FreeWire Technologies, Centrica and Zipcar UK to launch feasibility study for on-demand electric vehicle charging in the UK
FreeWire Technologies, a developer of flexible electric vehicle (EV) charging technology, has received funding from the UK Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK to participate in the Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging for Commercial Users competition. Supported by international energy and services company Centrica plc and delivered in partnership with Westminster City Council, the project will combine FreeWire’s mobile EV charging technology with Zipcar UK’s electrified fleet and driver patterns to test the feasibility of scalable on-demand EV charging deployments.
The aim of the competition is to develop business cases that will encourage the adoption of electrified transportation in the UK through widespread charging options.
The study will explore the potential benefits of mobile energy storage and wireless technology compared to fixed EV charging stations, which typically require high installation and labor costs as well as major electrical upgrades to support the connection between charging stations and the electricity grid.
The trial is being supported by Centrica’s innovation arm, which has been established to identify and accelerate new technology and ideas for homes and businesses. The company owns one of the UK’s largest commercial fleets and has ambitions to electrify the 12,000-strong fleet of vans used by its team of British Gas engineers.
During the first phase of the competition, 27 feasibility studies will analyze the impact of innovative technologies for EV charging backed by a £40-million (US$51-million) funding program.
The competition will determine how sustainable business models can maximise the effectiveness and impact of EV infrastructure deployment. The wide variety of technologies and business models included will help implement charging infrastructure that is affordable, dependable, equitable and can promote EV adoption. Phase one finalists will enter phase two of the competition to implement their product in real-world demonstrations in London.