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Oxford, Fastned, Tesla, Wenea, & Pivot Power Commission Europe’s Most Powerful EV Charging Hub

Eventually, a total of 400 electric cars could charge at the new Energy Superhub Oxford at one time. At launch, there are currently spaces for 42 vehicles to use fast charging or ultra-rapid charging stations. The charging capacity at Energy Superhub Oxford is greater than at any other charging station in Europe, according to the team behind the project. There are charging facilities present from Tesla, Fastned, Pivot Power (which is part of EDF Renewables), and Wenea.

This is the first of many “Energy Superhubs” Pivot Power is developing. These projects include batteries connected to the grid as well as the charging infrastructure. In this initial case, all of the power will be coming from clean renewable energy. I expect that to be the norm across future installations as well. Energy Superhub Oxford, located at Oxford’s Redbridge Park and Ride, has 10 megawatts (MW) of power capacity installed on site.

The UK aims to have 36 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2040. This kind of charging and energy storage infrastructure is critical to making that happen. “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,” said Trudy Harrison MP, Transport Decarbonisation Minister. There could be 40 of these energy superhubs built across the UK. “This in turn will help us decarbonise transport, create high-skilled jobs, and provide cleaner air across the UK.”

As far as the onsite energy storage, it is actually a hybrid battery solution — the largest hybrid battery solution anywhere in the world. It includes both a large lithium-ion battery system and a vanadium flow battery. Aside from energy storage for the EV charging hub, this giant hybrid storage system will also engage in energy trading. Here’s a little more on this innovative system:

“The battery system, which stores renewable energy at times of high supply, will provide essential flexibility to the UK’s grid as renewable energy is scaled up. During periods when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, the battery will discharge, helping to ensure electricity is secure and reliable throughout the day. This will be essential if the UK is to reach its goals of 50GW of offshore wind and 70GW of solar capacity by the 2030s, as well as fully decarbonising electricity by 2035.”

What is in the hybrid energy storage system more specifically? Here are the deets: “It combines a 2MW/5MWh vanadium flow battery from energy storage leader 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 optimised by Habitat Energy’s AI-enabled battery trading system.”

Haven’t seen enough? There’s more to see! Take a 360° interactive tour of the battery site.

You can also watch this short introduction on the Energy Superhub Oxford:

Regarding the launch of Energy Superhub Oxford, some of the parties involved have some comments as well.

Councillor Imogen Thomas, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford and Climate Justice, Oxford City Council, said: “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.”

Michiel Langezaal, CEO of Fastned, said: “The launch of Fastned’s station at Energy Superhub Oxford, our 12th station in the UK, today marks another important milestone in our mission to revolutionise the charging experience for British EV drivers, by giving them electric freedom.

“Since we opened the UK’s first public ultra-rapid charging station in Sunderland in 2019, Fastned has been committed to using our experience from across Europe to accelerate the EV revolution in the UK. Just a month ago, drivers started using our first station in London, and in May we opened the largest ultra-rapid station in Scotland in Hamilton.

“We are looking forward to opening many more of our distinctive stations powered by energy derived from sun and wind, offering fast, reliable, consumer-friendly charging, across the UK in the coming months.”

Jose Contreras, Head of Wenea UK said “Wenea’s objective is to enable electric mobility for everyone in order to reduce overall emissions. Transport decarbonisation will only be achieved through the collaboration of public and private transport. This project in Redbridge Park and Ride is the perfect example. Wenea’s offer will cater for electric vehicle users with dwell times of several hours, typically commuters or tourists who prefer to leave their EVs in Redbridge and enter the city via public transport.”

Roisin Quinn, Director of Customer Connections at National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “The Energy Superhub Oxford is an example of how our transmission network can act as a catalyst for the decarbonisation of society. The high voltage connection provides the power to help electrify transport and reduce emissions, as well as deliver a battery storage facility to help manage peaks and troughs in demand for electricity – making the electricity system more efficient and keeping costs down for consumers. We’re proud to have played our part and congratulations to all those involved.”

Rob Saunders, Director of the ‘Prospering from the Energy Revolution’ challenge programme at Innovate UK, said: “The Energy Superhub Oxford project demonstrates the massive potential of creating integrated local energy systems, tailored to local needs, that will help cities and regions cut carbon in ways that work for communities and consumers. Our funding aim has been to help trial projects that are scalable and replicable, and it is great to see the Superhub concept rolling out to other areas.”

Larry Zulch, CEO at Invinity, said: “Energy Superhub Oxford illustrates the vital role energy storage in general and flow batteries in particular will play in the UK’s shift to renewable energy. To reach net zero targets, the UK is forecast to require up to 24,000 MW of long-duration energy storage of multiple types and configurations. This project demonstrates that flow batteries coupled with lithium-ion battery storage create a high performance system that benefits from the unique characteristics of each technology.”

Kenneth Engblom, Vice President of Europe and Africa, at Wärtsilä Energy, said: “Shifting great power systems to net zero whilst ensuring that the lights stay on is an incredibly complex task. The hybrid battery is solving these problems at multiple levels, creating a smarter system that is able to supercharge the UK’s path to net zero. Wärtsilä’s technology is the cornerstone of this system, helping to support decarbonisation across the entire country.”

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