Electric cars to get a much needed boost

Good news for people who can't charge at home

by Stuart Wright Jul 9, 2019 at 10:52 AM

  • Tech News


    Electric cars to get a much needed boost
    Ionity has announced the next phase of its Ultra Rapid EV charging network with eight new UK motorway service charging locations powering up this year. Skelton Lake on the M1 at Leeds is the first, followed by Cobham (M25), Cambridge Services (A14/M11), Beaconsfield (M40), Cullompton (M5), Blackburn (M65) and Baldock and Peterborough on the A1M.

    Ultra Rapid chargers operate at up to 350kW and, when maxed out, can add about 165 miles range to an electric car in 10 minutes. There will be up to six 350kW CCS chargers at each site. See below for more about Ultra Rapid chargers.

    Ionity, based in Munich, is a joint venture of BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche. Their goal is to build a high power charging network for electric vehicles along major highways in Europe.

    This is good news for drivers without off-road parking
    Meanwhile, the UK government via it’s Road to Zero strategy, which aims to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles (despite its recent cutting of the grant from £4,500 to £3,500 for new electric cars and abolishing the grant for hybrids), is now putting £37 million into British engineering companies to ‘transform electric chargepoint infrastructure’.

    This is good news, particularly for drivers without off-road parking needing to charge at home.
    Two of the twelve recipients are Urban Foresight, who get £3m for their pavement located pop-up chargers, and Char.gy, who get £2.3m for their curb-side wireless (induction) charging system and under-car pads. Both companies aim to provide discreet and safe road-side charging options.

    Source: The Department for Transport

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    What are Ultra Rapid chargers?

    The CCS charger type (Combined Charging System which allows both AC and DC charging) has been generally accepted as the standard by motor manufacturers (with a recent addition, the Tesla Model 3) but there is typically only a single 50kW CCS charger at most motorway service locations. These are operated by Ecotricity and have a less than stellar reputation for reliability.

    A Hyundai Ioniq charging at the Ecotricity 50kW CCS charger at Beaconsfield services.
    A 50kW charger will add about 25 miles range in 10 minutes, adding a decent amount of range to most current EVs (like the BMW i3) in 20 minutes.

    However, the new, longer range EVs now available like the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace, Hyundai Kona and Kia e-Niro (with more on the way from the likes of VW) have larger batteries and so need longer to charge. If there is only one 50kW CCS charge point at a location, there could be frustrated EV owners queuing behind a power hungry, new generation electric car.

    The first EV with 350kW charging capability to arrive in the UK will be the Porche Taycan coming 2020. Meanwhile, the maximum charge capability of most electric cars is less than this, meaning they charge more slowly. The Audi can take 150kW whereas the Jag, Hyundai, Kia and most of the upcoming EVs can take 100kW meaning the Ionity Ultra Rapids are fairly future-proof.

    So, the rollout of the Ultra Rapid chargers can’t happen quickly enough, but we also need electric cars capable of charging faster than 100kW if we’re going to take full advantage of them.

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