The e HGV Fleet Charging Market Needs Change Leaders Who Understand Power, Says TPS CEO, Carlos Neves

I’m sure we all welcome the new Government’s commitment to release the £950million Rapid Charging Fund which will see significantly improved charging infrastructure on the motorway and major A roads’ network, and by 2035, around 6,000 high-powered, open-access charge points rolled out across England’s motorways and major A roads.

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Big numbers sound good. But crunch the data for actual charging requirements on the ground, and a different picture appears.

Firstly, it’s worth looking at the requirement for charging HGVs, and then how you supply this demand. Scania, for example, expect that half of all its vehicle sales by the end of this decade will be powered by electric, and claims its current electric models can be fully charged in less than 90 min at 375kW.

But the question will be: where can you get 375kW charging speed available for every charging point, and how can you guarantee there will be enough network capacity not just when one is hooked up, but multiple vehicles all demanding the same amount, at the same time, easily drawing multi megawatts from the supply?

If you have a motorway service station with charging facilities for 15 HGVs, all with 500kWh batteries, who turn up during the day and need to be back out on the road an hour-and-a-half later fully charged, you’ll need somewhere between 4-5MW of power, depending on how much the batteries were depleted when the trucks arrived.

And what about truck stops? Usually, they’re large concrete pans, surrounded by fencing with stopover facilities, near the main A road network and offer parking for dozens of lorries. They’re often not run by large multi-national service station companies, but by local, independent businesses or local authorities. The DfT estimates there are around 21,000 lorries parked up each night within three miles of the strategic road network. They’re going to need a lot of chargers, in the right places. Where, and how will this fit into the overall charging network?

This is where availability of funding will be key, because these stops provide an essential service for the haulage industry, but are not set up to provide the vast amounts of power their customers might want overnight.

In terms of requirements, filling a 500kWh battery pack overnight at a work depot in say, 10 hours requires charging speeds of at least 50kW per vehicle. It is possible. But a site that has 20 trucks parked up overnight charging, would need in excess of 1 MW power to be available for the full period to charge.

That’s a lot of power, but actually it is possible to produce, and without the need to build new substations or infrastructure costing hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of pounds and taking years to implement next to every place HGVs park up, whether it’s ‘Aunty Annie’s A1 Truck Stop’ or a motorway service station. This can be done with smart charging networks.

In smart charging networks, capacity is created in the AC distribution upstream, on both low voltage (as supplied to houses and small businesses) and medium voltage (supplied to larger businesses and factories) supplies, but the real benefit results in adding resilient and flexible DC capacity downstream (locally, at the site, in other words), using battery storage, solar PV, green fuel generators or various other forms of generation, which are then linked to a network of chargers and battery storage.

This capacity is used and held for when it’s really needed, providing speeds into the multi MW range which will reduce charging times to a fraction of what they are today. This is in line with market expectations within the next one to two years as the MegaWatt Charging Scheme (MCS) comes to fruition to facilitate the charging of fleets of larger vehicles such as trucks and buses.

At TPS, our Smart Fleet system, with its unique Velox chargers and Potenza inverter, will deliver these solutions now for both Combined Charging Scheme (CCS) and future MCS charging without the huge cost and engineering needed to upgrade power supply infrastructure in these often remote, or logistically awkward locations. Charging huge batteries efficiently, in large numbers at the same time, on the road network is doable. Additionally, our Smart Fleet system has bi-directional V2X capabilities which means it can export power back to the grid, the local consumer loads and even other electric vehicles when needed.

By applying new technologies and different thinking to the approach to charging infrastructure – in particular using the power of smart networks and clever management in support of the grid – it is possible to deliver all the power the haulage industry needs to keep rolling effectively and efficiently, wherever and whenever trucks may be stopping.

If you would like to talk to us about how Smart Fleet can give you all the power you need while delivering real ROI back to you, please Contact Us | Find Out How We Can Help | Turbo Power Systems

Today you need a partner that’s much more than just a charger manufacturer. You need one that understands the entire power ecosystem to provide you with the charging solution today, which will evolve, adapt, and grow as we move into the ever-changing world of tomorrow.
At TPS, we’re offering the power of tomorrow. Today.

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