Pod Point is accelerating its expansion into the UK battery storage and grid flexibility services markets following a flurry of new agreements which it hailed as “a step forward in the evolution of our business”.
Among a series of deals confirmed by the UK-based firm last week, Pod Point announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese battery maker Gotion High-Tech, European EV battery startup InoBat, and UK battery tech firm Brill Power.
All four firms have agreed to join forces to share their expertise in battery technology, EV battery research and development (R&D), and battery optimisation, in a bid to develop “a competitive home battery solution for customers”.
Pod Point, which operates the UK’s largest domestic network of EV charging points, said it viewed EV charging as “a strategic and natural entry point” for advancing battery storage solutions, as charging points typically constitute “the most substantial and flexible electricity load” in homes that have a home battery car charger.
On the same day, Pod Point revealed it had secured an agreement with Centrica through which it plans to run a six-month trial aimed at exploring the potential of providing grid flexibility services to the energy giant, either independently or through utility tariffs.
The collaboration is set to focus on the potential for providing flexibility services to the shared customers of Pod Point and Centrica-owned energy supplier British Gas, which it said could enable the firm to optimise its EV charging to help cut household costs and carbon footprints.
Centrica, which boasts some 10 million UK homes and businesses as customers, said it also hoped to benefit from the partnership by gaining further grid flexibility capacity using Pod Point’s EV charging and battery storage management systems to support its virtual power plant ambitions.
Home battery storage technology can be used to power people’s homes or to charge EVs, opening up the potential for significant savings for households that optimise their energy use to avoid periods of peak demand on the wider grid, explained Pod Point’s CEO, Andy Palmer.
He said the flurry of fresh agreements marked a significant step in the firm’s expansion into battery energy storage and flexibility services markets, and a major evolution “of our business and the services we provide to domestic customers”.
“It supports our commitment to providing comprehensive home charging solutions and will help advance the take up of home energy solutions,” he said. “Home batteries will provide our customers with a cost-efficient energy solution while contributing to a more sustainable energy future.”
Grid flexibility is set to be a key focus of Pod Point’s business going forward, he added.
“The trial will allow us to explore opportunities for British Gas customers to benefit from flexibility services that not only enhance cost efficiency but also contribute to reducing carbon emissions,” he said.
Formed in 2009, Pod Point has to date delivered more than 220,000 EV charge points in the UK, and is now majority owned by French energy giant EDF, which snapped up a stake in the firm in a reported £100m deal in 2020.
Last month, Pod Point teamed up with EDF to launch a dedicated EV tariff for the latter’s home energy customers to provide them with cheaper electricity, with a view to further incorporating grid flexibility services into the offering.
Now the two firms plan to further deepen their partnership by exploring “a variety of opportunities that will transform the EV charging landscape and contribute to a more sustainable future”, they said last week.
In a “letter of intent” they have agreed to jointly explore the launch of further EV home energy tariff partnerships, expand opportunities to participate in the UK grid flexibility market, and potentially support Pod Point’s expansion into international markets through EDF’s subsidiaries across Europe.
Pod Point also announced it has extended its partnership with Mercedes-Benz that will see it continue as the German car giant’s preferred home EV charging supply for its entire portfolio of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles until June 2026.
The deal also means that customers who buy a new Mercedes-Benz EV and Pod Point home charger will have access to EDF’s dedicated EV home energy tariff, which it claims is one of the cheapest of its kind in the UK.
“At EDF, we’re determined to help everyone save cash and carbon and transport remains one of the biggest contributors to the UK’s carbon footprint,” said Philippe Commaret, managing director of customers at EDF in the UK. “This new deal with Pod Point will make switching to an EV easier, cheaper, and through increased flexibility services, even greener, ensuring that going green is good for the pocket and the planet.”
In related news, global EV charging company Jolt has expanded its business into the UK for the first time, marking its official launch last week through a partnership with Barnet Council to provide a new network of free, roadside fast-charging stations to battery car drivers in the North London borough.
Work on installing the first chargers through the partnership has already begun, with each providing 7kWh – or around 30 miles – of driving range for 15 minutes of charging time, according to Jolt.
It follows a £2.1m funding grant to the London Borough of Barnet through the government’s Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Pilot Project grant scheme aimed at funding the expansion of on-street charging infrastructure across the country.
John Rainford, Jolt’s UK country manager, said the firm’s aim was to boost the accessibility of EV charging, particularly for drivers without access to home charge points. “Thanks to our partners who are working towards the same ambitious net zero goals, we anticipate accelerated growth and expansion of Jolt’s EV charging infrastructure across the country, he added.
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