Stowmarket’s EO Charging developing smart technology to enable electricity operators to manage energy use as more electric vehicles arrive
PUBLISHED: 13:01 18 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:10 18 March 2018
Over the coming years we will see a huge increase in the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on our roads, as manufacturers phase out polluting diesel and petrol-powered cars in favour of those offering lower carbon emissions.
This trend represents a revolution on the highways and byways of the UK but also presents considerable challenges as the infrastructure, which for years has supported the internal combustion engine, is reconfigured to cater for a new generation of cars that draw on the National Grid to power their batteries.
It means that companies working in this fast-moving sector must constantly have one eye on the future while at the same time feeding the growing current demand for EVs.
This is the case with Suffolk-based EO Charging, a EDP/EADT Future 50 business, which manufactures charging boxes that drivers use to plug in their EVs. According to founder and CEO, Charlie Jardine, the firm has produced over 3,000 charging units in the past 18 months from its facility in Creeting St Peter near Stowmarket, many for customers abroad.
The company is also looking at ways in which the electricity can be used more efficiently to reduce the strain on the grid.
“If we are expecting to transition the UK’s fleet of 30 million vehicles to electric vehicles over the next 20 to 30 years, we need to manage the energy intelligently,” said Jardine.
With this in mind, the firm has developed a product called EO Hub, which connects charging points to the internet so users can monitor usage and costs via an online portal or app.
A recent project saw it install 63 charge points connected to two hubs to enable London-based Gnewt Cargo to keep its 100% electric commercial vehicle fleet on the road.
Beyond this EO Charging is developing technology to allow companies running large numbers of electric vehicles to schedule when they are charged, so they don’t draw down from the grid at peak periods. Allowing electricity network operators to manage the growing demand from EVs and so-called vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies are other areas the company is working in.
“This kind of technology is being proven out today in preparation for three to five years time,” added Mr Jardine.