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ABB installs UK’s first privately-owned DC rapid-charging station

Transport Minister Norman Baker opens electric-vehicle rapid charger at Midlands-based printing company, RCS.

Power and automation technology group, ABB, has delivered the UK’s first privately-owned direct current rapid-charging station for electric vehicles. The charger was installed in Retford, Nottinghamshire, and was opened by Transport Minister, Norman Baker; underlining the UK government’s commitment to promoting ultra-low carbon transport.

The Terra 51 charger was installed at the offices of printing company RCS PLC in Retford, just a few miles from the A1 that connects London and Edinburgh.

The printing company aims to become the greenest producer in its industry and bought the charger with financial support from the Midlands Plugged-in Places (PiP) project; part of the UK government’s wider programme to develop EV charging infrastructures across the UK. The rapid-charge station is being used by RCS to recharge its fleet of electric sales and delivery vehicles, but will also be part of the Plugged-in Midlands public charging network.

"The adoption of electric mobility is a reality. All major car brands have either already introduced their electric car models or are planning a launch within the next one to two years. In the meantime, the rollout of charging infrastructure is accelerating across Europe. Fleet owners, utilities, service operators and car-OEMs are convinced of the need for DC rapid charging. The possibility to quickly recharge will help potential buyers overcome the hurdle of range anxiety. That’s why the UK needs DC charging – in addition to the existing AC infrastructure – to further drive electric mobility," said Hans Streng, Senior Vice President and General
Manager of ABB’s Product Group EV Charging Infrastructure.

Rapid charging reduces electric-vehicle charging times from eight hours, using regular alternating current (AC), to as little as 15 to 30 minutes, which allows drivers to quickly recharge and keep driving. This will help alleviate concerns about the limited range of electric vehicles, thus providing a powerful incentive for potential buyers of electric cars. The rollout of a nationwide recharging infrastructure plays an integral part in the UK government’s drive to promote electric-mobility and reduce carbon emissions from road transport.

“We know there is public appetite out there for plug-in vehicles and we’re doing everything possible to make them a real option for motorists and industry,” said Norman Baker. “The installation of this charging station will not only make it easier and faster for electric-vehicle owners to recharge away from home, but demonstrates how our Plugged-in Places programme is helping to stimulate private investment in vital infrastructure. There is no doubt that low-carbon vehicles are here to stay, and we will continue to work with the industry to create a world-leading charging network that really reflects the needs of its users.”

Michael Todd, RCS Managing Director, added: “At RCS we are passionate about the environment and have already invested in both renewable energy and our own fleet of electric vehicles. This new rapid charging point is the next step in our own environmental programme and, being so close to the A1, it provides a convenient addition to the UK charging infrastructure for motorists and companies that have embraced electric vehicles.”

Robert Evans, CEO of Cenex, which co-managed the Plugged-in Midlands project, commented: “DC charging provides an exciting, fast complement to the AC charging infrastructure and through working with ABB we’ve enabled RCS to create a UK first to help encourage electric-vehicle adoption. We believe that this successful implementation will spur other organisations, in both the public and private sector, to become part of the growing electric infrastructure that is powering change in the Midlands.”

Since launching Europe’s first commercially operated rapid-charging station in the Netherlands in May 2010, ABB has delivered and installed many dozens of DC chargers and DC charging networks throughout the region. ABB recently won a tender offer to build a network of 200 rapid chargers throughout Estonia, which creates the world’s first DC charging infrastructure with full nationwide coverage and represents Europe’s largest EV charging infrastructure contract to date.

The Terra 51 installed in Retford is a single-port charger, particularly suited to locations with regular traffic. ABB’s product portfolio also includes the multi-port Terra Base Station 100.2, which can charge up to two cars simultaneously and is ideal for locations that are expected to see an increase in electric-vehicle traffic over the next few years. All Terra systems come with a wide range of connectivity features, including remote maintenance, software updates and high availability levels. ABB’s connectivity suite is designed to support all existing and future connection standards such as CHAdeMO and the EU/U.S. charging standard within the same network.

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