National Grid is planning a fleet of superfast charging points for electric vehicles along Britain’s motorways that would feed directly off the electricity transmission network, according to its chief executive.
The UK grid operator is to install super chargers at 50 sites along the country’s motorway network and is in discussions with several government departments and other stakeholders about the proposal to create a “super highway”.
CEO John Pettigrew said, “People are talking about electric vehicles reaching price parity [with conventional cars] in the early to mid-2020s,” adding that the company is examining what needs to be done in terms of upgrading the transmission network and the investment needed to support a full-scale rollout of EVs.
Under the company’s proposal, a series of 350kW super chargers would be installed at 50 strategic sites along the motorway network. These would enable drivers to charge their cars in six to eight minutes and alleviate “range anxiety” about running out of charge.
The scheme would require an investment of between £500m and £1bn, which would be spread across stakeholders or could be levied on drivers in the form of a surcharge equating to about 63p per driver.
Mr Pettigrew was speaking as National Grid reported underlying profits for the past year had risen 4 per cent to £2.68bn, boosted by a strong performance in its North American business.
Fiona Cincotta, Senior Market Analyst at CityIndex told Power Engineering International, “National Grid is doing what utilities should do best: pay a reliable dividend through the good times and the bad.
“Its rising debt load is of some concern. But at 12.3%, the company is generating strong return on equity. Investors can also find reassurance in its upbeat growth guidance for both the short and medium term.
“Stormy weather in the US has put a large dent in the bottom line as expected, though that shouldn’t detract from National Grid’s strategy of shifting more business across the Atlantic. Regulatory uncertainty in the UK looms large, with price caps on the cards, so it’s comforting that the US now accounts for around 49% of operating profit.
“With last months’ GDP data showing the UK economy had a wobble in the first quarter, scope for rapid interest rate rises looks diminished. That should play well for National Grid shares, which still offer a relatively attractive dividend yield.”