Off-grid EV charging: the future of electric transport

off-grid EV charging
© iStock/stellalevi

As public transport powered by electricity gains traction in an increasingly post-fossil fuel world, the impact of large electric vehicle (EV) fleets on the National Grid and the potential of off-grid EV charging are an increasing concern.

UK fuel specialist AFC Energy today launched a new off-grid EV charging system which purports to allow electric vehicles to charge fully within an hour, without drawing energy from the national electricity grid. The charger, based on hydrogen fuel cell technology, could potentially minimise the effects of the anticipated surge due to hit the grid as more and more consumers opt for electric vehicles over traditionally fuelled cars.

Discussing the potential of off-grid EV charging, AFC Energy CEO Adam Bond said: “By 2030, it is estimated that there could be nine million electric vehicles on the roads of Britain, up from 90,000 today. For this transition, we need charging stations to be embedded throughout the country, as well as seeking innovative solutions to overcome the severe limitations of centrally generated electricity.”

Meanwhile Volvo Group’s venture capital subsidiary has invested in a Pennsylvania-based company, Momentum Dynamics, which has been developing and preparing to market “high power inductive charging for the automotive and transportation industries”. Momentum is currently piloting its off-grid EV charging technology in partnership with fleets and manufacturers of buses, cars, trains and heavy goods vehicles in North America and Europe. Stefan Soderling, investment director at Volvo Group Venture Capital, said: “For Volvo Group we are strengthening our competence and knowledge of charging and electricity distribution within the ecosystem around electric transportation and energy supply.”

In 2018 the UK launched a wide-ranging study into the potential of off-grid EV charging, aiming to expand the country’s options for dealing with the increasing demand for power grid capacity prompted by rising electric vehicle uptake. Simon Daniel, CEO of energy firm Moixa, said: ““Such growth creates significant capital upgrade, network and peak management issues, particularly when fast-charging is considered.”

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