Electric vehicle fast chargers designed and manufactured by Australia’s Tritium could soon feature at UK supermarkets under a deal inked with charging provider Pod Point to become its preferred supplier.
Pod Point, which was recently acquired by the UK arm of French energy major EDF, is the official supplier of charging points to major auto brands in the UK and Norway, with some 69,000 already rolled out.
Pod Point in December announced an extensive rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to Tesco supermarkets in a deal with VW that will see nearly 3,000 charging bays across 60 stores installed by the end of 2020.
Charging bays under the agreement will include free 7kW AC plugs and at certain locations, 50kW DC fast chargers which will be complimented by 22kW AC “destination” chargers.
Tritium’s status as preferred supplier to Pod Point means that its 50kW Veefil-RT units – chosen for their small footprint, reliability and ease of use – will be preferentially offered to new and existing customers, including Tesco.
“EV adoption is accelerating rapidly in the UK and we’re making sure the charging infrastructure is in place to sustain the awesome growth trend that we’re seeing,” said Erik Fairbairn, Pod Point CEO and founder in a statement.
“We decided to work with Tritium because their products are reliable, easy to install and have a small physical footprint. We also liked that it’s easy to add custom branding to the units too.”
The 50kW chargers, which can add 40km of driving range in around 10 minutes, complement the slower AC chargers that would typically be used by visitors using car parks for a number of hours. (While a 2-3kW at home charger is known as a “trickle charger”. 7kW chargers can add 40km range an hour, and 22kW chargers can add up to 120km range an hour).
“DC fast charging is a key part of the UK charger mix, especially for drivers who need to re-charge quickly on long journeys or in emergencies, and for commercial vehicles that can’t trickle charge because they don’t park often,” says Fairbairn.
Tritium director of business development in Europe, Jeroen Jonker, says the first rapid chargers under the agreement with Pod Point had already been installed prior to the deal’s signing.
“Pod Point values this ease of installation and roll-out speed, and we are focused on ensuring a long-term supporting relationship with Pod Point,” said Jonker in a statement.
“Pod Point’s clients also appreciate that our charger has the world’s smallest footprint, enabling charger deployment on their parking lots without sacrificing premium real estate.”
With the UK ban on selling new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars now brought forward from 2040 to 2035, the need for public charging infrastructure will increase, says Tritium’s country manager for the UK and Ireland, Kevin Pugh.
“Electric vehicle interest was already increasing, and when you combine that with the Government’s amended deadline it’s clear we’ll see electric vehicles become the norm sooner rather than later,” Pugh said in a statement.
“However, not everyone in the UK has access to off-street parking, and as such drivers aren’t always able to recharge at home and overnight. This needs to be addressed with publicly available, reliable and plentiful charging infrastructure, and one of Tritium’s core goals is to make EV charging more convenient than re-fuelling.
“As diesel, petrol and hybrid vehicles are phased out, Pod Point’s rollout will be key to addressing this concern and ensuring drivers can charge whenever they need to. Our chargers can be fitted with contactless credit card readers to facilitate ad hoc payment, an increasingly important requirement in the UK market.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.