Review by Dan Jenkins
Power to the people
As vehicle and plant operators explore electric and hybrid options, the demands on the vehicle charging infrastructure will grow. Dan Jenkins reports on a new product which was displayed at the Show and is designed to ease the situation.
There is no denying that we are now firmly on the road to electrification. Car and van manufacturers are embracing the change, with a rapidly growing range of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) available. The UK Government has reiterated its commitment by bringing forward the date when all new vehicles sold must be electric from 2040 to 2035.
The number of public charge points in the UK is rising daily, with sector specialist Zap-Map stating there are now more than 11,000 locations, providing charging capabilities for almost 31,000 vehicles. However, these charge posts are at fixed points and are not always accessible. Titan Power believes it has a solution – and, at the same time, a new opportunity for the hire industry.
The Charge Balance System is described as the UK’s first portable smart EV charging station. The 125-A, 3-phase supply can charge up to 28 vehicles at once, from a single 100KVA generator.
Simon James, Managing Director of Titan Power, said, “The beauty of our system is that it ‘talks’ to each car to find out the state of charge, then prioritises the power to the vehicles which need it the most. It balances supply with demand. As far as I am aware, our smart charging system is a world first.”
The charger will only provide power to a vehicle until its battery is full, thereafter increasing the energy supply to the others connected to it. Simon James said that, Without the smart capabilities of Titan’s system, seven 100kVA generators would be needed, so it brings savings in operating and transport costs.
The company believes there will be a substantial hire market for the product, for providing portable and temporary charge points at large construction sites and events. “We are already fielding enquiries from large construction sites, for charging electric plant equipment as well as vehicles. One company was looking to hire our systems for three years. Music festivals are always looking to be even more sustainable and that will include facilities for EVs. A portable charging system will be critical in terms of providing that capability.”
Simon James said that the Charge Balance system works in the same way as any other item of plant equipment connected to a generator.
It consists of two stainless steel frames, housing the controller unit and the charger. Each weigh around 100kg, so can be transported in a light commercial vehicle. Titan Power claims that the whole system can be set up and ready to go in just one hour.
The system is configured to deliver power at the same rate as a 22kW EV charge post, which can fully recharge most electric cars in a few hours. It comes with an inbuilt RFID (radio-frequency identification) reader and 4G connectivity, meaning it can read EV network swipe cards. This gives the operator the option of charging a fee to users, in the same way as standard charge posts.
It was developed by Titan Power with its European partners, Vello Electric and Phoenix Contact. Titan also offers a lower-cost and lighter-weight range of portable chargers in its Charge line-up, but without the smart capabilities.
“The UK is not quite at the same level as the likes of Holland and Scandinavia when it comes to electric vehicles,” said Simon James. “However, it is heading in the right direction and that represents a great opportunity.”
See it online in the March/April issues of the Executive Hire Show magazine here.