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'Catalytic' EV charging investment fund aiming to set the UK ahead of the curve

Image: BMW

Image: BMW

The government’s Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF) intends to be the catalyst that drives the UK ahead of the curve in EV charging, a spokesperson for fund manager Zouk Capital has said.

Speaking at Solar and Storage Live in Birmingham, George Ridd, partner at Zouk Capital, said that the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF) would help change public perception of charging and relieve range anxiety.

“You can’t break the chicken and the egg of an EV and an EV charger by waiting for someone to buy an EV. [Consumers] need to see the public networks there to have that confidence to make that leap,” Ridd said.

“The networks need to be scalable, the market is growing and we need to grow in mind with that curve. We are looking to be ahead of the curve, we’re looking to be catalytic,” he continued.

Zouk Capital was chosen as the preferred bidder to run the £400 million CIIF in February, with a £70 million investment from Masdar and the government announced last week.

The investment period will end in March 2024, and Zouk is looking to sell the assets on in somewhere between five and eight years time.

Ridd also confirmed that whilst the core focus of the fund will be the chargers, battery storage will be part of the overall picture, with the idea being that co-location with batteries would help managing peak demand on the grid and capacity constraints, as well as being used to “upgrade” sites that perform particularly well.

Battery storage also has the possibility of enabling smart charging on public networks, Ridd said. If there are high levels of renewable generation on an evening, for instance, an operator could then issue a signal to its members to charge at a certain time using the renewable energy stored in the battery, with prices then cut accordingly.

Currently, the focus of smart charging is predominantly on domestic chargers, where an EV is parked for a much longer period than at a public charger and can be charged when demand is low.

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