In the UK, Western Power Distribution and Ricardo are leading a new project called DC share. They aim for a novel solution to use latent capacity in distribution networks to power fast-charging hubs more evenly.
To enable increased numbers of high-power chargers in the network at a lower cost, DC Share will divert capacity across existing AC substations, say the companies. In practice, Ricardo and Western Power Distribution will use power electronics to extract power from existing substations and distributing this to rapid EV charge points via a new high capacity DC cable network.
While an existing substation might be able to connect one or two rapid chargers, if they are required at scale, network reinforcement is likely to be needed. In these cases, DC Share will facilitate the connection of fast charging facilities, using said latent capacity in the surrounding networks to minimise the cost of connection. This will result in a new high capacity DC equalisation cable network, which will balance demands.
“The location of the rapid chargers will be an important factor in the successful widespread uptake of EVs and should follow user requirements, rather than network constraints,” the partners said. This means chargers are to be deployed in hubs which will need significant amounts of power in one location.
Ricardo’s energy team will bring its expertise in implementing smart grid solutions to DC Share, while its partners: WPD, ENWL and Turbo Power Systems will develop substation converters and rapid chargers. Lastly, Vectos will provide charger planning support to facilitate the location of the EV charging hubs. It is unknown at this stage, how many charging stations the partners envision to connect.
The project has been awarded funding by the UK energy market regulator Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) through the Network Innovation Competition Project.
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