Are Hansen, head of the Norway desk at CleanTechnica, sent us a story from Elbil, the Norwegian electric car association, about a new Circle K petrol station in the town of Kongsburg near Oslo. Norway, of course, thanks to an aggressive government policy, has the highest number of electric cars per capita of any nation in the world.
With so many electric cars on the streets, it was inevitable that the gas stations along the Norwegian highways would change. Circle K in Kongsburg is the first to rethink what the future will look like. The biggest change? The EV chargers are in the front. If you want to buy gasoline or diesel, you have to drive back. There are six 300 kW ultra fast chargers and twelve 200 kW fast chargers that can operate two cars at the same time. If they are all in use at the same time, they can draw more than 1.8 megawatts of electricity.
There are currently no electric cars on the streets that can handle 300 kW charging power. The closest are the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT with 270 kW under ideal conditions. The Hyundai 5 and Kia EV6, both of which use an 800-volt architecture, can be charged with up to 220 kW. Circle K is clearly preparing for the future of the electric motor today.
To supplement the local power supply, 146 solar modules with a maximum output of 50.38 kW are mounted on the roof of the Circle K system. And in order to use the long-term usage tariffs of the local energy supplier, it also has a 200 kWh storage system, which can be expanded to 300 kWh in the future. The battery storage enables the Circle K in Kongsburg to save more than NOK 100,000 (USD 1,150) per month in electricity bills.
Fast charging is great, but people want a comfortable spot inside while their EV is charging, even if it only takes 15-20 minutes. The Kongsburg Circle K has a 50-seat restaurant on the second floor and a number of comfortable lounge areas on the first floor. Clean, modern, practical. These are the hallmarks of the future of EV charging, with Circle K leading the way.
New charging options in the UK
In 2011, UK company Ecotricity began installing electric vehicle chargers at service stations along UK motorways, where they are known as forecourt. A lot has changed in 10 years. Most of these original chargers will not work or have the power to meet the needs of today's EV drives.
According to the BBC, Ecotricity has now been taken over by Gridserve, which promises to replace all 300 Ecotricity chargers in 150 forecourt with modern devices by September. It also says that motorway service stations across the country will create at least 50 “electric hubs” with up to a dozen 350 kW ultra-fast chargers. The Gridserve chargers will allow drivers to use contactless debit or credit cards to pay for their electricity instead of a smartphone app.
Gridserve has registered the name “Electric Forecourts” as a trademark and plans to open more than 100 of these charging stations in cities within the next five years. Each will include shops, cafes, toilets, and showrooms where people can learn about electric cars. Gridserve says all of its chargers are powered by solar parks, which means that every kilowatt of electricity taken from the grid is fed back an equivalent amount of solar energy.
Great Britain plans to ban the sale of new internal combustion engines from 2030. Toddington Harper, CEO of Gridserve, believes we are now entering a “mass market” for electric vehicles because of the ban. “We can count on using a much larger number of chargers. The business case is just completely different than it used to be. “
Take that away
The only constant in life is change. Small business owners used to make a living selling gasoline, oil, batteries, belts, tubes, tires, and maps to motorists. Then gas stations became obsolete as new technology made cars more reliable. In response, gas stations became convenience stores selling high-fructose corn syrup disguised as soft drinks and snacks. Now things are changing again as electric cars become more numerous. The filling stations of the future offer unimagined convenience.
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