York HyperHubs open and act as Blueprint for the future of electric vehicle (EV)charging in cities

Two electric vehicle (EV) HyperHubs are opening in York in the UK. They aim to act as a demonstration of best practice for the design of electric vehicle charging facilities in cities. They have been well thought through and conveniently located while offering fast, easy and affordable charging for all. Plus, 80 percent of the £2.2 million project is being externally funded.

The Monks Cross HyperHub, next to one of York’s Park and Ride sites, has now opened and is one of the largest charging hubs in Northern England. It features four 175kW ultra-rapid chargers which can be upgraded to 350kW when more electric cars can charge at this rate. There are also four 50kW rapid chargers, with an adjacent area having 30 7kW chargers for Park and Ride users.

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The 175kW ultra-rapid chargers allow many of the latest electric vehicles to gain 100 miles (160km) of range in 10 just minutes. The 7kW chargepoints at the adjacent site allow drivers to charge over a longer period of time. For example, if drivers are using the Park and Ride or if they are visiting the shops and cafes at the Vanguard Shopping Park.

This is the first project to select ABB’s EV Site Solution as part of a charging package. This includes ultra-rapid charging, as well as smart energy management to make the most of limited power capacity. Last year ABB announced that it had launched the world’s fastest electric car charger.

The HyperHub features a solar canopy which allows the site to generate its own renewable energy. This is then stored in the Tesla Powerpack batteries at the charging hub, helping to reinforce the grid.

The ultra-rapid and rapid chargers are user-friendly for electric vehicle drivers thanks to contactless payment. Cars and vans can access the chargers, and the facility has been designed with no kerbs to allow disabled access. Protection from the weather is provided by the solar canopy and all of the electricity supplied from the National Grid will be generated by renewable sources.

Monks Cross HyperHub in York

In addition to the Monks Cross HyperHub, a second HyperHub is also set to open next to the Poppleton Bar Park and Ride site in the summer. A third site is due to open near the city centre in 2022.

These unique projects are the result of a partnership between the City of York Council and EvoEnergy. A key element behind the development of the HyperHubs was the production of an Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy by the City of York Council. This looked at a wide range of issues to ensure that the HyperHubs met the needs of residents, fleets, commuters and through traffic. 

The convenient location of the charging hubs was a central part of the strategy, with the first two HyperHub sites being located off the ring road next to established Park and Ride sites.

The Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy also identified that it wasn’t yet commercially viable for the private sector to develop such charging hubs. As a result, the City of York Council would own its charging network to guarantee the best results for residents. 

This allows the Council to plan how the network will grow and to set tariffs, as well as making it directly accountable and enabling it to deliver next-generation chargers as quickly as possible.

Keith Aspden, City of York Council leader, said: “Our HyperHubs will allow electric vehicle drivers to charge easily and quickly using renewable energy. This will help us reduce emissions that impact on climate change and local air quality, and help us achieve our climate emergency goal of being CO2 neutral by 2030.

“EvoEnergy has been a critical partner in turning our vision into reality, managing the construction of the HyperHubs and successfully integrating the many different aspects of the projects.”

“In addition to charging points already available in car parks for residents living closer to the city centre, the HyperHubs – rather than on-street overnight charging provision – are part of our strategy for diversity of provision.”

The funding for the HyperHubs is also unique, with the City of York Council successfully securing £1 million of European Regional Development Funding. It also raised £800,000 from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, along with £400,000 of the Council’s own capital funding to install the first two HyperHubs. This has resulted in 80 percent of the £2.2 million project being externally funded.

Jonathan Roper, EvoEnergy Principle Renewable Energy Consultant, said: “The York HyperHubs, with elements such as ABB rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, solar energy generation and battery storage, act as a technology showcase. 

“Combined with GridBeyond’s management of the battery for participation in grid balancing services, the sites actually help to strengthen the electricity grid and will allow the latest electric vehicles – and the next generation of EVs – to charge in a hassle-free way, helping to reduce emissions from road transport in York.”

Users of the HyperHub can benefit from lower prices for rapid and ultra-rapid charging than would typically be the case for non-subscription customers of commercial operators. This is in part due to the battery storage solution. The York HyperHub chargepoints also have no minimum spend and there’s no increase in the tariff for using contactless payment methods.

The management and optimisation of the battery for participation in grid balancing services are handled by GridBeyond, a provider of intelligent energy technology. This way, the hub will not only benefit electric vehicle users but will also support the decarbonisation of the energy network by providing additional flexibility to the grid.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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