University of Hertfordshire

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The NetX project is seeking to address a number of key barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs); the cost of infrastructure, the ease of use of that infrastructure, and the challenging business case for investing in that infrastructure. Solving these facilitates the 'oversupply' of connectors reducing the restriction on EV drivers (or potential EV drivers) who do not have access to off-street parking (and charging).

The current business model for EV charging is based around a margin on the energy sold through the network. This requires a well utilised asset and a high turnover of vehicles. This is in direct conflict with the user experience, as users will often require the parking space for longer than the charging event duration, for example a driver without off-street parking using an on-street charger doesn't want to move their fully charged vehicle at 2am. This tension prevents the investor from maximising the utilisation of their assets and in turn restricts further investment in infrastructure, and other drivers from accessing the chargepoint, both of which inhibits the take-up of EVs.

A key advantage of EVs, is that by leveraging the established electricity grid, we can offer drivers the option to plug in every time they park their vehicles. This however, requires an oversupply of chargepoints, or a vehicle rotation policy. Some technology solutions have arisen around the deployment of mobile chargers linked to a battery. These however, come with the additional overheads required to move and operate the mobile charger.

The NetX solution builds on the existing charger network to increase the number of access points, without requiring the installation of additional chargers, and the associated cost, until energy demand warrants it. Therefore, if the charging demand is reaching the upper limits of a NetX installation, the owner can then install more traditional chargepoints confident in the demand for them, because NetX provides visibility, unlocking a better view of the granularity of demand and type of supply required at each location.

By providing end users multiple connectors from one chargepoint, linked to a smart network, we are able to both offer a significant reduction in the cost of the infrastructure, improve the user experience by removing the need to move a charged vehicle and improve the utilisation (and ROI) of existing and planned assets.

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