UK to get world’s largest rapid charging and battery network

UK to get world’s largest rapid charging and battery network


A new £1.6 billion programme will see the world’s largest battery energy storage network rolled out in the UK, supporting rapid EV charging hubs across the country.

Plans announced by Pivot Power include a 2 GW network of grid-scale batteries built, which will provide infrastructure to support increased uptake in EV sales, and clean air policies.

Pivot Power will develop 45 sites, with 50 MW batteries at electricity sub-stations connected to the extra-high-voltage transmission system. This will give the National Grid a significant resource in managing supply.

The battery network will be the world’s largest, able to store enough power for 235,000 typical homes a day. The capacity is such to absorb two thirds of the power from the planned Hinkley C nuclear power plant in response to grid balancing requirements.

The subject of EVs placing increased strain on the National Grid has been looked at for some time now, with the grid operators stating that overall capacity is up to the task with a little investment, but capacity needs to be used in a smarter way.

EVs that can feed power back into the grid at peak times, and charge off-peak is one potential solution, and the new 2 GW network will work in a similar way – just in much larger scale.

Sites for the installations have been chosen near urban areas and major roads, where they can support the charging of EVs. Fed directly by the transmission system, the hubs will be able to charge multiple EVs at the same time, at competitive electricity rates, and support up to 100 ultra-rapid 150 kW chargers. The system is future-proof too, and able to deal with 350 kW ultra-rapids when they come online.

With the planned roll-out, Pivot Power considers the ultra-rapid charging network will be the world’s largest; tackling availability, EV range, and cost considerations with one solution.

Graeme Cooper, National Grid Project Director for Electric Vehicles, said: “We expect the use of electric vehicles to grow rapidly. This innovative solution will help accelerate adoption by providing a network of rapid charging stations across the country enabling cars to charge quickly, efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.

“It will also give the system operator more choice and flexibility for managing the demands in the day to day running of the network, and also help mass EV charging.”

Pivot power expects to have 10 sites operational within the next 18 months, and a site on the south coast up and running by the middle of 2019. Each hub will be able to support a range of infrastructure requirements, including EV charging, electric bus depots, and bases for transport fleets.

Find existing EV charge points on Zap-Map desktop and app – new units are added when they go online