The EV Powered Interview

Toddington Harper: GRIDSERVE and the future of charging

As GRIDSERVE continues its nationwide rollout of EV chargers, Toddington Harper, the founder and CEO of the company, says it is now time to speed things up.

It has been a busy year for GRIDSERVE. As one of the country’s biggest electric vehicle charging networks, Toddington Harper and his team have been on a mission to electrify the UK’s motorway network, in conjunction with Moto.

As GRIDSERVE continues its nationwide rollout of EV chargers, Toddington Harper, the founder and CEO of the company, says it is now time to speed things up.

“It’s a very interesting partnership,” Toddington said on the Everything EV Podcast. “The original Electric Highway network was started around ten years ago by Dale Vince of Ecotricity and he was looking for a partner to take that to the next stage. He selected Gridserve as that partner and then we stepped in about 18 months ago with a view to replacing all of the old chargers with new chargers and really helping to work closely with Moto and build the infrastructure that’s fit for purpose for the mass market and do it as quickly as possible and deliver the best possible charging experience.”

That “best possible charging experience” consists of a number of factors, according to Toddington. Firstly, availability; GRIDSERVE has installed a minimum of six chargers at every Moto site in the country and is now on a mission to up that to 12. Secondly, the customer experience, which has been targeted through GRIDSERVE’s Electric Super Hubs and Moto Hospitality’s facilities.

The third, and arguably most important factor for the future of EV charging, is speed. “The future is about high-powered charging,” Toddington explained.

“Originally, 150kW was considered high-power charging, and that’s still the government classification. But we’re putting in chargers up to 350 kilowatts, and actually there’s a new 360 kilowatt charger that’s just become available as well.”

These high-powered chargers come in the form of ABB’s Terra 360 chargers, which have been trialled at GRIDSERVE’s Braintree Electric Forecourt. The testing of the next generation High Power EV chargers includes an all-new charging bay that’s been designed to specifically serve long-load and light commercial electric vehicles.

Two vehicles will be able to plug in and charge simultaneously, thanks to the chargers’ dynamic dual-charging, which will distribute the power between both vehicles.

Commenting on the new chargers, Toddington said: “Theoretically, they can charge more than 100 miles in less than five minutes, but practically, it’s going to probably still take ten to 20 minutes to give people most of the energy that they need to complete their journey.

“That’s really where our thinking is going as well. Hopefully we can start thinking that a minimum of six at every site is the basics.”

The future of electric vehicle charging is here, and with the rollout of these high-powered chargers expected to continue and accelerate throughout 2023, GRIDSERVE is at the forefront of the evolution.

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