Currently reading: UK's first 150kW EV rapid chargers to be installed this year
Pod Point CEO says new chargers arrive on the “cusp of an EV revolution”; current rapid chargers are rated 50kW and Tesla Superchargers 120kW
Sam Sheehan
News
3 mins read
23 February 2018

Installation of the UK’s first 150kW electric vehicle rapid chargers will begin in this half of 2018, the CEO of Pod Point has told Autocar.

The brand’s new chargers will have the highest EV plug power in Britain. Erik Fairbairn, who founded the London-based charger company in 2009, said this will allow them to provide significantly faster charge times than the UK’s current network of 50kW plugs.

This will enable the latest EV models, such as the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-tron and Volkswagen ID, to achieve their headline charge times.

“We’re bringing this to market as the UK is on the cusp of an electric revolution,” said Fairbairn. “We’re about to see a lot more EVs go on sale, so bringing the 150kW charger out now is a logical next step for us.”

The plug-in car segment soared by 34.8% last year, representing 4.7% of the new car market with 119,000 examples registered.

The I-Pace, which is due on roads in July, is claimed to be capable of charging its 90kWh lithium ion battery pack to 80% in just 45min. With the UK's current 50kW rapid chargers, it would need around 90min.

Everything you wanted to know about electric cars

Fairbairn said Pod Point’s new 150kW chargers won’t risk overloading the UK’s electricity infrastructure, despite concerns that more powerful plugs could cause power shortages in some areas.

Tesla's Superchargers are capable of dispensing 145kW, but current Tesla models can only accept up to 120kW.

“The reality, in my view, is that a lot of the grid problems have been overstated,” Fairbairn said. “I admit there is a challenge, but much of it can be overcome with smart charging.”

Back to top

Fairbairn said that places with multiple 150kW chargers would be able to manage the flow of power to each car in order to “charge each one before the owner returns” without overloading the local network.

“We installed 67 chargers this week in one place of work's car park,” he explained. “Of course, it couldn’t power all 67 flat out at once, but we can sequence and control the charge of them so they’re all charged intelligently.”

Britain needs smart EV chargers to prevent overloading the grid

While such technology may seem complicated, Fairbairn said that the latest systems aren’t much harder to roll out than previous ones. “To make a 150kW charger is not mind-blowingly more difficult than to make a 50kW one," he said, "because you’re effectively just putting more things in parallel”.

As such, Fairbairn expects Pod Point’s first 150kW chargers to be installed in the UK “in about three months”. From this time, the company will also allow 50kW chargers to be installed with 150kW transformers in order to futureproof them, thus avoiding high infrastructure upgrade costs in the future.

Fairbairn thinks 350kW chargers, like the ones currently being rolled out in Germany, Norway and Austria, could be added to Britain’s network in small numbers in as little as 18 months.

Back to top

Chargemaster, another British charger company, is also working on 150kW chargers. A spokesman said that they’re in the “development pipeline”, so could be installed in Britain in 2019.

The Government is contributing to the expansion of the UK's charger network as well, having established an On-street Residential Charging Scheme that can be used to pay for 75% of charger installation costs. Just five UK councils have dipped into the pot of available money so far, however. The Chargepoint spokesman pointed out that councils may be unable to provide even 25% of money towards new chargers due to the Government’s ongoing austerity measures.

National Grid, which controls the UK's electricity network, recently pitched a network of 50 EV charging stations with a capacity of up to 350kW across England and Wales, as well as a similar network in Scotland.

More content: 

Top 10 electric hatchbacks

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket en route to Mars with Tesla Roadster

Join the debate

Comments
11
Add a comment…
si73 25 February 2018

150kw

So how many, currently for sale, electric cars can take the new chargers output? According to the report Tesla superchargers put out upto 145kw but the cars are rated to 120kw. Is this purely future proofing or are these 150kw rated chargers useful for a mk1 leaf, i3 or zoe etc?

scotty5 25 February 2018

Flawed system

Erik Fairbairn wrote:

"We installed 67 chargers this week in one place of work's car park", “Of course, it couldn’t power all 67 flat out at once, but we can sequence and control the charge of them so they’re all charged intelligently.”

What exactly does 'intelligently' mean? Could it possible mean the more cars hooking up to the locally installed grid, the longer each one will take to charge?

I'm sure one day electric cars will become the norm but that day is so far away.  Sounds like even the latest infrastructure projects are flawed.

This has always been my issue with electric cars - technology changes so fast, who wants even a two year old car as it's already out-of-date!

harf 24 February 2018

Queuing?

The argument for being able to perform longer journeys with an EV is that you’ll be able to stop off enroute for a charge. Well, it’ll only take 25 mins won’t it so time for a coffee. 

However, what if you’re not first? What if as EV take up increases the number of EV sales has somewhat ramped up quicker than charger installations? 

So, what if when you arrive for your 25min top up, you’re actually third in the queue. Best get yourself a big coffee!

I’m not anti EV but this scenario is never considered. No doubt the on board tech will try to minimise this but if there aren’t enough, there aren’t enough.  

I can see a future where multiple EV drivers are all racing to known free chargers, whilst also knowing the location of other cars doing the same.

EV charger races! Coming to Top Gear or Grand Tour soon ..

Rtfazeberdee 24 February 2018

Queuing?

I think you'll find that all the apps that locate chargers know if its being used or not . https://www.zap-map.com/live/