Papilio3 solar charger from 3ti fits in a shipping container for quick and easy deployment

Installing EV charging infrastructure can be challenging for businesses. Planning permission, a decent enough supply and the physical installation of charging points makes life difficult in some locations. This is where British firm 3ti has stepped in with its modular, container-based pop-up EV charging hub.

Called the Papilio3, the aim is to make it possible for businesses to quickly and easily deploy charging that doesn’t require planning permission in most instances, is self-contained and also flexible. It is also a world-first according to 3ti.

The structure itself is a bit like those innovations you sometimes see on shows like Grand Designs or Amazing Spaces, being hewn from recycled shipping containers. This is beneficial as it means the hub is a standard size and can be easily transported to and from locations where it is required.

Cannily designed to be space-efficient, the system incorporates up to 12 charging points which are fed by an in-built battery of up to 250kWh. This is topped up by three modular solar canopies with 36 individual panels, as well as being capable of being plugged into the grid, albeit without the requirement for any local – expensive – upgrades to be carried out.

Through this combination, up to 30 per cent of the hub’s power is derived from solar and the remainder is drawn from the grid overnight, charging the on-site battery ready to charge EVs the next day.

Speaking of charging, 3ti has built the system as a destination charger with long dwell times in mind. Echoing the sentiments of Chris Pateman-Jones of Connected Kerb, 3ti founder and CEO, Tim Evans reckons it’s a better solution for many people: “By utilising dwell times of several hours, when cars are parked at work or when the driver is visiting a shopping or leisure venue, for example, 3ti’s system ensures that EVs can achieve a level of charge that covers day to day driving needs and does it in the most low carbon way.”

Charging can be carried out at up to 22kW via the Papilio3, albeit 7kW and 11kW are far more likely to be useful for office or leisure-based charging where EVs will be sitting for several hours. 3ti’s technical officer, Mark Potter, also points out the potential of such charging technologies to be part of a solution for people who can’t conveniently charge at home: “If you can’t charge at home, it’s best to charge when you arrive at where you’re going. Cars are parked 95 per cent of their time – that’s when and where they should be charged. Destination and workplace charging is a more sustainable option, better value and more much more convenient (than rapid charging).”

The first deployment of the new system will be at Surrey Research Park in Guildford, which is owned by the University of Surrey and serves around 4500 staff. It is hoped that this initial test of the system will prove its worth and help fuel a crowdfunding campaign to put the Papilio3 into full production. The company’s aim is for up to 12 units to be in operation by the autumn, with each customer paying a rental fee rather than purchasing the unit outright.

Discover EV’s thoughts

What the team at 3ti has come up with is a neat solution to an ongoing problem. We can see it working as a short-term answer for some businesses and locations where there isn’t a good enough supply for a more traditional permanent solution. In the long-term, however, we think that most places will opt for a hard installation. Where we can see the Papilio3 carving a niche is in the events business. Think about something like the Goodwood Festival of Speed; if they dropped two or three units at a multi-day, car-heavy event like that where local charging is at a premium, it would be a huge boon for EV drivers and the event itself.

#ev-charging #charging-infrastructure #electric-vehicles

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