Overcoming grid constraints to deliver EV charging across 200 sites in the UK
The National Highways EV Project Challenge
National Highways own and operate over 200 motorway service stations across the country. They have begun to upgrade and install rapid EV charging stations, with the aim of providing ~1MW of EV charging on each site.
Motorway service stations set up in the 1970s did not have such a large and highly variable electricity load in mind. Grid upgrades are expensive and unavailable at those sites for another seven years. As there is limited space to install solar panels, the amount of power they can reliably access from the grid is also limited. Without the ability to make full use of whatever solar capacity can be installed and to access unused grid capacity when onsite demand is low, National Highways would not be able to install the desired high powered EV chargers.
At each service station, we are supplying a containerised battery storage system, together with our dynamic energy management platform – Podium. This monitors the whole flow of energy to the site, and solar availability, charging the batteries during low demand periods and charging cars when people need to plug them in.
If too many people need to power up at the same time, our system dynamically modulates and controls the chargers to ration the energy in those very peak periods.
This dynamic approach to energy use and storage helps to make full use of any onsite solar capacity while staying within the limits set by the original grid connection.
We are rolling out containerized solutions across multiple sites in 2023, with more planned in 2024. Each site installation brings its own learning into the team and helps the next location and deployment run smoother over time.
National Highways EV Project
total inverter capacity
Total battery capacity
7 x 900kW
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