German fuel retailer Aral has commissioned Siemens Smart Infrastructure to upgrade grid connections at 30 service stations to support ultra-fast EV charging technology. The work is expected to be completed this month.

The joint project between Aral and Siemens is an important contribution to creating public fast charging stations. “By equipping our retail stations with charging infrastructure for EVs, we are taking a major step forward in creating the service station of the future,” said Patrick Wendeler, member of the managing board of Aral AG. “To make charging as fast as putting fuel in your car, we have opted for ultra-fast charging stations with a power of up to 350 kW,” says Patrick Wendeler, who is a member of the managing board of Aral AG. “But chargers alone are not enough. The retrofit also requires a powerful and reliable grid connection. That is why we are glad to have Siemens with its expertise in electrical infrastructure at our side.”

Most refuelling stations currently only have a low-voltage connection. To meet the increased power demand of fast chargers, the grid connection needs to be upgraded to a medium-voltage connection with much higher power. This is achieved through substations that connect the service stations’ charging infrastructure to the public power grid. Each substation consists of a hermetically capsulated transformer, a gas-insulated medium-voltage switchgear, type 8DJH, and a Sivacon S8 low-voltage switchboard.

And by using communicating hardware and internet of things (IoT) technology, Aral will be able to monitor the substations performance in use. “Intelligent substations not only allow Aral to introduce ultra-fast charging technology but also ensures the highest reliability and better grid use within the existing infrastructure,” said Stephan May, CEO of distribution systems at Siemens Smart Infrastructure.

The rollout of high-power chargers at Aral service stations in Germany is part of parent company BP’s strategy to increase the number of its globally operated charging points from 7000 in 2020 to 70,000 in 2030.