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How Battery Energy Storage can fuel the transition to High-Powered EV Charging

A conversation with Nigel Dent of Connected Energy, about how battery energy storage is fuelling the transition to high powered EV charging.

16/04/2024

Connected Energy recently deployed battery energy storage at two Volvo UK Truck & Bus service centres to bolster high-powered EV charging. Nigel Dent elaborates on how battery energy storage could facilitate the transition to larger commercial electric vehicles.

The energy challenge for high-powered charging

As the pace of electrification continues in the UK, we’re seeing a greater demand for higher-powered charging for longer-range vehicles, commercial fleets, eHGVs and electric buses. With power demands ranging from 150kW to 1MW, the number of high-powered charge points will inevitably need to increase.

It’s also inevitable that the higher the power required, the more strain is placed on the local grid. And often that power isn’t easily available. At Connected Energy, we’ve carried out extensive modelling for the HGV sector and the data tells us that there will be power challenges at many sites.

This is not surprising. Many of the locations which require high-powered charge points were not set up to anticipate this huge demand. And that applies as equally to traditional fleet, logistics and service depots as it does motorway services and truck stops.

In cases where grid connections are an issue, the traditional solution is upgrading the local grid capacity. However, what we’re discovering more and more is that this can be not only costly but brings added complexity and delays to projects. Sometimes it simply isn’t viable to get the power required. At other times we’ve talked to companies in locations where landownership issues were standing in the way – with cabling needing to cross roads and boundaries. None of which is an easy undertaking.

How battery storage can help plug the gap

This is where battery energy storage could help step in to bridge the gap. Battery energy storage can offer a quicker and more cost-effective solution. Systems act as a buffer between the charging stations and the grid, absorbing excess energy during times of low demand and releasing it when needed during peak charging periods.

By smoothing out demand spikes and providing a reliable source of power, BESS helps alleviate the strain on the grid and helps enable the deployment of high-powered charging.

BESS in action

We’ve recently worked with an electric truck depot in Europe that was experiencing a very challenging grid import connection limited to 100kW. They needed to install a 300kW charge point for their fleet, but the constraints were impacting the maximum power supply and delivery speed of charge.

The following graph shows the site now with a BESS installed. It helps to visualise a system in action. The blue line shows the amount of power being drawn from the grid throughout the day. You can see the limit is 100kW. The green line shows the point at which the BESS kicks in, at the times of charge, providing the additional 200kW required.

Key:

  • Blue line – power delivered from the grid
  • Green line – power delivered by the battery energy storage system

By using the battery to deliver the difference in power needed, we’re stopping the grid from going over its limit, enabling the trucks to charge as they need.  As soon as that truck stops charging, the system reverts to replenishing from the grid, ready for the next vehicle.

This is just one of the many case studies, Connected Energy has recently supported. I’ll be talking about more BESS in action at EV charging sites at our forthcoming webinar on 1 May.

Register to join us and find out more.

About Nigel

Nigel is Connected Energy’s Head of Sales and has worked on numerous EV charging and battery energy storage projects over recent years helping to scope out the suitability to overcome capacity issues.

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Discover the role of battery energy storage in powering the next generation of high-powered EV charging in Connected Energy’s latest whitepaper…