Smart Transport

Pop-up solar-powered electric vehicle charging hub unveiled

3ti pop up solar charging hub

The company behind a new pop-up, solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging hub says it will help tackle the UK’s need to expand EV infrastructure ahead of the Government’s ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles in 2030. 

Called Papilio3, the unit is built around a recycled shipping container and is deployable in just 24 hours. It can support up to 12 EV charge points.

The solar and battery-boosted charging system optimises the speed of charge and reduces the carbon intensity of electricity used.

Papilio3 is available from 3ti, which is funder and operator of Solar Car Parks (SCPs), on a rental contract.

“Overnight charging at home generally provides the most cost effective, carbon efficient, sustainable form of EV charging, but in the UK, around 50% of households will not be able to do this,” said Tim Evans, 3ti founder and CEO.

“If you live in a flat, a tower block, a rented house, in temporary accommodation or even in a £10m terraced town house in Chelsea, you’re probably not going to be able to charge an EV at home.   

“We believe that solar and battery boosted destination and workplace charging will become the best EV charging solution for drivers, irrespective of the type of home they live in.

“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.”

Papilio3 is fitted with three modular canopies that support 36 solar panels and has battery storage capacity of up to 250 kWh.

It has been developed by 3ti with Cambridge Design Partners and has been designed for roll-out at workplaces and public destinations such as hospitals, hotels, meeting venues, sports or shopping centres, tourist attractions and town centres.

Each unit offers sheltered, illuminated and an EV charging experience that supports a mixture of 7, 11 and 22 kilowatts.

Evans said: “Widespread adoption of SCPs will turn underutilised spaces into renewable energy generating assets and adding batteries and EV charge points will accelerate decarbonisation of the UK’s transport sector.

“Allowing businesses to generate renewable energy right outside their front door not only gives them greater control of energy costs, it also makes a huge statement to customers and visitors that they are serious about tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions.”

The pop-up EV charging hub was unveiled at the Surrey Research Park, Guildford, home to more than 200 businesses, from newly formed start-ups to global corporates such as Airbus and BAE Systems.

Owned by the University of Surrey, the Research Park businesses employ more than 4,500 staff and was the preferred locational choice because of the park’s client base, its growing cluster of companies working on sustainability and the deep links with the University of Surrey. 

Grant Bourhill, chief executive officer at Surrey Research Park, said: “The roll out of Papilio3 reflects our commitment to sustainability in addition to testing new innovation and supporting business growth.

“The University of Surrey has recently improved its position to 55th in the global sustainability rankings of over 1400 institutions, and the work with 3ti is yet another example of our sustainability commitment.”

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