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The power of copper in electric vehicles

Schneider Electric EV charging point and Tesla at Metelec head office

The global shift to electric vehicles (EVs) is gathering pace – and copper has an extremely important role to play.

EVs now make up 16% of the UK car market, making it a leader in Europe where the overall average is 13%.

In line with that trend, last month the UK announced it had passed the 50,000 landmark for public EV chargers, a 44% increase on the same time last year.

It’s a significant step towards the ambitious goal of 300,000 public EV chargers by 2030.

Huge investment is ongoing with £2bn already spent – and the next goal will be to introduce ultra-rapid chargers with increased electrical network capacity.

Copper is likely to be the conductor material of choice and Metelec is well placed to provide busbar solutions for higher voltage application and faster charging systems.

The total amount of copper used in a typical battery EV is around 83kg – around four-times that used in a standard internal combustion engine. Much of this copper is found in the induction motors and high voltage connections. It’s predicted that by 2040, EVs will consume more than 3.7 million tonnes of copper every year.

Metelec is making a significant contribution in EV charging infrastructure by supplying and developing the copper busbar solutions used in charging station feeder pillars and within the switchgear and transformer systems necessary at the charging station/grid interface.

This is an incredibly fast moving area as engineers are constantly coming up with new ways to get power from the grid and into vehicles smoothly and more efficiently, providing faster charging for the consumer.

As a supply chain solutions partner, this is where Metelec can make the difference. We can support our customers with their innovation by providing prototypes very quickly and cost effectively, allowing them to test their ideas in the real world before roll-out. As the product requirements change, we are able to adapt and react.

It’s a very dynamic supply chain as there are so many variables. The planning permission process for charging stations, for example, can be delayed, then all of sudden it is granted and product is required quickly. We ensure we have constant communication and account management for all of our clients and a supply chain that can react so that we can provide what is required, when it is required.

We have one of the most comprehensive stock ranges in the country but, not only that, we have a demand planning capability linked into our capacity reservation system with our suppliers looking four to eight weeks ahead – and we’re constantly working with our customers to optimise inventory.

Our management team – MD Kevin Draper, Operations Director Steve Dove and Sales Director Nigel Evans – have considerable supply chain management experience in demanding automotive, aerospace and construction markets.

This experience is being well utilised to provide solutions to our electrical manufacturing, system integrators and installation customers where we see significant growth and demand planning challenges as the widescale electrification and green energy transition gathers momentum. Our partnership approach aims to add more value to our customer relationships through stock availability, responsiveness and provision of manufactured product solutions ready to assemble JIT.

Electric Vehicles are set to grow significantly over the next decade – and huge investment is being made to expand the charging infrastructure. At Metelec, we are committed to playing a key role in Britain’s electric future.

This includes the infrastructure we are building at our new state-of- the-art Manufacturing and Distribution Centre in Wolverhampton. Last month we installed our first four Schneider Electric charging units, all future proofed for the next generation data management to integrate into micro-grid renewables solution for achieving low/zero carbon manufacturing and distribution.

We have infrastructure ready to run all necessary cables for up to another 45 units for our employees and we are assessing feasibility for electric delivery trucks. Our all-electric company car fleet will take immediate advantage of this installation.

Can we help? Get in touch today for an initial conversation.