UK charging makes progress

Several initiatives from fast charging expansion to energy management software are moving forward

UK charging makes progress
Allye's deal with Roadchef is one of several in the UK EV charging space of late

The UK EV charging landscape has been demonstrating impressive dynamism this week as a range of projects from large-scale fast charging to hardware and software start-ups have shared updates.

At the larger end of the spectrum, pan-European fast charging firm Ionity has expanded on plans to go from 186 to 700 charging points in the country by the end of this year. “In the UK, some areas are still classed as EV grey spots, due to a lack of infrastructure or access,” says Andreas Atkins, general manager of UK and Ireland at the firm.

“Our map of charging sites is expanding rapidly with recent openings in Belfast, Bodmin and Lewes, three areas that have lacked the correct charging infrastructure that provides flexible, convenient and rapid charging.”

Ionity currently boasts 3,800 charge points at 630 stations across Europe as a whole. And, from the end of last month, it has reduced its Ionity Direct charging prices in 12 European countries, while also introducing country-specific tariffs.

Additionally, the firm has introduced two new tariff plans with flexible terms tailored to customers' mileage. Ionity Passport Motion and Ionity Passport Power offer, it says, “significant price reductions compared to ad-hoc charging”. Depending on country and tariff, prices are available from £0.43/kWh (€0.51/kWh; $0.55/kWh).

“The new tariffs will allow flexibility and choice for UK EV drivers, making charging cheaper than some of our competitors,” Atkins says. Ionity Passport Motion, with a monthly base fee of £5.49 and a tariff of £0.53/kWh, is targeted at users driving 80-105 miles per month. The monthly base fee pays back with just one charging session per month at Ionity, the firm says. 

Ionity Passport Power, with a monthly base fee of £10.50 but a lower tariff of £0.43/kWh is aimed at those who drive more than 155 miles per month and recharge their vehicle’s batteries at Ionity around three times per month. It is “ideal for longer vacation or business trips as well as regular journeys”, the firm says.

Lessening grid connection pain

UK public charging could get a further boost from a deal between motorway service area operator Roadchef and Allye Energy, which manufactures industrial-scale battery storage from end-of-life EV battery packs. Roadchef will become Allye’s first series production customer for its Max battery energy storage system (BESS),   

Roadchef will receive two Max BESS units to be installed at two of its major grid constrained locations in May and June. Their deployment “is aimed at reducing constraints and improving energy management across [the] sites, while supporting the increasing demand for EV charging stations”.

“Supporting drivers as the country transitions to net-zero is paramount to Roadchef. Working with innovative and forward-thinking businesses such as Allye allows us to effectively invest in infrastructure and facilitate the EV transition drivers nationwide are looking to make,” says Paul Comer, head of EV implementation at Roadchef.

Cash raises

And UK firms in the charging space have also enjoyed recent fundraising success.  Energy Park, a provider of EV charging solutions for apartment buildings, has secured an initial £35mm investment from Zouk Capital, manager of the UK government’s £420mn Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, to accelerate its growth.

Energy Park believes there are an estimated 100,000 apartment buildings in the UK and “access to charge points at apartment buildings is often limited, with residents paying prices comparable to higher public charging rates”.

It aims to give residents access to a greater number of affordable charge points, while providing a reliable service and dedicated ongoing customer support. For residential landlords, such as housing associations, private landlords and property management companies, it promises to lower the financial and operational barriers to EV infrastructure investment by offering a fully managed and funded scalable solution. And it will also offer tailored EV charging solutions for residential destination operators, such as holiday parks and hotels.

“The demand for affordable EV charge points at apartment buildings and residential destinations is increasing rapidly,” says the firm’s founder Gavin Malone. “With Zouk’s funding we can grow quickly to become a leading provider of tailored EV charging solutions for more residential landlords.

"With our fully managed and funded approach, we make the process as straightforward as possible. We remove any of the stress associated with an initial capital outlay or the ongoing management and maintenance of the charge points, while also creating a customer-centric proposition that will help landlords build long-term relationships with their residents.”

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On a smaller scale, UK electric vehicle charge point management platform Fuuse has raised £8.7mn from lead investor YFM Equity Partners, as well as existing investors Par Equity and an angel syndicate, for its expansion plans in the UK and Ireland. Investment will be focused on scaling Fuuse’s enterprise product offer that delivers a reliable charging experience for charge point operators, destinations, fleets and workplace charging, as well as providing additional products and services.

The firm also aims to optimise energy consumption and lower costs through bi-directional charging and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, building on an existing energy management system that includes whole site energy monitoring and a range of grid optimisation tools. Additionally, it is working with partners on wireless induction charging and extending charging to buses, HGVs and boats.

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