EDF Energy is whipping up a storm of innovation for electric vehicles



London’s charge point upgrade will be a lasting legacy

THE atmosphere will be electric when the world’s greatest athletes compete at London’s Olympic Games over the coming weeks. But the power needed to stage the greatest show on earth has to come from somewhere, and responsibility for this falls on the shoulders of EDF Energy – official partner and the official electricity supplier of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

EDF Energy will be powering the Olympic venues, as well as supplying energy to light up two of London’s most iconic landmarks: The nineteenth-century Tower Bridge, and the twenty-first-century London Eye.

Gareth Wynn, group director of the Olympic & Paralympic programme at EDF, explains that there are three dimensions to the company’s involvement with the Games. The first dimension is to transmit a clear brand message. And that message is low carbon – the Games will be run on 80 per cent nuclear and 20 per cent renewables. The second dimension is employee engagement, and the third is the development and showcasing of the company’s technology.

Part of this innovation can be seen in EDF Energy’s support beyond the event spaces and landmarks. Wynn explains that EDF Energy decided to use the Olympics to give a “boost to electric vehicles”, noting that forecasters expect we will have 600,000 electric vehicles on our roads as early as 2020. As such, 120 charge points have been installed in five key locations in East London where they will be used by the Olympic fleet during Games. And after the Games, the charge points will become part of the Source London network, benefiting all electric car drivers in the capital. Mayor Boris Johnson is committed to increasing the network to 1,300 points by 2013, which would give London more charge points than petrol stations.

LOCOG is running 200 electric BMWs. EDF Energy had to ensure that the local electricity network wasn’t destabilised when as many as 30 vehicles are charging simultaneously at a single location. “Never before has a public electric vehicle charging network been installed in this density in the UK before,” said Wynn. “By finding a fast, effective and safe way of simultaneously charging in the same location, we have made another significant step forward in making electric vehicles an attractive low carbon alternative to traditional motoring.” Wynn believes this is an investment in the future: “Our innovative solution to recharging will not only help keep the entire Olympic fleet of electric vehicles charged up during Games time, but could also provide a valuable insight into how electric vehicles could be used on a mass scale in future.”

EDF Energy has put electric vehicles on their marks. It’s full throttle ahead.