Features & Interviews

Five minutes with… Toddington Harper, CEO of Gridserve

10 November 2022 #Features & Interviews

Tell us about the new 360kW-capable EV charger at your Braintree Electric Forecourt?

Our Braintree Electric Forecourt has started testing the next generation of High Power EV chargers and is doing so in an all-new charging bay, specifically designed to serve long-load and light commercial electric vehicles. It’s called an ABB Terra 360, although we’ll still be branding it as High Power to keep our charging lexicon nice and simple.

The charging bay is able to provide a maximum 360kW of power, meaning it has the ability to add around 62 miles of range in three minutes, or fully charge an electric car in less than 15 minutes. This may not be a meteoric jump from the 350kW-capable units already installed at our Electric Super Hubs and Electric Forecourts, but remember we’re already providing industry-leading EV charging speeds. Marginal gains in all aspects of our performance are important to keep us moving forward.

Secondly, the new charger is able to offer dynamic dual-charging. That means that two vehicles will be able to plug in and charge simultaneously, and the EV charger will dynamically distribute the power between both vehicles.

Thirdly, the overall design is more user-friendly. LED lighting will now reveal when a charger is available or in use, a new pulley system ensures the retractable 5m charging cable is manoeuvrable and keeps pathways clear, while enlarged digital screens will provide all your EV charging information. The addition of a second, portrait-shaped screen will showcase some of the other cool stuff we’re up to, whether it’s the latest Electric Forecourt in construction at Gatwick or our proposal to build a Solar Electric Forecourt in Hartlepool.

So is the new High Power EV charger CCS only?

The specific unit now on trial at Braintree features a pair of CCS connectors, but we’re committed to supporting both CCS and CHAdeMO connector types for High Power DC charging. It’s as important to us as ensuring all our EV chargers accept memberless, contactless payment and are powered exclusively by net zero carbon energy.

Is there a large demand for long-load EV charging?

Within the last 12 months, sites like the Braintree Electric Forecourt have seen a surge in light commercial electric vehicles regularly charging. The main reason is that the economics today are more than favourable: electric light commercial vehicles are now fundamentally better than their diesel-powered counterparts on price, performance and practicality.

Similarly, more electric family cars are being used to tow everything from caravans to horseboxes, and these customers need additional space to charge without decoupling. This trend is only moving in one direction, so we want to proactively design EV charging experiences that work for everybody.

Of course, there’s some way to go before the heavy goods vehicle segment achieves net zero, but electrification will be key. Monitoring the usage of these new long-load EV charging bays will help our future designs accommodate even bigger bays and megawatt-scale EV charging infrastructure.

What happens next?

The software and service design is now open to the public and usage is being monitored. If successful, the plan is to have these chargers and more super-long EV charging bays rolled out across the Electric Highway.

Toddington Harper, CEO of Gridserve

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