Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Ricardo have announced the DC Share project to develop a solution that shares capacity across existing AC electricity distribution network substations, enabling increased numbers of high-power EV chargers to be connected to the network at lower cost.
As part of the project, WPD and Electricity North West Limited (ENWL) will work with Ricardo to use latent capacity in distribution networks to power charging hubs. The project aims to use latent capacity in distribution networks, which is difficult to access using traditional means.
The DC Share project will trial a novel approach to supplying rapid charging hubs, using power electronics to extract power from existing substations and distribute this to rapid EV charge points via a new high-capacity DC cable network.
Jonathan Berry, innovation manager at WPD, said:, “The need to facilitate fast and rapid electric vehicle charging has never been more prevalent. New technologies and solutions need to be developed to deliver on-street charging solutions, as over 40% of people don’t have access to off-street parking.”
The trial will explore the comparative benefits of a DC network, where power flows can be actively managed, and fault level contained, over the traditional approach of AC network reinforcement.
The DC Share project will lay a new high-capacity DC equalization cable network, which will balance demands so that transformers experiencing heavy demand receive support from those that are more lightly loaded. This enables uncertainty in demand to be managed more effectively.