Innovate UK awards £335k in funding to rural charging consortium

Innovate UK has awarded £335K to Bonnet, EDF, DG Cities and Devon County Council to work on the Rural Electric Mobility Enabler (REME) project.

With backing from the government, the group of private and public organisations have embarked on an eight-month project to provide solutions to improve public charging provision in rural regions.

The partners are using technology, data and grid expertise to understand the challenges of access to EV chargers and the associated energy supply from the grid, which will be caused by increased EV usage.

The project focuses on Devon, using the council’s data to understand seasonal flows of people to the area and how this will impact future public charging demand. DG Cities and EDF use field dynamic code mapping and data from the National Grid to work out where in regional areas it would be necessary, but difficult, to implement public EV charge points.

EV charging platform Bonnet is using its consumer-facing app to offer drivers access to private charge points in rural areas, when demand is high.

Patrick Reich, co-founder at Bonnet, said: “Electric charging provision is lacking in rural regions across the country, and we’re honoured to be collaborating with these partners to find solutions to these issues.

“Our payment and chargepoint information app can provide access to private charge points for public use across the UK and we already have thousands of public chargepoints on board. Innovative solutions need to be developed to combat drivers’ EV charging anxiety, especially in tourist hotspot regions across the country. This exciting project will be a step towards future proofing the electrification of the UK’s roads and we hope to encourage further change.”

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, says: “The delivery of a network of charging points in Devon is one of our priorities and over the next year Devon County Council and its partners at Devon Climate Emergency will have delivered more than 400 charging bays across the county. We know that nine out of ten drivers in the county we surveyed would like to make the transition to EVs over the next few years, so we have to be prepared.

“A vital part of that is better understanding the challenges of access to EV chargers and the associated energy supply from the grid, which will be caused by this increase in d EV usage.”

Following the trial period (ending March 2022), the partners hope to propose the new business model to other rural councils in the UK.

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