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.
“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.
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.”
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.”
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”.