Franklin Energy has secured £1.7m of funding from Innovate UK under the Department for Transport’s latest drive to improve on-street electrical vehicle (EV) charging.

Franklin has developed the new fast EV charging system, EnSmartEV, in partnership with Entrust Microgrid, the project lead, based at the University of Lancaster.

Under the scheme, Franklin will trial the technology across two sites in Merseyside through Halton Borough Council from September. This will involve two EnSmartEV charging hubs to enable local residents to have improved access to EV charging as well as support the town centre in having publically accessible EV charging points.

The charging hubs will be able to charge any type of EV – with the ability to charge up to six simultaneously.

Robert Byrne, managing director of Franklin Energy, commented: “This is a ground-breaking scheme that addresses the issues surrounding EV charging in public spaces.

“In order to meet government targets and roll out the drive towards EV ownership, we must have the infrastructure in place that meets the needs of modern life. This technology will provide highly efficient, incredibly low-cost charging solutions.”

Many existing public EV chargers operate using peak power, burning excessive amounts of fossil fuels and are slow when compared to high speed chargers and are therefore considered inefficient. The new EnSmartEV system solution addresses these issues, integrating lithium batteries able to charge EVs with off-peak or low tariff, and offer fast charging.

Physically, the charging post has been developed under a subtle compact design, serving two electric vehicles with multiple uses, such as street/pavement lighting while indicating the status of the charger. The system will be modular and have the ability to charge up to 20kW.

Byrne added: “This project will demonstrate what a huge difference efficient charging will have on existing EV drivers while encouraging others to make the shift to electric when weighing up options and viability. It’s great to be part of this pioneering scheme, and selected as the technology provider of choice, that will undoubtedly set a precedent for the EV UK movement.”

Xiongwei Liu, founder of Entrust Smart Home Microgrid and the EnSmartEV charging technology system, said: “This is game-changing technology. While using battery storage to charge EVs is nothing new, we are able to maximise the use of DC to DC technology which leads to ultra high efficiency and very little corresponding power losses that are inherent in current systems.

“Further, we are able to fast charge up to six EV’s simultaneously with the ability to charge all makes and models of EV. Easy to use and operate, the EnSmartEV will be great for EV users and for the electricity grid network too.

“At the moment, few people are talking about the impact of EVs on the electricity grid, but the reality is that the grid will simply be unable to cope with demand from EV charging. Our solution will ease the burden on the grid and manage electricity loads at peak times.

“We are grateful to Innovate UK for the funding and look forward to working with our partners to deliver the EnSmartEV project in Halton.”