In 1977, Finland’s Kemppi Group introduced the world’s first inverter-based DC power source, making it one of the pioneers of DC technology.
The Group initially founded Kempower in the 1990s. However, in 2009 the business ceased, with the technical team moving to work in the research department of Kemppi on new business areas, including EV charging. After several studies and pilot projects, the Kemppi Group decided to restart Kempower in 2017 as an independent company with a sole focus on EV charging.
On this week’s Mobility Moments, we talk to Kempower’s CEO, Tomi Ristimäki, about its modular EV charging technology, and a recently announced partnership with the UK’s Osprey Charging.
Describe the Kempower EV charging system and its key benefits.
Our rapid EV charging solutions are designed to perform in even the most demanding conditions. They are also suitable for all areas of transportation, from personal cars and commercial vehicles to heavy-duty machines, boats and motorsports.
Key benefits of our technology include its modularity, which means that standardised building blocks can be used across our entire product range, enabling EV charging providers to create various types of chargers and charging systems. Our technology is also scalable, so our customers can make smaller initial investments and add additional power upgrade modules later on as their business grows.
Furthermore, our native IoT chargers can be updated remotely and in real-time, reassuring our customers that their chosen solutions are futureproofed and cloud-connected at all times.
The time of standalone EV chargers is over. While these were a good solution at the beginning of the EV transformation when EVs weren’t as popular, scalable solutions are crucial as EV growth increases.
How can the technology used to help get rid of range anxiety for car owners?
Our DC fast-charging EV solutions are developed and manufactured by EV drivers and ready to scale as the number of EV users increases.
As EV technology matures and infrastructure expands, the industry is moving on from overcoming range anxiety to tackling charging queue anxiety. This is the fear of encountering hard to use, unreliable or unavailable charging infrastructure and is a significant concern for EV drivers and a key barrier to greater adoption. Our charging solutions help solve this challenge by offering multiple outlets, ensuring EV drivers can turn up and charge without having to wait for a charger to be available, effectively and quickly meeting their needs.
This is the future of EV charging, given the considerable number of personal vehicles and EV fleets expected to be on our roads sooner rather than later.
How can it be used for commercial vehicles and fleet owners?
Our chargers work together to optimise charging across multiple vehicles when more than one EV is plugged in at the same charging hub. They allow power to be distributed based on demand, which varies significantly between individual vehicles due to the maximum charging rate of each model and its battery percentage at the point of charge. Essentially, we can guarantee that every vehicle receives as much charge as it needs before embarking on a journey.
Our true dynamic technology also optimises grid connections, allowing multiple high-power chargers to be installed at one site and offering higher charging speeds without the need for more grid power.
While charging sites need to be larger for commercial vehicles and fleet owners, space at facilities such as bus depots is usually incredibly limited. To avoid the cost of redesigning existing sites or constructing new ones, charging solutions must fit into existing facilities. Our satellite solution features a slim design and offers the best power to footprint ratio on today’s fast-charging market.
The output of each charging pole can be up to 300kW, which is considerably higher than a standard charging pole of the same size. Therefore, the poles can be arranged in a formation where they take as little space as possible while charging. This smaller footprint allows room for more chargers to be installed, improves accessibility and reduces their visual impact. We are currently exploring new solutions that will further reduce the impact of charging on fleets.
What extreme environments has the system been tested in?
Our chargers are already installed in pretty much any harsh environment you can imagine, from construction sites and nearby the sea to 1km underground in mines. They are also being used in hot climates such as Chile, Australia and Mexico, as well as cold environments such as Scandinavia.
For instance, what will be the biggest bus depot above the arctic circle is currently under construction in Norway, and our chargers will be used to provide power to the fleet of buses based there. We draw upon our history and experience of welding equipment to protect our chargers and electronics.
We also provide charging facilities for the Extreme E off-road championship, which is pretty much extreme as it gets! The series sees electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world that have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues to shine a spotlight on the climate crisis and inspire change.
Describe your new partnership with Osprey Charging in the UK.
We’ve been chosen by Osprey Charging to provide our fast-charging technology at over 150 high-powered EV charging hubs that will open across the UK by 2025. A total of 1,500 of our 150kW rapid chargers will be installed across the sites, which will be located on strategic A-roads and adjacent to motorways.
The £75 million rollout will see our charger optimisation technology deployed publicly for the first time in the UK. This technology has the potential to revolutionise EV charging in the UK by intelligently load balancing to maximise the amount of charge that each vehicle receives, increasing the speed and availability of chargers for drivers and boosting consumer footfall for the landowners hosting the hubs.
We’re thrilled to launch our EV charging solutions in the UK with Osprey Charging, a frontrunner in deploying EV charging technology and enhancing the experience for drivers. The UK is one of Europe’s fastest-growing EV markets, and we have the technology and expertise to further accelerate this shift.
What’s next for Kempower?
We expect to quickly rollout our technology and establish ourselves across the UK and whole of continental Europe. We’ve also formed subsidiaries in the Netherlands and Germany to boost our presence in those countries. Next year we’ll be specifically targeting market entry in France too.
What will EV charging look like by 2030?
By 2030, everybody will have forgotten that you once had to actively find somewhere to charge your EV. Chargers will be available wherever you are, with service providers such as supermarkets and restaurants offering fast charging solutions to customers. However, charging speeds won’t have increased, as we need to strike a balance between the needs of drivers and these service providers, who want people to stay around and use their facilities for as long as possible.
Additionally, gas stations will be transformed to service centres, providing various services for EV drivers. Slow AC charging will also be a standard feature for every household, workplace and local parking facility, rather than an exception.