'Important milestone': National Grid eyes up ultra-rapid motorway EV charging fleet
National Grid is exploring the possibility of rolling out a superfast charging network across the UK's major motorways that is directly connected to the transmission system, according to reports.
The FT has today (19 February) reported that 50 strategic sites have been identified by National Grid, following an announcement from the group’s project director of EVs Graeme Cooper.
More than 90% of drivers would be within 50 miles of an ultra-rapid charger at any given time, it is claimed.
The chargers would reportedly deliver up to 350kW of electricity and reduce charging times to between 5-12 minutes.
This is a significant advance on the 20-40 minutes it currently takes EV drivers to fill up their car, and would be similar to the seven minutes it takes on average to charge a petrol car. Home chargers are typically between 7kW and 11kW.
The Renewable Energy Association’s head of EVs Matthew Trevaskis has described the announcement as an “important milestone” for the UK’s future EV charging network.
“National Grid will play an increasingly crucial role in EV rollout and it is excellent to see some big-picture thinking from them on this issue,” Trevaskis said.
“The pace of progress relating to EV rollout from automotive manufacturers, charge companies, and grid operators is rapidly increasing, and it is now up to Government and regulators to build on the excellent work done to date and to implement documents such as the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.”
Superfast chargers connected to the transmission network could help to prevent local power shortages. It is estimated that 100 chargers placed on each of the chosen motorway sites would provide around 35MW of electricity – enough to power 14,000 homes.
National Grid is already working alongside Japanese car giant Nissan on a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) pilot project which is aiming for 1000 installations over the next three years. The scheme was awarded £9.8m as part of the Government’s programme to develop the business proposition and core technology around V2G.
Over the weekend, Nissan told the FT that it expects EVs to reach cost parity with petrol or diesel cars by 2025. A “technological revolution” in the mid-term will end the need for government subsidies that currently support the majority of electric car sales, said Nissan’s executive vice president Daniele Schillaci.
This comes as top car makers including VW, BMW, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover have moved to ramp up investment into battery and EV research and manufacturing. Just last month, Ford announced it is going "all in" on the EV market with an $11bn plan to rollout 40 new vehicles.