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UK cities continue electric charge

Fastned will collaborate with Newcastle University’s researchers to gain a greater understanding of the impact of EV charging on local grids

One of Fastned's iconic charging stations with solar panels. Picture: Roos Korthals Altes
One of Fastned's iconic charging stations with solar panels. Picture: Roos Korthals Altes

The UK cities of Newcastle and Sunderland are installing fast-charging stations for electric vehicles (EV) in their city centres. The Go Ultra Low Filling Stations will be rolled out by Fastned, a company founded in the Netherlands, which is installing charging stations across Europe.


Fastned won the tender from the North East Combined Authority (NECA) and Newcastle University. The stations will house six rapid chargers, with two of those at the Newcastle University’s Helix site being the latest 175kW (and 350kW enabled) chargers. These high-powered chargers claim to be capable of charging EVs up to 100 times faster than at home. The Sunderland station will be located near the heart of the city responsible for manufacturing the world’s most successful EV: the Nissan Leaf.


Drivers of many of the new EV models that will be released from 2018 onwards will now be able to add 125 miles of range to their cars in under ten minutes, while being sheltered by Fastned’s recognisable solar photovoltaic canopies. Meanwhile, all EVs already on the road will still be able to visit the stations to top up their batteries at their maximum charge rate.


As part of the agreement, Fastned will be collaborating closely with Newcastle University’s researchers to develop a greater understanding of the impact of EV charging on local electrical grids, and the potential roles for EVs and battery storage in the smart electrical grids of the future. At the same time, Fastned will work with NECA to research and understand business models for electric vehicle infrastructure in the region.


The project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), and the UK Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). Fastned will manage the stations’ design and construction, and operate and maintain them as part of its growing network.


Fastned aims to build many more multi-charger stations all around the UK over the next three years. In 2017 it won a tender with Transport for London (TfL) to build and operate fast-charging locations in the Greater London area. TfL is currently in the process of developing sites and making them available for Fastned and four other selected parties to bid for.


In another announcement, what is claimed to be the world’s first bookable home and destination EV charging platform, Bookmycharge, is urging UK EV drivers to join its peer-to-peer chargepoint sharing network.


Jan Stannard, co-founder of Bookmycharge, said: “Our mission is help EV drivers to maximise the potential of the UK’s huge domestic chargepoint network. We want to encourage a ‘sharing economy’ approach so that the EV community has guaranteed access to the wealth of home-charging locations across the country.


“Bookmycharge expects the number of domestic chargepoints to reach 100,000 later this year. So, even more homeowners will be able to travel with confidence, able to easily book and pay for a convenient charge wherever they are in the country.”


Bookmycharge launched in 2017 to tackle ‘charging doubt’ by offering electric car drivers a booking facility at hundreds of domestic chargepoints across the UK. The service works in a similar way to Airbnb by bringing together those with chargepoints and those wanting to charge, while providing the interface to take reservations and payments via the website.


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