October 18, 2018 / 11:06 PM / a month ago

Britain’s Pivot Power to build $33 million battery, EV charging hub near M6 motorway

(The Oct. 18 story corrects the fourth paragraph to show the battery will become operational in Oct. 2019, not the charging hub)

By Susanna Twidale

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Pivot Power will build a 25 million pound ($33 million) large-scale battery and electric vehicle (EV) supercharging hub in the north of England, close to the M6, the country’s longest motorway, it said on Friday.

Britain plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 as a part of efforts to meet its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.

The UK currently has about 16,500 charging points but will need this to increase to at least 100,000 by 2020 to accommodate new EVs coming to the roads over the same period, a report from UK-based data company Emu Analytics said in May.

Planning permission for the 50 megawatt (MW) battery has been granted and it is scheduled to open in Carlisle in October 2019, Michael Clark, Pivot Power chief technology officer told Reuters.

The company will file a separate planning application for the EV charging site at a later date, it said.

The Carlisle site is the second hub announced by the company, which plans to build a 1.6 billion pound network across Britain comprising of 45 large scale battery and EV charging sites within the next five years.

Pivot Power is already developing a similar site near Southampton in the South of England.

Electric vehicles currently only make up a small fraction of the vehicles on Britain’s roads and Clark expects the majority of revenues to initially come from electricity balancing services which the batteries will provide to Britain’s National Grid.

“It is important for us not to rely on retail customers initially. The batteries will be earning their keep from day one,” Clark said.

UK-based investment manager Downing LLP has provided financial support for the initial phase of the project and plans to provide further funding as the roll out of rapid charging stations progresses, Clark said, without giving details.

($1 = 0.7634 pounds)

Reporting By Susanna Twidale; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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