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This project will develop and trial a compact substation that can be rapidly rolled out to service areas on motorways and major A-roads across GB. The aim is to support the establishment of a nation-wide high powered charging network on our roads and ultimately accelerate the uptake of EVs.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 01/02/2021
End date: 01/02/2022
Budget: £248,930

The wide scale roll-out of high powered EV charging infrastructure is seen as a key enabler for accelerating the electrification of the transportation sector. Existing and future owners of EVs must have the confidence that they will be able to gain access to high powered chargepoints where ever they go, in a similar manner to conventional vehicles having access to fuel stations.

Motorway Service Areas (MSAs) and service areas in major A-roads have been identified as a specific area in which high powered EV charging infrastructure will be required. Most small/medium sized sites are currently connected to the 11kV network with typically no 33kV network near-by. As a result, network reinforcements are likely required to increase capacity to supply additional power to the high powered charge points. The conventional solution to providing the increased capacity is typically high in cost, time consuming and requires a large footprint.

A standardised compact scalable supply solution that can be rapidly rolled out to small/medium sized MSA sites and service areas on major A-roads across GB will support the establishment of a nation-wide high powered charging network on the strategic road network ultimately accelerating the uptake of EVs.

Engagement with relevant stakeholders has already taken place to gather the key requirements from a customer’s perspective, which have been taken into account in the design.

The key elements are:

  • 1 – 2 MVA capacity meets short/mid-term requirements
  • 7 – 8 MVA capacity meets long-term requirements
  • Space is a premium
  • Scalability is welcomed as customers only want to pay for capacity they require in line with the different uptake stages of EV and utilisation of charge points.

This has led to two solutions being proposed:

  • Low Voltage supply solution: A compact substation to supply up to 1.5 MVA at Low Voltage
  • High Voltage supply solution: A compact substation to supply 7.6 MVA at 11kV

The two solutions can also be used together, which provides the option to offer bulk network capacity (7-8 MVA) to the service area site using the High Voltage supply solution as well as allowing a staged approach to rolling out the Low Voltage supply solution in line with the uptake of EVs and utilisation of chargepoints.

This project is innovative as it will build, commission and trial a new compact scalable kit solution in a live environment. The solution has been co-designed with relevant stakeholders to meet the need to rapidly roll out high powered charge points at small/medium sized MSAs and service areas in major A-roads.

The innovative elements of the design include:

  • Size – it fits into a car park space even with all doors open
  • Scalability – it offers the potential for customers to pay only for the capacity they require in line with the different uptake stages of the EVs and utilisation of charge points.

The proposed solution will help facilitate rapid electrification of the small/medium sized MSAs and service areas in major A-roads so that a nation-wide network of high powered chargers can be established to build range confidence in consumers and accelerate the uptake of EVs.

The key learnings expected from the project are:

  • An approved design specification of the solution
  • Detailed requirements for installing and commissioning the solution on a MSA site
  • New standards, policies and procedures for the design, installation and operation of the solution
  • The benefits of the solution in terms of cost, footprint and time saved will be quantified

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