Keele University launches one of the largest EV charging hubs in the region
A new charging hub for electric vehicles (EV) has opened at Keele, furthering the University’s sector-leading commitment to sustainability.
The smart charging hub is said to be one of the largest in the region, featuring 20 points – 16 at 22kW and 4 at 7kW – all of which are currently free to use.
With the additional hubs in operation, the University now boasts a total of 29 EV points on campus, supporting University staff, students and visitors who have made the switch to electric vehicles.
Through Keele’s Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND)* the future of the EV charging hub will be run smartly, by monitoring usage and demand, then responding accordingly. The SEND is a European first, world-class facility which hosts a collaboration between Keele and engineering giant Siemens, to turn the University campus into an at-scale living laboratory for research, development and demonstration.
Research from the SEND will help inform how electricity networks might need to be altered in the future and how users’ behaviours and expectations can be influenced. Over time, the SEND will also inform the delivery of ‘smart’ charging, where users will inform an app about their length of stay and the system will deliver charging at different rates in order to respond to the network’s demands at that given time.
Director of Estates and Development, Phil Butters, said: “We’re delighted to open a hub of this size on the University campus to allow the transition to electric vehicles for staff and students.
“By the end of 2021 we will be generating most of our electricity from on-campus renewable sources, meaning the EV hub will then be powered by renewable energy. Together, these changes support the University’s sustainability goals by delivering on our ambitious carbon management targets and helping to minimise air pollution from staff and students travelling to and from campus.”
Dr Richard Waller, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, is the owner of an electric vehicle and has been using charging points at the University since the installation of the original pods.
He said: “It was the appearance of the original series of PodPoint chargers that encouraged me to think about making the transition to a full battery electric vehicle and ultimately enabled me to make the switch with having no off-street parking at home. I make a weekly commute to Penrith and back and so I’ve estimated that this has saved over 3 tonnes of carbon emissions per year so far.
“The development of a new charging hub with 20 additional charging points is clearly going to provide a real step change in the charging provision at Keele that I’m sure will encourage more staff to make the transition. I couldn’t recommend the switch highly enough and am thankful to work somewhere with the foresight to have made it possible.”
Development plans for Keele to generate 80% of its own electricity through solar and wind power is set to be fully operational by the end of 2021. As part of this Low Carbon Energy Reduction Project, the EV charging facility will eventually be powered by Keele’s own electricity supply.
The development represents an important contribution to the University’s response to the climate change agenda through the direct provision of clean, renewable energy, as part of its ambitious pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030.
*The Smart Energy Network Demonstrator project (ref. 32R16P00706) is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme, and is available to ERDF eligible companies. The project is also receiving funds from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).