National Grid EV Charging: Mobilisation Phase
Developing a robust charging infrastructure for a large scale EV rollout
In early 2021, ElectrAssure was selected by National Grid as the sole supplier for their 5 year programme to deliver and manage the EV charging infrastructure across their UK locations: 1,500+ chargers, 290+ sites.
The first stage was ‘Mobilisation’, to prepare for the planned nationwide roll-out programme. This involved surveying the existing chargers, fixing any issues and rolling out a bespoke cloud-based Chargepoint Management System (CPMS). The CPMS registers drivers, monitors each charger and records user charging for billing purposes. It also allows most faults to be rectified remotely.
National Grid had 160 EV chargers installed at their London depots and corporate sites across the country. Although the chargers in London had been recently installed, some had comms issues and could not reliably communicate with the CPMS. There were also problems with chargers at the corporate sites being obsolete; so spares and support were no longer available.
The existing CPMS did not provide the level of monitoring and management reporting demanded by National Grid to facilitate timely maintenance and optimisation of resources.
Following an initial audit of existing hardware and IT infrastructure, ElectrAssure actioned a series of workshops, preliminary submissions and trial implementations to fully assess the requirement.
ElectrAssure’s surveys established that the London chargers had integral 2G modems. As most mobile operators were decommissioning their 2G networks, ElectrAssure connected the chargers to new 4G routers which resolved the comms issues.
The chargers on the corporate sites proved to be at or close to their end of life. Some were initially retained but they proved very unreliable, so ElectrAssure swapped 17 of the existing chargers and installed an additional 24 Garo LS4 and GTBs, in line with the wider rollout programme.
Working collaboratively with both National Grid and Hangar 19 (supplier of the Park & Recharge CPMS), a bespoke implementation of the CPMS was tailored to National Grid’s individual needs. This included a mobile app and website for direct user access and a customised back-office system and helpdesk that ensured both usability and the required functionality.
ElectrAssure established maintenance processes that satisfied all of the contracted SLA priority levels. ElectrAssure then transferred the management of all chargers to the National Grid Park & Recharge CPMS.
All existing chargers are now operational, with reported issues dropping by 65% – even though the number of National Grid EV drivers has increased exponentially. Key management information is now easily accessible to a hierarchy of different user groups.
Those faults and issues that have been reported to the helpdesk have been cleared well within the SLAs.
ElectrAssure and National Grid can now embark on the planned large scale EV charging programme, safe in the knowledge that this is underpinned by an efficient, robust and proven infrastructure.
“National Grid recognises the role of Electric Vehicles in achieving net zero by 2050 and as part of our own drive to be carbon neutral we’ve committed to replace a significant proportion of our commercial fleet with EVs. To do this, we’ll install EV chargers across our core and operational estate. It was imperative that we appointed a supplier that could deliver the right solution from the outset, and ElectrAssure have achieved that.”
Delivery Manager, EVSE Project