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UK's National Grid Report Maps Rapid Charging System for Trucking Goods

image credit: National Grid
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  • May 11, 2022
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A new report, led by the National Grid, shows that expanding the UK Government’s electric vehicle Rapid Charging Fund (RCF) would boost the decarbonization of all road transportation in the country.

Truck manufacturers and the freight industry would benefit from a future on-route charging and hydrogen re-fueling system on Britain's motorway (freeway) network.

National Grid-led analysis, supported by Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) manufacturers and the freight industry, maps out how a future charging network for trucks can be delivered quickly, economically and efficiently.

The analysis shows for a small cost increase, sufficient grid capacity to cover all of on-route truck charging and hydrogen re-fueling could be installed which could also enhance cost savings by coordinating with the Zero Emission Road Freight Trial (ZERFT).

Since 2019 National Grid has been working closely with the UK Government and industry on developing charging infrastructure to meet long-term support needs for electric vehicles. The proposal for a fast-charging network was supported by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) in March 2020 through its RCF enabling £950 million ($1,175 million) to deliver fast charging at more than 110 freeway service areas over the next five years. The intention is that drivers will not be more than 30 miles from a rapid charging station. This could be mostly supported by existing grid infrastructure, although there will have to be upgrades in certain areas.

This report models the charging profile of the UK’s truck fleet, assuming that 70-90% of these vehicles will be charged or re-fueled overnight in their depot or at their destinations. For the remaining 10-30%, this will need to be delivered on-route, at regulated rest-breaks.

The analysis and modeling found 53-78% of on-route charging and hydrogen re-fueling at service areas can be provided at no extra cost to the RCF, if transmission connection solutions, for example existing substations, are used. For a modest increase in budget of up to 16%, capacity can be provided at the remaining sites across England.

Graeme Cooper, Head of Future Markets at National Grid, said: “The switch to fully decarbonized road transport will only happen if we have the right wires in the right place, at the right time. Planning future charging infrastructure around connections to the transmission system can bring cost savings and reductions in the amount of infrastructure required.”

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Christopher Neely's picture
Christopher Neely on May 11, 2022

No doubt this would also increase the adoption of electric trucks. If consumers know the infrastructure is there for them to not get stranded, then it helps with market attraction. Suppliers will have to be satisfied with a few extra minutes added onto cross-country deliveries though. 

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