and commercial vehicle management provider ViriCiti for approximately €75 million. The deal is ChargePoint’s second major European acquisition within the last month; in July it announced a €250 million intended takeover of has-to-be, the Austrian e-mobility provider and charging software platform developer.
ViriCiti will enhance the ChargePoint fleet solution portfolio of hardware, software and services by integrating information sources to optimise electric fleet operations, including battery management, charging station monitoring, OEM-agnostic telematics, vehicle maintenance and vehicle operations data.
The combined solution will enable fleet operators to identify which of routes could be most effectively electrified, monitor and report on uptime, optimise fuelling to ensure operational readiness at low cost, and integrate vehicle and charging station management.
Pasquale Romano, President and CEO of ChargePoint, said, “The future of fleets is electric, and integrating charging solutions with the many business systems already in place in today’s depots is essential to successful electrification.
“Adding ViriCiti’s vehicle management capabilities to our fleet portfolio allows ChargePoint to deliver more functionality to eBus and commercial fleet operators, while remaining open to integration with existing telematics systems. The combined solution underscores the importance of software to EV charging and will ensure operational readiness at low cost as fleets of all types across North America and Europe continue to electrify.”
Founded in 2012, ViriCiti today has more than 50 employees in the Netherlands and United States, and established market share in North America and Europe with approximately 150 fleet operators, 3,500 connected vehicles and 2,500 networked ports under management.
ViriCiti customers include prominent fleet operators and OEMs, such as Arriva, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, Chicago Transit Authority, GILLIG, Keolis, King County Metro, Metropolitan Transit Authority (New York), PicNic, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority and Toronto Transit Commission.
Freek Dielissen, CEO of ViriCiti, said, “Our mission over the last nine years has been to help fleet operators manage their electric operations. Today, zero-emission transportation is at a tipping point, and we are excited to join EV charging leader ChargePoint, integrate our complementary offerings and tap into the resources that will enable the electrification of fleets at a faster pace across North America and Europe.”
Dr Jose Serras-Pereira, Director – Advisory, Mobility Group, Frost & Sullivan, confirmed, “The need for efficient software tools to gather, analyse and recommend vehicle types, charging hardware, site energy requirements and other operational strategies has never been greater. Software, analytics and advisory are expected to be key portfolio components for any industry actor wishing to provide a holistic suite of electrification services in a B2B setting and help accelerate fleet electrification over the next decade. ChargePoint is now well positioned to offer fleet managers large and small a full range of tools required to start planning and executing their electrification journeys.”
The UK’s government backed innovation agency Innovate UK has launched its UK Transport Vision 2050.
The vision sets out what the UK transport system might look like in 2050 and outlines the likely steps along the way to achieving it.
The project is described as an attempt to gather the UK government and industry around a single vision of transport as “an interconnected system that delivers for people and places”.
It is also to provoke debate, and Innovate UK is seeking feedback to help refine and improve the vision.
Within the vision, Innovate UK has identified six key areas, namely:
travel and transport demand
The vision and pathways highlight major new opportunities for economic growth and societal benefit, showing how businesses need to adapt and evolve in order to secure market position and grow.
While developed for the UK, Innovate UK says the challenges and opportunities are largely the same across the globe. The major trends identified are:
powering of transport in the future will radically change, bringing significant opportunities and risk for UK design, production and supply chains
electricity, hydrogen, ammonia and sustainable fuel will replace petroleum and create new opportunities for generation, production and distribution
greater connectivity, autonomous systems, new business models and robotics will transform transport
The Transport Vision 2050 has grown out of extensive research into the future of transport and out of consultation with partners in both the public and private sectors. The document will be regularly updated and used to inform decisions on future investments.
Prototypes of a new design of retractable on-street electric vehicle charge points that sit flush within the pavement when not in use have been installed within the London Borough of Brent. The aim is to deliver on-street charging while keeping streets clear of clutter.
Five of the Trojan Energy charge points have been installed for a small group of trial participants to carry out real-world testing. The full trial of 150 charge points across Brent and the adjacent borough of Camden will then go live later in the year.
The system has been designed with input from Disability Rights UK.
The charge points, says start-up Trojan Energy, represent a critical moment in the three-year Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways (STEP) project funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and delivered by Innovate UK, which has seen the charge points developed from concept, through manufacturing and now deployment.
In use up to 15 of the “flat and flush” charging points will be installed in parallel from one electricity network connection, with power distributed across the chargers. London’s electricity network operator UK Power Networks, as a partner in the STEP project, is looking at how to manage the additional load presented as the uptake in EVs continues and more people charge at peak times.
Ian Mackenzie, CEO of Trojan Energy commented, “Trojan Energy is delighted to reach this important milestone in the STEP project, as it represents the first implementation of our flat, flush and futureproof charging technology. We’d like to thank Innovate UK for their support, all the project partners for their expertise and help, and OZEV for their funding. We can’t wait to see the first driver reactions and hear their feedback so we can generate learnings for the wider project rollouts across Brent and Camden.”
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean added, “Innovation is key to creating cleaner, greener local communities – not only in the capital, but right across the country.
“This project is a great example of how technology is being used to solve a real-world problem to ensure that our EV infrastructure fits in seamlessly in our local towns and cities. This is crucial as we build back greener and encourage more people to make the switch, which is why I’m delighted this government is backing its delivery.”
The full trial will see 10 sets of 15 charge points deployed on six streets in Brent and four streets in Camden.
Strategic energy consultancy Element Energy are leading the project and have designed a survey alongside academic partners Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds to evaluate the success of the project. Results from the pre-trial survey suggest that 50% of EV Driver participants find their current charging situation inconvenient and are in need of a better solution, with over 70% stating that the availability of local charging points was an important factor for their EV purchase.
Sarah Clements, Principal Consultant at Element Energy and the Project Manager commented, “The sheer volume of participants signed up to this trial demonstrates the crucial need for on-street charging in residential areas. STEP is tackling a key barrier to EV uptake by providing convenient access to chargers for those that cannot charge at home. One aspect we are particularly keen to understand is whether deployment of this on-street technology will give confidence to local consumers to upgrade to EV – an important policy focus in the UK today”.
As part of the trial, renewable electricity supplier Octopus Energy is offering the opportunity for customers to merge their car charging costs with their home energy bill through Octopus’ EV roaming service, the Electric Juice Network. This will create a seamless system for paying for all the electricity they use in one place, as if charging at home.