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WPD takes charge with EV strategy

We have become the first distribution network operator (DNO) to launch our Electric Vehicle Strategy – and the company is confident it can meet customers’ future charging needs. 

The strategy has been developed in consultation with local authorities, fuel station operators, government departments, the Welsh government, Go Ultra Low Cities, house builders, vehicle manufacturers, fleet operators and Local Energy Partnerships. 

WPD’s Policy Manager Paul Jewell said: “On average, an electric vehicle (EV) uses the same volume of electricity as a domestic house. At WPD we’re used to designing networks for housing so it’s a case of adapting our existing methodologies to ensure EV charging can be accommodated in the most efficient and economic way.” 

The strategy covers everything from connections to super 130kW rapid chargers that provide a 35kWh charge in 15 minutes at public charging points, which will usually require investment in a new transformer, to domestic chargers that take around seven hours to provide the same level of charge but often require no network upgrades. 

WPD’s business plan predicts that 217,000 chargers will be connected to its network by 2023 and the company is on course to achieve those volumes. But the faster uptake required to meet the 2040 deadline for banning sales of new petrol and diesel cars translates into more than 3 million EVs in WPD’s area by 2023. 

Factors governing adoption of EVs include price and range but also drivers’ confidence in availability of charging points, particularly in areas where homes do not have off-street parking. 

Local authorities are leading on public EV charging points and last year WPD became the first DNO to hold bespoke EV engagement events for them. 

Domestic cabling is another area affected by the move to EVs and low carbon generation. The change is likely to mean that customers will begin to expect technology such as solar panels, renewable heat systems and faster domestic chargers to be fitted as standard. 

“WPD is already planning ahead,” said Paul. “We do not want today’s purchasers of new properties to be faced with service upgrades in the future because we did not think ahead.” 

More information about WPD’s EV strategy is available at: www.westernpower.co.uk/electric-vehicles

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