Energy storage systems to support England’s motorway EV charging network

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National Highways is set to invest £11m into Energy Storage Systems (ESS) for service stations where the grid supply is not enough for rapid charging infrastructure.

The government-owned organisation hopes this move will bring an end to ‘range anxiety’ by improving the network of charge points for EV drivers using England’s motorways and major A-roads.

These rapid chargers are part of government’s plan for the rapid charge point network in England, which set the goal of around 6,000 high powered chargers on the motorway network by 2035.

Malcolm Wilkinson, head of energy for National Highways, said: “We are working differently and innovating to support the switch to zero emission journeys.

“Whilst we have limited control over the number of petrol and diesel cars on the network, by supporting the expansion of the rapid charge points network, we hope to increase EV drivers’ confidence for all types of journeys, both long and short.

“These new Energy Storage Systems and the rapid chargers they supply will ensure that motorists are unlikely to be caught without somewhere to charge, which is a fantastic move for drivers and the environment accelerating the speed in which we transition to new electric vehicles.”

The ESS operate like giant battery packs collecting energy when pressure on the grid is low to supply power for rapid charging at busy times

Storing energy in quiet periods, ESS then provide rapid high-power charging at busy times, until those motorway services can obtain increased power directly from the grid.

National Highways added the growth in demand for high powered charge points comes with pressure to provide the power, especially at the furthest reaches of the strategic road network.

Around 20 ESSs will temporarily bridge this gap. National Highways is currently discussing the move with prospective suppliers and plans to install the energy storage systems, which will connect to the motorway services operators’ charge points, within the next two years.

Transport minister, Trudy Harrison, added: “Our vision is to have one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world and we want charging to be quick and easy for all drivers.

“This additional investment will ease drivers’ range anxiety as we continue to power up the green revolution.”

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