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Rapid & Ultra-Rapid EV Charging

The UK’s EV charging infrastructure is growing

Stats from Zap-Map show most of the infrastructure is made of fast chargers but the share of rapid and even ultra-rapid chargers is accelerating. This trend will have an enormous impact on electric vehicle drivers, slashing recharging times and massively reducing range anxiety among electric vehicle motorists.

Rapid & Ultra-Rapid EV Charging

What is Rapid and Ultra-Rapid EV Charging?

There are 3 types of charging available to electric vehicle (EV) drivers; slow, fast, and rapid / ultra-rapid DC chargers.

Rapid & Ultra-Rapid EV Charging Point

Slow chargers: 3kWh – 7kWh which people quite often have in their garages.

Fast chargers: 7kWh – 25kWh fast chargers are the most common on the UK market – typically seen in car parks, for example.

Rapid and ultra-rapid DC chargers: 50kWh up to  350kWh – these speeds allow you to reach 80% charge in 20-40 minutes and are usually found on major routes, at hubs and other on-route locations, as well as retail parks and restaurants.

Ultra-rapid EV chargers tend to be more costly to operate and install, so you can expect to see higher per kW chargers for these units. The most common in this range is the rapid charging units, operating at 50kWh, which are found in city car parks and retail parks. This is because these units have been standard with the first generation of EVs, which have typically had 50 kW at the maximum charging speed.

However with the new range of vehicles charging speeds have typically increased to around 100 – 150 kW, with some vehicles being capable of accepting charges up to 300 kW, and therefore hyper or ultra-rapid chargers are there to fulfill this need for the latest vehicles.

Young Man Uses Mer Rapid Charger

Why rapid/ultra-rapid EV charging?

For its speed of charge – Drivers fill up quickly and move on. It makes charging more convenient and significantly reduces range anxiety – both of which are cited as main factors in hindering widespread EV adoption.

To attract customers – Drivers will prefer a rapid charger for a quick top-up.

For ease of use – Contactless payment is enabled – Drivers can just turn up, charge and pay. No need to create an account or download an app.

To future-proof EV charging infrastructure – As battery innovation continues, EVs will become more efficient and need a quicker charge.

Girl Charging at Mer Charger

Deploying Ultra-Rapid EV Hubs

Local authorities and commercial landowners should consider where and how they can support the deployment of ultra-rapid charging hubs in their areas. It is important to position these charging hubs in the most optimal locations. Typically, a good location will be:

  • Close to major routes through the city
  • Close to areas housing without off-street parking
  • Within council-owned car parks or retail car parks. Mainly open-air, large car parks
  • Close to an electrical connection

Mer can undertake such studies to find out the “best locations” across all criteria.

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