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Image credit: Oxford Energy Superhub

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Most Powerful EV Charging Facility In The UK (Video)

Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, has announced the opening of Energy Superhub Oxford, which it calls “Europe’s most powerful electric EV charging hub.” The new facility features ten 300 kW Fastned ultra-fast chargers capable of adding 300 miles of range in just 20 minutes. Those chargers feature the now familiar overhead canopies that have become a Fastned trademark.

There are also 12 Tesla 250 kW Superchargers and 20 Level 2 EV chargers with up to 22 kW of power provided by Wenea that were installed by ODS, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Oxford City Council. If you think Level 2 chargers have no place in a fast charging hub, consider this. It is located next door to the Redbridge Park and Ride center where people can leave their cars for several hours while they take public transportation into London. They can avoid congestion chargers and arrive back in Oxford to find their cars charged up and ready for the ride home.

Nationwide EV Charging Infrastructure

The Oxford project is part of a nationwide network of Energy Superhubs developed by Pivot Power which will combine grid-connected batteries and power infrastructure for EV charging to enable more renewables and accelerate the decarbonization of transport. It will be powered entirely by renewable energy. It has 10 MW of installed capacity on site, enough for up to 400 Level 3 and Level 2 chargers in the future.

Trudy Harrison MP, Transport Decarbonisation Minister, said: “Electric vehicles form a key part of our strategy to decarbonise transport, so I’m pleased to see Europe’s most powerful EV charging hub opening in Oxford. Both the government and industry, working together, are investing billions in projects like this to help provide the infrastructure to support the UK’s electric revolution and soaring EV sales. This in turn will help us decarbonize transport, create high skilled jobs, and provide cleaner air across the UK.”

Oxford has set a target to be net zero by 2040. Part of that includes providing infrastructure for its Zero Emission Zone, a plan that imposes fees on any non-electric vehicles entering the city’s central zone. Unlike any other UK charging hub, the site is directly connected to National Grid’s high voltage transmission network via a four mile underground cable. It will deliver 10 MW of power to simultaneously charge hundreds of EVs without putting additional strain on the local electricity network or requiring costly upgrades. A substation has already been installed at Oxford Bus Company’s Watlington Road depot to support that company’s plans to introduce over 100 electric buses over the next two years.

As part of the project, Energy Superhub Oxford has also supported the decarbonization of Oxford City Council’s fleet of maintenance vehicles, managed by ODS. In total, Energy Superhub Oxford has contributed almost £900,000 towards the procurement of 40 EVs, including cars, vans, road sweepers, tipper trucks, and the city’s first all-electric bin lorry.

Energy Superhub Oxford will provide a blueprint for cities around the world to simultaneously scale up green transport, power and heating. The £41 million urban decarbonization project from Pivot Power, partly funded by the UK government, will unlock significant emissions reductions across power, heat, and transport. It will reduce local carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tons every year — equivalent to taking over 2,000 cars off the road. That will increase to 25,000 tons by 2032.

Pivot Power Hybrid Battery System

The Energy Superhub Oxford marks the debut of Pivot Power’s hybrid battery system which will be the basis of local and national clean power systems that support the UK’s transition towards a zero carbon energy system. The battery system stores renewable energy at times of high supply and will provide much needed flexibility to the UK’s grid as renewable energy scales up. When needed the battery will discharge to ensure a secure and reliable supply of electricity throughout the day.

The system combines a 2MW/5MWh vanadium flow battery from Invinity Energy Systems with a 50MW/50MWh lithium-ion battery from global technology company Wärtsilä to deliver an innovative energy storage solution that can balance the intermittency of renewable energy. The system will be controlled and managed by Wärtsilä’s GEMS Digital Energy Platform and optimized by Habitat Energy’s AI controlled energy trading system.

Pivot Power plans to deploy up to 40 Energy Superhubs across the UK, with the next two projects already underway in Coventry and Sandwell, When complete, the network could provide almost 10% of the energy storage that the UK is predicted to require by 2035. Oxford, through its commitment to the Energy Superhub, is demonstrating how ambitious local councils can accelerate their net zero plans.

Energy Superhub Oxford has also supported the installation of more than 60 ground source heat pumps for social housing properties in Oxford. These will help reduce reliance on fossil fuel based heating. Residents who have already received ground source heat pumps in Oxford have reported running cost savings of over 50%. The project is also demonstrating the use of remote control to target times when renewable energy is most plentiful and lowest carbon. This approach will reduce future electricity bills as heat pump installations scale from thousands to millions over the next decade.

Councillor Imogen Thomas, a member of the Oxford City Council, says, “Oxford has a history of being ambitious as we look to adopt new and exciting transport approaches in our city. Redbridge was the location of the country’s first full running Park & Ride in 1973, and now almost 50 years later, we are home to Europe’s most powerful electric vehicle charging hub. In order to achieve a Zero Carbon Oxford by 2040 we need to encourage uptake in electric vehicles, and drivers want to know that they can charge their vehicles quickly and efficiently. The completion of Energy Superhub Oxford is an exciting step for our city and the future of EV charging.”

The Takeaway

The Oxford Energy Superhub is about much more than a few high power EV charging stations. It is an example of an entire community changing its attitude about how people interact with their environment. It’s a sign that a new era of clean energy and low carbon thinking has begun and is spreading. Such an attitude shift would have been unthinkable a decade ago. A decade from now, people will look back on this and realize it marks a moment in time when change happened. That’s what makes this announcement so exciting.

 
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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

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