This Easter, an estimated 20 million drivers will take to Britain’s roads to visit family and friends or to head to holiday destinations. They will include electric vehicle drivers, who will collectively cover more than 35 million miles between Good Friday and Easter Monday. This will put huge stress on the country’s as yet underdeveloped and inadequate charging infrastructure. National Highways is letting down EV drivers.
In a bid to avoid the kinds of problems that occurred over the Christmas break, when there was fury over three-hour delays at motorway charging points, charging specialist Gridserve has recently issued advice to help minimise wait times. As the company runs the Electric Highway, a network of charging points at motorway services and retail forecourts, this is crucial information for EV drivers.
Gridserve’s advice – don’t block bays, communicate clearly with fellow drivers,choose the charger most appropriate to your EV and don’t charge your battery fully if you don’t need to do so – is sensible. A trial that involves having on-hand support start at charging points is welcome.
However, the delays being experienced by EV drivers are not primarily down to etiquette or staffing issues. The problem is a lack of charging capacity – and there is an immediate solution to this issue.
ZAPME is the world leader in Energy as a Service (EAAS) and specialises in supplying mobile EV charging units. Many of the problems this Easter weekend could quickly and easily be solved if portable ZPN Drop units were temporarily located at sites such as motorway services where there is predicted to be the highest demand. Additionally, ZAPME units could be on standby to provide further recovery support to EV’s out of, or low on, charge that may not reach a charging station.
Realistically, it’s too late for this Easter, but there will potentially be delays over the summer holiday season and at Christmas when the same pressures will occur. ZAPME’s technology, first used at Heathrow Airport in 2017, offers a proven solution to these short-term charging demand issues.
As for the longer-term issue, the approach to supplying EV charging points needs to be rethought. ZAPME’s parent company, ZPN Energy, is pioneering a Business Energy Management (BEM) approach that involves harvesting power from onsite renewables and off-peak Energy, and storing it in batteries close to where there is demand. It also ensures that 150kW chargers will deliver 150kW, not 30 or 40kW, because of too many chargers connected to an inadequate power connection. In this way, supplying EV charging points can become a source of revenue for the operators of motorway services rather than a cause of complaints.
EV drivers are currently being failed. It doesn’t have to be that way in the future.