FEVER to relieve EV charging demands on grid

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The oncoming rise in EV usage has prompted FEVER, a project aimed at alleviating demands on the electricity grid with fully grid-independent, renewably powered charging hubs.

Fever
(Image: AdobeStock)

FEVER (Future Electric Vehicle Energy Networks supporting Renewables) is a five year, EPSRC-funded project led by Andrew Cruden, a Professor of Energy Technology at Southampton University.

Ofgem estimates that electric cars and vans will need between 65-100TWh of electricity annually by 2050, an increase of 20-30 per cent compared to 2021.

Cruden explained that in a post-2030, ‘business-as-usual’ scenario it may be possible to get between 40-50 per cent EV penetration using, for example, supervisory control to alternate charging between EVs plugged-in simultaneously on the same street.

“After that you really do need to reinforce the network,” he said. “We’re looking at a scenario where all the EV charging energy would come from renewable sources.”

He added: “The existing renewable energy portfolio of developments is currently grid constrained, they’re not all proceeding because of the time and cost of connecting to the grid.

“What we are planning is a potential solution to decouple that, you would not be grid connected and therefore not constrained by the vagaries of the planning and the timing of getting a grid connection.”

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As well as renewables, the project will incorporate off-vehicle energy storage (OVES) into the EV recharging solution, creating the nucleus of a local electrical smart grid that can flexibly support energy demand in communities under-served by current infrastructure.

The project aims to blend available renewable sources from different sites, with rural locations potentially mixing solar and wind, whilst solar may be more suited to urban environments. The project will also take an agnostic view on OVES, although Cruden said there will be a ‘significant battery element’.

“We currently believe that could be a hybrid battery, possibly between lead acid and lithium, for example,” he said. “It could include supercaps, certainly with the high-power 350kW chargers.”

In years four and five the project aims to deliver two demonstrator hubs capable of charging between six or eight EVs. Cruden added that if the initial phases of the project show promise then there will be potential to look at a larger solution with between 25 and 50 vehicle capability.

Set to begin in earnest in September this year, the FEVER project includes 11 partners from academia and industry.