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UK-based InstaVolt Deploys the Next Generation of ChargePoint Ultra-Fast EV Chargers

UK-based InstaVolt Deploys the Next Generation of ChargePoint Ultra-Fast EV Chargers

Author: Eric Walz   

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers in the UK are about to get access to faster electric vehicle charging from one of the country's most popular charging networks.

UK-based InstaVolt is starting to install new ChargePoint Express 250 high-powered chargers, capable of charging at rates up to 125kW. The first station was installed in Basingstoke, Hampshire. New stations will follow across the UK throughout the summer.

Backed by a $14.5 million (12M GPB) equity investment by private equity firm Zouk Capital, InstaVolt became the country's largest owner-operated network of rapid DC electric vehicle chargers in the UK when it began construction on its 400th rapid charger last month.

One of the primary concerns for drivers of electric vehicles is the time it takes to charge with most of the current EV charging infrastructure. A Tesla Model S for example, could take up to ten hours to reach full charge using the standard NEMA 5-15 charger that comes with the vehicle.

The NEMA 5-15 charger for Tesla models plugs into a standard wall outlet, and is the slowest type of Tesla EV charger available. It offers about 3 miles of range per hour of charging. Charging at a Tesla Supercharger usually takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more depending on the charger and the vehicle.

However, commercial EV charging infrastructure is steadily improving and a new crop of EV's from European automakers are being introduced that accept a higher charging rate. Tesla said next-generation V3 Superchargers can provide 75 miles of range to a Tesla Model 3 in just 5 minutes.

The rapid chargers InstaVolt is installing have the potential to cut charging times in half for drivers and can add 125 miles of range in just 15 minutes, providing that the vehicle's battery can accept a higher charging rate. 

Adrian Keen, Chief Financial Officer at InstaVolt, said in a statement, "This technology has the potential to halve charging time for some of our users, which is incredibly exciting. The electric vehicle space is moving at lightning pace and we're constantly working to ensure we're prepared for the EVs of the future."

InstaVolt is among the first companies in the UK to offer EV drivers charging speeds of up to 125kW.

ChargePoint is InstaVolt's technology partner and operates the world's largest electric vehicle charging network. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the company designs, develops, manufactures and supports all of the technology that powers InstaVolt's UK network. All of InstaVolt's chargers are ChargePoint rapid DC chargers.

Christopher Burghardt, Managing Director, Europe at ChargePoint, said in a statement, "ChargePoint is committed to creating the new fueling network to move all people and goods on electricity and we are delighted that InstaVolt is continuing to lead the way in making this a reality in the UK. ChargePoint's ultra rapid charging solution not only meets the demands of all current EV drivers, but is prepped to surpass the needs of the next generation of EVs with ever increasing battery size and range."

The new charging technology is expected to be highly popular with drivers of larger battery EVs just starting to hit the marketing including the fully-electric Mercedes Benz EQC, Jaguar I-PACE and Audi e-tron which are capable of charging at up to 110kW, 100kW and 150kW respectively.

Shared Power Charges Two EVs at Once

The ChargePoint Express 250 chargers can share power between two stations to better address the energy requirements of electric vehicles. In a paired configuration, the Express 250 can charge two vehicles at the same time.

The stations, which can be upgraded to deliver even faster rates of charging as battery technology evolves, use high efficiency power conversion to reduce electricity costs and wasted energy. All delivered electricity comes from 100% renewable sources, according to InstaVolt.

InstaVolt also makes it easy for drivers to pay for a charging session. Drivers can pay by simply tapping their contactless credit or debit card. InstaVolt was the first company in the UK to launch as a ‘fully open' tap to pay network, meaning drivers don't require a subscription, monthly membership or RFID card to pay. 

InstaVolt is one of the UK's favourite rapid charging networks. In a Zap-Map survey last year, the company was named as the top public network that can be used by multiple brands of electric vehicles. InstaVolt received particular praise for its ease of use.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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