Initially, the £41m Superhub will feature 38 fast and ultra-rapid chargers, with up to 10MW on site, making it the most powerful charging hub in Europe. Speeds of up to 300kW will be available, with further charging infrastructure catering for as little as 7kW and also including 250kW Tesla Superchargers.
The site will become a key feature on the UK’s ever-increasing (and much needed) network of strategic, ultra-rapid charging sites which are critical for the estimated 36 million EVs estimated to be on our roads by 2040.
Oxford’s location, as an important city in its own right as well as a popular stopping point between London and the Midlands, makes it a natural location for such a hub. The site at Redbridge Park & Ride also has the benefit of being directly connected to the UK’s high voltage national grid. This removes the potential for strain on the local grid as well as negating the need for expensive upgrades (something critical in the roll-out of strategic rapid charging).
Integration into the grid is being facilitated by Pivot Power – part of EDF Renewables – and the site is due to draw all of its energy from renewable sources. Solar roofs for the charging stations and facilities (such as a café and shops) help top-up the renewables being fed into the on-site batteries.
In terms of charging availability, Fastned will initially install ten 300kW ultra-rapid chargers. These will be supplemented by 7-22kW fast chargers installed by Wenea, and 12 250kW Tesla Superchargers to cater specifically for Tesla owners. This mix will allow any EV to use the site, 24/7, with contactless payments ensuring that the rigmarole of finding and installing the right app is avoided.
The Energy Superhub Oxford is due to open later this year and will save around 10,000 tonnes of CO2 initially, and up to 25,000 tonnes by 2032.
Whilst supporting the transition to EVs by the public, businesses and local government is the primary purpose of the ESO, it is also a significant part of a bigger project. Oxford is aiming to be a zero-carbon city by 2040 or earlier – acting on its declaration of a climate emergency, unlike many councils which are yet to pay anything but lip service to the climate crisis.
Oxford City Council is working with a consortium of companies not only to deliver the ESO, but also to install 100 ground source heat pumps and grid-scale battery storage. The ESO itself is connected to the grid through a 50MW hybrid battery which can make the most of the availability of renewables.
Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford at Oxford City Council, said: "For Oxford to go zero carbon by 2040, we need to electrify a lot more of our transportation. As an innovative city embracing technologies and change, Oxford is the natural home for the UK's largest public EV charging hub. We are excited to be taking a major step forward in the completion of Energy Superhub Oxford.”
Pivot Power, part of EDF, is also taking the Energy Superhub concept to other parts of the UK with 40 sites in development. According to Matt Allen, CEO at Pivot Power: “Oxford is one of 40 sites we are developing across the UK, combining up to 2GW of battery storage with high volume power connections for mass EV charging. Energy Superhub Oxford supports EDF’s plan to become Europe’s leading e-mobility energy company by 2023, and is a blueprint we want to replicate right across the country.”