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L-charge is planning to bring its mobile superchargers to London in 2022. The Russian company will be hoping to take advantage of the growing EV market and benefit from the limited charging infrastructure that exists in the capital. The start-up’s truck-mounted chargers run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen or a mixture of the two and do not need to be connected to a power grid.
L-charge founder Dmitry Lashin has claimed the company runs the world’s only mobile supercharger using LNG/hydrogen, which it operates in Moscow, where it receives five to six charging requests a day from the city’s 1,000 EVs.
While the green plans may seem appealing, the reliance on Russian gas to power the vehicles may present an issue.
That’s because we have already seen what Russia is capable of when it comes to denying gas to the West.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been diverting gas flow to the East through pipelines which usually transit gas additional volumes Westward.
Many analysts claim he has done so in the hope to speed up the certification on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will transit gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing Poland and Ukraine, once it is up and running.
But the pipeline has been hit with delays and last month, it had its certification suspended by German regulators.
Russia’s state-owned gas conglomerate, Gazprom, and Mr Putin have claimed that Nord Stream 2 would be able to ramp up Europe’s gas supplies and would ease pressure on prices.
Their comments came after gas prices soared to record highs across the bloc, and even in the UK, as a result of the diversion of gas flows that took place last week.
This is why some may find a reliance on Russian gas to charge EV’s in London a worrying prospect.
Anas Alhaji, an energy markets expert, wrote on Twitter in response to the news about L-charge: “Future of Europe?
“1- Dependence on Russian gas to generate electricity to charge EVs.
“2 – Or charge EVs with electricity generated from renewable energy owned by international oil companies
“3 – Or charge using chargers owned by Russia!”
But there certainly is an appetite in the UK to expand its existing infrastructure, particularly since the Government has pledged to ban the sale of petrol and diesel by 2030.
And globally, EV sales have risen but their growing demand has not seemed to be accompanied by a boost to the infrastructure they require.
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Back in July 2021, WhichEV reported that the UK had around 25,000 charging points for EVs.
While there is still uncertainty forecasts suggest more than 10 times this amount will be needed by 2030, according to WhichEV.
Mr Lashin said his privately-owned L-charge raised $1.5million (£1.12million) in September and is seeking a partner to help it increase production to 2,000 mobile and stationary devices annually.
The company is also reportedly close to finishing production of two other superchargers.
While the LNG-powered chargers emit three times less CO2 per 100 kilometres than diesel cars, but more than grid-connected chargers in Europe, where L-charge intends to launch after London.
Britain currently has around 705,000 plug-in vehicles, 365,000 of which are fully electric, the ZAP-MAP platform for electric car drivers shows.
Of the 28,000 public charging devices, more than 9,000 are in Greater London.
But L-charge is not the only company planning to make its mark in Britian.
Back in March, InstaVolt documented its record number of charging activations, installing an additional 62 rapid chargers throughout the UK one month.
It plans for 5,000 chargers to be installed by 2025.
And last month, EV charging specialist Connected Kerb announced plans to deploy 190,000 EV chargers by 2030 as part of a £1.9billion rollout to “level up” access to EV charging in the UK.
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