Smart charging is due to be mandated in the government’s Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill
The Electric Nation project has installed its final smart charger as part of its trial with electric vehicle (EV) owners.
Electric Nation, one of Western Power Distribution’s (WPD) innovation projects, with collaboration partners EA Technology, DriveElectric, Lucy Electric GridKey and TRL, said it has met its recruitment targets, with more than 40 different makes and models of EVs taking part, installing 673 domestic smart chargers.
The final smart charger installation is the result of more than two years’ effort for the Electric Nation team, in particular DriveElectric, the partner that has been leading the recruitment for the trial since late 2016.
The project will now be assessing the smart charging technology and feedback from trial participants.
“The high level of interest that we’ve received from EV drivers to be participants in Electric Nation has reinforced the view that we’re now at a tipping point with EVs,” said Mike Potter, managing director of DriveElectric.
“In the next two years we’re likely to see a significant rise in the numbers of EVs on our roads, so it’s all the more important that our Electric Nation participants are engaging with us so enthusiastically to trial smart charging in advance of an expected roll-out of such technology nationwide.
This milestone for the Electric Nation project was reached at the same time that the UK Government published its Road to Zero strategy, which lays out a roadmap for increased EV adoption. Plans for higher and faster levels of EV uptake are likely to lead to challenges with the capacity of local electricity networks at peak electricity demand times – smart charging can provide a solution to this problem.
Smart charging is also due to be mandated in the government’s ‘Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill’ which has now passed through Parliament. This could enable a wide range of services that could reduce the overall cost of charging for EV drivers who predominantly charge at home and also enable local network protection at the same time.
Electric Nation’s initial findings show that on average, vehicles are plugged in for 12 hours, but they are rarely charging for the full time. This suggests that there is likely to be sufficient flexibility to manage charging away from peak electricity demand periods. This will be explored in more detail as the trial continues during the remainder of 2018.
One of the final smart charger installs was for Sunny Vara (pictured), who had a charger fitted to coincide with taking delivery of a new Tesla. “I’m looking forward to finding out what we can learn from the data generated by the project, as well as discovering the cost savings from running an electric car compared with having to visit a fuel station to fill up with petrol,” said Vara.
“I am very pleased that the Electric Nation team has met this important milestone,” added Mark Dale, innovation project manager, WPD. “We are really looking forward to gaining a better understanding of how smart charging works, and how customers feel about it, in the real world.”
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