Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service: Case Study
Pod Point installed a mixture of fast and rapid chargers for electric emergency response vehicles at Carmarthen Fire Station in Wales.
Last updated: Oct 12, 2023 • 5 min read
In July 2023, Pod Point installed EV chargepoints at Carmarthen Fire Station for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS).
MAWWFRS provides emergency response cover for almost two-thirds of Wales.
As their fleet of electric emergency response vehicles began to grow, MAWWFRS reached out to Pod Point to install the infrastructure to support it.
After initial consultations to understand how the fleet operates, it was agreed that a combination of AC and DC charging was needed.
With a large, 33,000 volt substation next door to the site, consideration had to be taken on a number of arrangements to do with earthing, as well as hot and cold systems.
In total, two 150kW rapid chargepoints and two 22kW Twin chargepoints were installed on the site, providing charging for up to eight vehicles at any one time.
The system allows for future expansion, which is a key factor for MAWWFRS.
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is responsible for providing public safety information, prevention and protection programmes, and emergency response cover for mid and west Wales. The service employs over 1,350 members of staff and covers almost 12,000 square kilometres - nearly two-thirds of Wales.
Building on a strong existing relationship of over three years, MAWWFRS approached Pod Point to install new EV charging infrastructure, to support their growing fleet of electric emergency response vehicles.
MAWWFRS were motivated to move to electric after trialling low kilowatt infrastructure across their site. Looking ahead to the future, they knew that in order to introduce a larger electric fleet, they needed the infrastructure in place to support it.
MAWWFRS approached Pod Point in February 2022, with a desire to install EV charging infrastructure at two separate emergency response stations in Wales. After conducting site surveys, further consideration and ideas sharing between Pod Point and MAWWFRS, a decision was made to condense the project into a single installation at MAWWFRS Headquarters in Carmarthen.
Ahead of the installation, consideration had to be given to the site as a whole, which sits next door to a 33,000 volt substation. Pod Point engineers wanted to maximise the power output from the substation in order to supply the necessary power for the charging infrastructure, while also maintaining appropriate safety features.
After surveying the site, Pod Point engineers found that some groundworks were required to run the necessary cabling and ducting from the substation to the chargepoints. Additional safety features would also be required to properly manage the power output from the substation. Our electrical engineers proposed installing a specific type of electrical switchgear with built-in safety features, as well as a bespoke enclosure for the switchgear to sit inside.
This was a technical installation with a lot of moving parts. Alongside Pod Point and MAWWFRS teams, also on the site at any one time was National Grid, Tritium, EDF and Pod Point’s groundworkers subcontractor Fernmac. It was important for all contractors and subcontractors to liaise with one another effectively to ensure the installation ran smoothly and on schedule.
After consulting with MAWWFRS to understand how its electrical fleet operates and what their plans for future expansion were, it was agreed that a combination of AC and DC charging was needed. Two 150kW rapid chargepoints and two 22kW Twin chargepoints were installed on the site, providing charging for up to eight vehicles at any one time. The chargepoints are set up on Pod Point’s Site Management Service, which allows MAWWFRS to review their chargepoint information in one place, track activity and usage and track CO2 emissions avoided.
To maximise the power output from the power substation next door to the site, the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) planned to install a TT earthing system. A TT earthing system would have required a specialised Type B time-delayed residual current device (RCB). However, the type of RCB required is not available on the market, so to avoid time delays and increased costs, Pod Pod electrical engineers suggested installing a TNS earth system instead. This system reduced the need for MAWWFRS to seek out a specially manufactured part at a high cost and kept the installation simpler and on time.
Groundworks were undertaken by Pod Point’s subcontractor, Fernmac, with the cooperation of MAWWFRS. Fernmac excavated an area of the site’s car park, to allow Pod Point teams to install the necessary ducting to run supply cabling between the chargepoints and an electrical switchgear. A Proteus switchgear was inserted into the enclosure, which incorporates a variety of safety features like an emergency stop lever.
A bespoke enclosure for the switchgear was designed collaboratively by MAWWFRS and an architect, in coordination with Pod Point engineers and Fernmac. This collaborative approach ensured the enclosure suited the technical needs of the site and that cable ducting was aligned.
In total, two 150kW rapid chargepoints and two 22kW Twin chargepoints were installed at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service HQ in Carmarthen, further strengthening an already established three year relationship between Pod Point and MAWWFRS.
MAWWFRS now has the capability to charge up to eight emergency response vehicles at any one time, with scope to accommodate their expanding fleet in the future.
Huw Davies, MAWWFRS Head of Estates, said:
"We are pleased to have worked with Pod Point to install these new EV chargepoints at our Service Headquarters and Carmarthen Fire Station site.
“Not only will these allow us to charge our emergency response and support fleet EVs, they will also assist the Service in our efforts to work towards our environmental objectives and to reduce our impact on the environment. They will also be an important part of our goal to achieve Net Zero Carbon Status by 2030, aligning with the Welsh Government’s plan for the decarbonisation across the Welsh public sector.”