The UK’s largest single site install of electric vehicle chargers has been completed at one of two properties owned by a cargo firm in a further sign that fleet electrification is set to dominate EV deployment.
Gnewt Cargo has had a total of 63 smart chargers from EO installed on two of its sites, with 41 in place at its Bow facility in East London thanks, in part, to £1 million from the London mayor’s office and Innovate UK. Five of the chargers are 22kW to facilitate the charging of larger vehicles while the other installed chargers are 7kW.
The larger installation of the two at the company's main depot is the largest single site charge point installation in the UK, which required EO Charging’s specific system approach to manage such large numbers.
Instead of offering smart chargers across both sets of installations, the company’s ‘dumb’ chargers are linked together by the EO Hub, which connects up to 32 charge point via the internet to the EO Cloud platform which allows management of the chargers.
Speaking to Clean Energy News, EO Charging’s founder Charlie Jardine, said: “The difficulty tends to come when you want to sit 40 charge points at one depot and all the vehicles come back at the same time, most buildings haven't been designed with that type of power requirement.
“The benefit of having the intelligence outside of the charger is if we look at a competing product, you tend to have the intelligence built inside the charge station so the extra cost of that is typically £300-400 pounds per charger.
“Once you started scaling up to 40 [or more] units, having intelligence inside each charge point basically makes the system super expensive.”
The Hub can be bought for £400 with each charger costing £500-600 alone, meaning "every time you add a charge point the system gets more cost effective,” Jardine stated.
The cloud allows Gnewt Cargo to monitor the live status of each charger and how much energy each charging session has received while allowing the company to restrict access, do billing, and schedule charging.
The EO Hub also connects to the incoming power supply which monitors both the charge stations and building where they are located, allowing chargers to be ramped up and down based on what power is available.
"There are peak periods at the site where there might not be lots of supply so at those times we ramp the chargers down and when everyone goes home and the cars are there overnight there's quite a lot of supply available,” Jardine said.
As part of the Innovate UK funding win, EO Charging is also working with an unnamed utility to take its Hub technology further to work on a regional level should demand from EVs increase in the area.
"What they're doing is aggregating those 63 charge points alongside a number of other electrical assets...collectively that load can be bid into DSR events and that's where our revenue would be.
“For EO Charging it's interesting because we're actually able to generate some revenue, keep some and pass some back to the client,” Jardine explained.
'Highest growth area of the market'
The installations for Gnewt Cargo are the latest example of now fleet electrification is taking off within the private sector, a trend that Jardine said will become a key area of activity in the coming months.
“I think this year and next year one of, if not the, highest growth area of the market will be on the fleet side. If just over 50% of all vehicles on the road are owned by businesses and you then look at London leading the way, but also a number of other cities around the UK, introducing ultra low emission zones, the pressure on these blue chip corporates is one thing but also most importantly the commercial case of transitioning a proportion of the fleet to electric starts to stack.
“The typical sweet spot in terms of daily mileage is between 80-100 miles because the more miles you do the more savings you have on fuel...that alone potentially could make the business case stack.
“You then add the other factors in like congestion charge, parking and then the commercial case is probably obliterated in favour of EVs. The final factor to make the commercial case stack in most situations is of course the cost of the vehicles. As they come down, and they are, then the commercial case does stack for almost everyone,” he said.
EO Charging was also among around 80 companies involved in projects to have secured a share of £30 million from Innovate UK to support vehicle to grid projects.
Working alongside EDF, the University of Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council, Arrival, Upside Energy, and Fleet Innovation, V2Go will use 100 electric fleet vehicles (cars and vans) to develop, trial and evaluate potential business models for fleet operators’ use of electric vehicles and their suitability for vehicle to grid (V2G) charging.