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New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
The UK’s largest public electric vehicle (EV) charging hub was recently unveiled at the NEC Birmingham. Meanwhile, BMW announced plans to invest in EV manufacturing in the UK and new research suggests that falling production and battery costs could see European EV makers selling cars for €25,000 and still making a profit.
A new public EV charging hub has been developed by BP Pulse, the EV Network (EVN) and NEC Group, at the NEC Exhibition Centre in the West Midland. It features 30 ultra-fast 150 kW and 150 fast 7 kW charge points, enabling 180 EVs to charge simultaneously.
Speaking at the hub’s inauguration, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said: ‘This is the biggest private investment in electric charging in the UK. The ground-breaking site will be a major transport hub for the future and marks a significant step in our rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country.’
The hub will help serve the seven million visitors attracted to the NEC annually, along with a wide range of other road users that make up the area’s average yearly traffic count of 60 million.
Mini Oxford plant goes electric
Meanwhile, in good news for the UK’s EV manufacturing sector, German carmaker BMW unveiled plans to invest £600mn in its Cowley plant near Oxford to build two new electric versions of the popular Mini. Production of the next generation Mini Cooper and Mini Aceman models is due to start in 2026.
The announcement is expected to safeguard the future of the Cowley facility, as well as that of its sister factory in Swindon, which makes body panels for new vehicles. A third electric model, the Countryman, is to be manufactured in Germany.
The investment is backed by funding from the government that has reportedly been valued at some £75mn.
EV charging to help balance the UK grid
Elsewhere, EV charging is to enable domestic households to offer real-time flexibility to UK electricity grid balancing operations for the first time, as part of a new trial.
Under the scheme, households with smart EV charging capability will be able to adapt their charging schedules in response to instructions sent from the UK electricity system operator, ESO.
The trial will run until April 2024, with more providers expected to enter the trial over the coming months.
Small EVs on track to be profitable by 2025
Meanwhile, new research from Transport & Environment (T&E) suggests that car manufacturers could sell small electric cars made in Europe for €25,000, while still making a profit.
Falling production costs and battery prices would make mass market B-segment vehicles feasible to electrify by 2025, according to the study based on analysis by the Syndex consultancy.
T&E claims the availability of smaller, more affordable EVs could be a ‘game changer for mass adoption of electric cars’ and ‘will be crucial if European carmakers are to hold off the challenge of Chinese companies surging into Europe’.