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Europe’s largest EV charging hub opens in Oxford

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Europe’s largest electric vehicle charging hub has officially opened in Oxford, with the project offering the ability to simultaneously fast charge up to 42 vehicles. 

The Energy Superhub Oxford, which is located at Oxford’s Redbridge Park and Ride, is the result of collaboration between Oxford City Council, Pivot Power, Fastned, Tesla and Wenea. 

Electric vehicle drivers will have a wealth of charging options at the new hub, with Fastned offering 10 charging bays offering 300 kW of power, capable of adding 300 miles of range in just 20 minutes. Additionally, Wenea has deployed 20 7-22 kW charging bays, while there are 12 250 kW Tesla Superchargers that are available on-site. 

The project was only made viable thanks to the assistance of National Grid, which for the first time ever, directly connected the charging hub to the high voltage transmission network via a four-mile underground cable. That gives the Energy Superhub the ability to deliver 10 MW of power to quickly and simultaneously charge hundreds of EVs without putting additional strain on the local electricity network, or requiring costly upgrades. 

Oxford’s Energy Superhub is just one part of a nationwide network of Energy Superhubs developed by Pivot Power, which combine transmission-connected batteries and power infrastructure for EV charging to enable more renewables and accelerate the decarbonisation of transport.

Pivot Power’s network can be expanded to key locations throughout Oxford to decarbonise public and private transport, taxis and commercial fleets, supporting Oxford’s net zero 2040 target, as well as providing infrastructure for the pilot Zero Emission Zone – a first-of-its-kind scheme that applies fees to any non-electric vehicle entering the central zone. A substation has already been installed at Oxford Bus Company’s Watlington Road depot, ready to support the company’s plans to introduce over 100 electric buses in the coming two years.

As part of the project, Energy Superhub Oxford has also supported the decarbonisation of Oxford City Council’s fleet of maintenance vehicles, managed by ODS. In total, Energy Superhub Oxford has contributed almost £900,000 towards the procurement of 40 EVs, including cars, vans, road sweepers, tipper trucks and the city’s first all-electric bin lorry.

The world’s largest hybrid energy battery storage system 

In addition to opening Europe’s largest EV charging hub, Pivot Power has installed a cutting-edge hybrid battery system which will underpin local and national clean power systems and support the UK’s transition towards a zero-carbon energy system.

The battery system, which stores renewable energy at times of high supply, will provide essential flexibility to the UK’s grid as renewable energy is scaled up. During periods when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, the battery will discharge, helping to ensure electricity is secure and reliable throughout the day. This will be essential if the UK is to reach its goals of 50GW of offshore wind and 70GW of solar capacity by the 2030s, as well as fully decarbonising electricity by 2035.

It combines a 2MW/5MWh vanadium flow battery from Invinity Energy Systems with a 50MW/50MWh lithium-ion battery from global technology company Wärtsilä to deliver an innovative energy storage solution that can balance the intermittency of renewable energy. The system will be controlled and managed by Wärtsilä’s GEMS Digital Energy Platform and optimised by Habitat Energy’s AI-enabled battery trading system.

Energy Superhub Oxford has also supported the installation of over 60 ground source heat pumps for social housing properties in Oxford, helping to alleviate the reliance on fossil fuel-based heating that has pushed energy prices to record levels and placed increased strain on working families. Residents who have already received ground source heat pumps in Oxford have reported running cost savings of over 50%. The project is also demonstrating the use of remote control to target times when renewable energy is most plentiful and lowest carbon. This approach will reduce future electricity bills as heat pump installations scale from thousands to millions over the next decade.

Additional hubs planned

Pivot Power plans to deploy up to 40 Energy Superhubs across the UK, with the next two projects already underway in Coventry and Sandwell, to the northwest of Birmingham. Once complete, the network could provide almost 10% of the energy storage that the UK is predicted to require by 2035.

Matt Allen, CEO and Co-Founder of Pivot Power, noted, “Urban decarbonisation is ground zero for the immediate emissions reductions needed to tackle the climate crisis. Energy Superhub Oxford provides a vision of the future, today. By delivering a world-leading project that cuts emissions across transport, power and heat, we are breaking new ground to help the UK reach net zero sooner.”

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