Centrica will be working with FreeWire Technologies on a feasibility study that aims to help unlock the adoption of electrified transportation in the UK.
A pioneer in flexible electric vehicle (EV) charging technology, FreeWire has received funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK to participate in the Wireless EV Charging for Commercial Users competition.
Delivered in partnership with Westminster City Council, the project will combine FreeWire’s mobile EV charging technology with Zipcar’s electrified fleet and driver patterns to test the feasibility of scalable on-demand EV charging deployments.
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 labour costs, as well as major electrical upgrades to support the connection between charging stations and the electricity grid.
Arcady Sosinov, CEO of FreeWire Technologies said: “Our team is thrilled to present our mobile charging solutions for real-world applications in the United Kingdom. We hope this feasibility study will prove that flexible EV charging can be effectively integrated in cities in the UK and around the world.”
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 country’s largest commercial fleets and has ambitions to electrify the 12,000-strong fleet of vans used by its team of British Gas engineers.
Jonathan Tudor, Technology Strategy and Innovation Director for Centrica Innovations said: “Around 40% of the UK’s homes have no access to off-street parking, so it’s essential that we find cost-effective alternatives to home charging that will meet the growing demands of existing and future EV drivers.
“We’re delighted to be working with leading innovators and entrepreneurs like FreeWire, who have a key role to play in helping to unlock a cleaner future for our towns and cities.”
During the first phase of the competition, 27 feasibility studies will analyse the impact of innovative technologies for EV charging backed by a £40 million funding programme.
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.