Franklin Energy has secured £1.7million of funding under the Department of Transport’s latest drive to improve electrical vehicle charging technology for on street environments.

Franklin is the sole charging provider under the trail-blazing Innovate UK programme and will deliver smart on street charging in cities throughout the UK. In a bid to address concerns surrounding usability, cost, speed and accessibility for EV drivers, the new fast EV charging system EnSmartEV, has been developed under a partnership with Entrust Microgrid, the project lead, based at the University of Lancaster.

Under the ambitious scheme, Franklin will trial the technology across two sites in Merseyside through Halton Borough Council. This will see two EnSmartEV charging hubs introduced into the local area to enable local residents to have improved access to EV charging as well as support the town centre in having publicly accessible EV charging points.

Uniquely, the charging hubs will be able to charge any type of EV – with the ability to charge up to 6 EV’s simultaneously.

Robert Byrne, Managing Director of Franklin Energy commented: “This is a ground breaking scheme that addresses the very real issues surrounding EV charging in public spaces. In order to meet government targets and roll out the drive towards EV ownership, we must have the infrastructure in place that meets the needs of modern life. This technology will provide highly efficient, incredibly low-cost charging solutions.”

The project is being piloted in Halton, Merseyside from September 2019 and is being implemented via Halton Borough Council and the Liverpool City Region.

Many existing public EV chargers operate using peak power, burning excessive amounts of fossil fuels and are slow when compared to high speed chargers and are therefore considered inefficient. The new EnSmartEV system solution addresses each these issues, integrating lithium batteries able to charge EVs with off-peak or low tariff electricity offering premium, the chargers offers ultimate efficiency at rapid speeds.

Physically, the charging post has been developed under a subtle compact design, serving two electric vehicles with multiple uses, such as street/pavement lighting whilst indicating the status of the charger. The system will be modular and have the ability to charge up to 20kW enabling quicker charger.

Rob added: “This project will demonstrate what a huge difference efficient charging will have on existing EV drivers whilst encouraging others to make the shift to electric when weighing up options and viability. It’s great to be part of this pioneering scheme, and selected as the technology provider of choice, that will undoubtedly set a precedent for the EV UK movement.”

Xiongwei Liu – Founder of Entrust Smart Home Microgrid Limited and the EnSmartEV charging technology system:

“This is game changing technology. Whilst using battery storage to charge EV’s is nothing new, we are able to maximize the use of DC to DC technology which leads to ultra high efficiency and very little corresponding power losses that are inherent in current systems.

“Further, we are able to fast charge up to six EV’s simultaneously with the ability to charge all makes and models of EV. Easy to use and operate, the EnSmartEV will be great for EV users and for the electricity grid network too.

“At the moment, very few people are talking about the impact of EV’s on the electricity grid but the reality is that the grid will simply be unable to cope with demand from EV charging. Our solution will ease the burden on the grid and manage electricity loads at peak times.

“We are grateful to Innovate UK for the funding and look forward to working with our partners to deliver the EnSmartEV project in Halton.”

Major redevelopment of Ruskin Square

As part of a major redevelopment of Ruskin Square in Croydon, the 565-bay car park has been refurbished to include two electric vehicle chargers, one of the first charging stations in Croydon.

Since install in December 2016, usage has grown significantly month on month, exceeding anticipated targets. Such as been the demand that operators are considering a further four charge installations.

Franklin Energy has installed 8 x 7kW dual outlet fast chargers enabling 16 plug-in vehicles to be charged. Access is provided through Franklin’s LiFe EV smart phone app, allowing on the spot access to drivers with no subscription costs.

The site, owned by Schroders, is managed by JLL who has led the wide scale new build and refurbishment project. A £500million programme, creating 1.25 million sq ft of much-needed new office space, homes and new shops and restaurants, work to the car park at a cost of £4million, now sees the state-of-the art facility open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Robert Byrne, Managing Director of Franklin Energy commented: “The EV install at Ruskin Square has been a huge success in terms of uptake. Demand for the current chargers has grown consistently both in terms of the number of users and the number of charging sessions, as well as increasing demand from new EV drivers wanting to charge at Ruskin Square

“The site operators are looking to explore the EV concept which is undoubtedly gaining rapid momentum. As one of the first centres to offer EV charging in Croydon, Ruskin Square will be recognised as an established base for electric drivers as more and more people inevitably make the switch.”

Richard Lewis of JLL commented: “Schroders wanted to ensure that the multi storey car park at Ruskin Square was the best in Croydon, in line with the prestigious development, so introduced EV charging stations to reflect customer demand and the growing need for this facility in urban areas.

Thanks to our great location at the heart of Croydon, we have an excellent dwell time which enables our EV drivers to charge at work or when shopping so needed an easy to use and efficient system which Franklin Energy has provided. We envisage that usage of this facility will only grow, so wanted to make sure we had everything in place to cater for the increased demand.”