Oxford, Kent and Arsenal: New EV charging hubs unveiled across the South East

Plans have been unveiled for Oxford to host what is described as Europe's most powerful electric vehicle (EV) charging hub. Meanwhile, Kent County Council and Arsenal FC are also celebrating charger installations.

Pictured: An artist's impression of the Oxford Superhub. Image: Pivot Power/ Greenhouse PR

Pictured: An artist's impression of the Oxford Superhub. Image: Pivot Power/ Greenhouse PR

The Oxford hub will be based at the Redbridge Park & Ride facility and will host 38 fast and ultra-rapid EV chargers from Fastned and Tesla.

Fastned claims that its chargers, which have a 300kW setting, can add up to 300 miles of charge in 20 minutes for most EV models. The Tesla V3 ‘Superchargers’ will be able to deliver full range for a Tesla Model 3 within 45 minutes.

100% renewable electricity will be used to power the facility, dubbed a ‘Superhub’. Some of the electricity will be generated by a solar roof on-site, and the site will also share a new grid connection to National Grid’s high voltage transmission network with a 50MW hybrid battery. The battery will be used to provide real-time grid balancing services, storing solar-generated power when there is excess and discharging to the grid when demand is high. The rest of the power demand will be met using green tariffs.

Pivot Power is leading the £41m hub project. Aside from Tesla and Fastned, it is collaborating with Oxford City Council and Spanish multinational charging service provider Wenea. Together, the project partners expect to have the Superhub up and running by the end of 2021.

Oxford City Council is notably striving to deliver a net-zero region by 2030. A key part of delivering net-zero for transport, and also meeting the Council’s local air quality targets, is the launch of a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) this August.

“As an innovative city embracing technologies and change, Oxford is the natural home for the UK's largest public EV charging hub,” the Council’s cabinet member for green transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, Cllr Tom Hayes said.

“We are excited to be taking a major step forward in the completion of Energy Superhub Oxford, working closely and superbly with our private sector partners. As an ambitious city, we are excited about the prospect of further innovation and investments, building upon our record of transformational public and private sector delivery."

Pivot Power, meanwhile, believes the Superhub will be the first of up to 40 similar sites across the UK. The firm’s chief executive Matt Allen said the Oxford location “is a blueprint that can be replicated right across the country”. He said Pivot Power will “work hand-in-hand with local communities to create cleaner, more sustainable cities where people want to live and work.”

The news comes after MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published a report urging the Government to do more to support the UK’s transition to banning new petrol and diesel car sales from 2030. Charging infrastructure is raised in the report as a key challenge, which, the MPs claim, departments across Whitehall are not presently collaborating efficiently enough to address.  The report is entitled ‘first report – low-emission cars’ and has received coverage in several national news outlets.  

Kent and London

In related news, Kent County Council has partnered with EV charging specialist Connected Kerb to install 40 publicly accessible charging points across 20 locations.

The local authority said in a statement that locations currently lacking good charging point access and distribution will be served by the project. It estimates that, at present, neighbourhoods like Gravesham host the equivalent of just 3.7 charging points per 100,000 people. In central London, the rate is 63 chargers to 100,000 residents.

Sites set to host chargers include village halls, pavilions and car parks, with the first locations due to come online by the end of May. Each charger will have a 7kW charging and 22kW fast charging setting. Kent County Council expects to operate the chargers for 20 years and has promised to reinvest all profits in more EV infrastructure or other community schemes.

“Access to charging infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to the uptake of EVs,” Connected Kerb’s chief executive Chris Pateman-Jones said. “Although demand for chargers is higher in dense urban areas, the lack of infrastructure in out-of-town communities leaves people concerned about switching to EVs. It is vital that access to public charging is equitable across the entire country and we bring an end to the EV charging postcode lottery.”

Also this week, Arsenal FC has unveiled three new EV charging points at the fan car park at the Emirates stadium. Installed as part of an ongoing partnership with Octopus Energy, the chargers have a 7kW setting and will be powered with 100% renewable electricity.

“From a practical point of view, the installation of the chargers is very important to ensure we cater for our fans as EVs become more widely used,” Arsenal FC’s sustainability and logistics manager Mike Lloyd said.” As a Premier League football club with a huge global following, it’s also crucial that we use our platform to promote green practices, inspire our communities and push each other towards a more sustainable future.”

Sarah George



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