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Rural EV charging challenges to be tackled by Innovate UK funded consortium

The project is to look at rural electric vehicle charging, with Devon the focus. Image: Lewis Clarke (Geograph).

The project is to look at rural electric vehicle charging, with Devon the focus. Image: Lewis Clarke (Geograph).

A consortium consisting of EDF, Bonnet, DG Cities and Devon County Council looking to understand the challenges of rural electric vehicle (EV) charging has been awarded £335,000 by Innovate UK.

This is to fund the Rural Electric Mobility Enabler (REME) project, an eight-month undertaking studying solutions to improve public EV charging provision in rural regions.

The project is to focus on Devon, with the partners hoping to propose a new business model to other rural councils in the UK following the end of the trial period.

Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport said that nine out of ten drivers the council surveyed in county want to switch to an EV over the next few years, meaning the council has to "be prepared".

"A vital part of that is better understanding the challenges of access to EV chargers and the associated energy supply from the grid, which will be caused by this increase in EV usage.”

Devon County Council’s data is to be used to understand seasonal flows of people to the area and how this will impact future public demand, while DG Cities and EDF will use field dynamic code mapping and data from National Grid to work out where in regional areas it would be necessary, although difficult, to implement public EV chargepoints.

Bonnet will use its consumer-facing app to offer drivers access to private chargepoints in rural areas, where demand is high. This creates financial opportunities for domestic chargepoint owners while also increasing the volume of reliable options for EV owners, the company said.

In August, Bonnet raised £920,000 in an equity financing round led by Ascension Ventures, with the company also winning an additional £70,000 grant from Innovate UK and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles. The funding is to go towards supporting the growth of Bonnet’s team as well as expanding the platform’s chargepoint offering and partnerships with network operators.

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