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Posted on December 13, 2018 by staff

Tech firm’s super hubs will curb EV ‘range anxiety’

A new UK company hopes to make long journeys in electric vehicles possible with green energy ‘petrol stations’ across the UK.

The growing appeal of a cheaper and quieter car, combined with a crackdown on fossil fuels means the end of the road for fuel-based cars.

The UK’s roads will soon be colonised by electric vehicles, known in the industry as ‘EV’, but the methods for keeping electric cars charged is still in its infancy.

London-based Pivot Power is planning to make fast, clean EV charging a reality, curbing the ‘range anxiety’ which electric vehicle drivers feel on long trips.

The company’s energy storage sites, known as ‘super hubs’, will contain enormous batteries capable of storing and regulating the fluctuating power created from wind farms and solar panels.

Pivot Power’s business development director Edward Sargent, previously of Tesla, says that these super hubs will also allow EV charging, to top-up cars making long trips.

He hopes that after people have had a chance to test drive electric vehicles, and as the prices level out with petrol cars, the streets will be filled with EVs.

Sargent explains that the current method of generating electricity means that “when you boil a kettle, something, somewhere speeds up. Our generation is the spinning generation”.

“Renewables are great, but they’re intermittent,” he adds, which means ‘on-demand’ green energy isn’t possible.

“The answer is energy storage, but for a long time no one has known how to store solar during the day and use it at night.”

Being able to hold the energy and release it at the right time reduces the need to use renewables when there is no need to use them.

“This means that you can reduce renewable energy generation and put energy into a grid at a more local level when it’s needed to help with peak usage.”

Sargent has noticed the impact of fossil fuels every day, and said he has considered moving his family away from his London home for fears of decreasing air quality.

“Seeing the studies about London and the city centre, air is a huge issue, and a huge portion of that is transport based.”

The company is now raising more than £1 billion from institutional and retail investors to help make this localised, green energy alternative a reality.

The concept is to be able to bring investors in, allowing the general public to have a stake in the company from a very small scale up, he explained.

“It makes ideal business sense, because if people are aware, they are that much more likely to use it and talk about it.”

“There is a generational shift and this is a movement that people want,” he said, but it will take a UK-based company to make it happen in the UK.

“We’re a small island and it’s often seen as ‘America and the rest of the world’.”

“The nuances of the UK market are fascinating and it’s going to take a UK company with UK expertise to understand that.”

In the next year the company will have its first two sites up and running which Sargent says is “really exciting” he said.

“From a broader point of view it’s about having more electric vehicles on the road,” he added.

In the more distant future, Sargent hopes to see less developed countries side-stepping fossil fuels altogether, and brining in a system similar to that of Pivot Power.

“What’s been really fascinating over the last couple of years is seeing the pace of change in an industry that isn’t used to change.

“If you were going to develop an electricity system would we do it in exactly the same way, or with what we know today would we take a different, decentralised model.”