Holidaymakers visiting Devon and Cornwall set to benefit from new EV rapid charging solution in Exeter

Posted on 18 Aug 2022 by The Manufacturer

EV-driving holidaymakers visiting Devon and Cornwall this summer can now access rapid charging thanks to a breakthrough solution from Western Power Distribution (WPD) that has gone live at Moto’s Exeter motorway services.

The electricity distribution network operator has installed and switched on its innovative ‘Take Charge’ technology which aims to make rapid charging at motorway service stations easier for both service station operators and customers.

WPD has invested £1m in the Take Charge project which has developed new technology to deliver the electrical capacity required to power 80 rapid EV chargers at a single service station site. This 12,000kW capacity is the equivalent of powering 10,000 conventional homes or a small town. Without the compact Take Charge technology, which is the size of just two shipping containers, the motorway service network would need substations with a much larger physical footprint to power the same number of rapid EV chargers.

Western Power Distribution’s Take Charge technology has gone live at Moto’s Exeter motorway services

Take Charge is a standardised, pre-constructed and pre-packaged ‘one size fits all’ solution. By delivering 12,000kW of capacity, it ensures that service station customers can charge their vehicles simultaneously at peak time. The project’s ‘plug in and play’ components can quickly and easily deliver capacity for up to 80 rapid chargers of 150kW capacity at each motorway service site. This will help avert the need to build additional complex and costly infrastructure that requires a lot of space.

WPD predicts that this latest innovation will mean a saving of almost half a million pounds for each site installation compared to the technology that is currently in use. This would represent a total saving of over £33m across the UK if it were to be rolled out to 75% of existing service stations. The installation will be trialled over a six-month period to evaluate its performance, the benefits generated and the associated learning. If successful, it is hoped that Take Charge could be rolled out across the motorway service station network over the coming years. In its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy released earlier this year, the government outlined its ambition for all motorway service sites to have at least six rapid chargers by the end of 2023. Overall, the government’s ambition is to see around 6,000 high powered charge points on England’s motorways by 2035. It is hoped that WPD’s project will make the installation of rapid chargers easier and more cost effective for service station operators.

Commenting on the project, WPD’s Systems Development Manager Paul Jewell said:

Government and industry have long identified the importance of making widespread rapid charging available at service stations. If we are to encourage the take up of EVs, we need to make charging in all scenarios easier and quicker.

“However, in order to have the number of rapid chargers required to meet the increased demand over the next decade, motorway service stations will require the electrical capacity of a small town. Providing this capacity through existing technology and infrastructure can be disruptive and expensive.

“Our Take Charge project provides a ready-made solution for the installation of rapid chargers at service stations. Not only will the project cut costs, but it will make the installation of rapid chargers easier across the whole of the UK.

“Ultimately it is our hope that this project will ensure that EV drivers on journeys of all lengths are never far away from a rapid charger and that service stations have the capacity required to meet expected demand.”

Moto Chief Executive Ken McMeikan added: “Western Power Distribution’s Take Charge project will be a game changer for Moto if it’s rolled out across the UK. This innovative solution should allow us to better overcome one of the key challenges associated with the roll out of the biggest EV charging network on the UK’s motorways – access to sufficient electricity.

“At Moto we’re committed to delivering a better experience for current EV drivers and making the prospect of EV transition more attractive for prospective owners. This partnership will help Moto in that mission and help us to deliver above and beyond the government target of six rapid chargers at each motorway service site by 2023.”

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