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Project to bring EV smart charging to urban streets

While smart charging is already in use for home charging and at dedicated public EV charging bays, SmartStep claims to be the first demonstration of smart charging in shared parking spaces on residential streets.

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EV drivers want to know they can charge their car near to where they live
EV drivers want to know they can charge their car near to where they live

A consortium of energy industry solution providers has announced a project to deliver electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to residential streets.

 

The project claims to be an “industry first” demonstration of smart charging in shared parking spaces on residential streets enabled by smart meters to integrate seamlessly with the existing electricity network. According to the consortium, this a crucial step towards rolling out the technology needed to accommodate large scale EV deployment.

 

Renewable electricity

 

Led by low carbon energy consultancy, Element Energy, the consortium includes charge point start-up Trojan Energy, renewable electricity provider Octopus Energy, and Landis+Gyr, a global provider of integrated energy management solutions.

 

As part of its Beyond Off-Street programme, the UK Government’s Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently awarded £856,000 funding through its Energy Innovation programme to the Smart Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways (SmartStep) project.

 

SmartStep aims to incorporate smart functionality to the on-street charge points being developed by Trojan Energy.

 

While smart charging is already in use for home charging and at dedicated public EV charging bays, SmartStep will be the first demonstration of smart charging in shared parking spaces on residential streets. This trial will involve charge points slotted into the pavement which will provide access to charging for those that do not have driveways or garages.

“Smart charging is a vital enabler of the EV transition, allowing the fine balancing of both customer needs and electricity network constraints”

“Affordable, accessible and convenient” on-street EV charging is key for decarbonising transport and meeting the government’s climate commitments. Trojan reports prospective EV drivers want to know they can charge their car near to where they live, and its technology aims to facilitate this for the roughly 30 per cent of households that do not have access to off-street parking.

 

While meeting the needs of customers is paramount, effectively integrating EV charging so the grid remains balanced is key to success. Smart charging allows customers to access EV charging when electricity is cheapest by automatically shifting the charging period to overnight, or other times of generally lower electricity demand.

 

This will be crucial to balancing the loads on the local electricity distribution network, especially as more and more intermittent renewable electricity generating capacity such as wind and solar is connected.

 

“Smart charging is a vital enabler of the EV transition, allowing the fine balancing of both customer needs and electricity network constraints.” Whilst already available for drivers who charge at home, smart charging has never been tested in an on-street context before,” said Sarah Clements, project manager from Element Energy.

 

“This is essential for ensuring low cost charging is available to all, and we are proud to be managing this industry first project that will help deliver Great Britain’s interconnected electricity and transport system.”

 

The project is split into two phases: the first involves the design, development and testing of the system. In this phase, already underway, Trojan Energy is working alongside Landis+Gyr and Octopus Energy to develop an effective smart charging system.

“As we roll out our charging technology it is important to be at the cutting edge of what technology allows, as this can bring maximum benefits to our customers”

Using technology pioneered by Landis+Gyr as the major supplier in the national smart meter roll out, the charging system will benefit from advanced SMETS2 functionalities.

 

These smart meters are connected to the national smart metering system that adheres to the highest standard of security, ensuring data privacy for customers, protecting the grid, and supporting seamless switching between energy suppliers. If phase one is successful, the smart charging system will then be trialled.

 

“As we roll out our charging technology it is important to be at the cutting edge of what technology allows, as this can bring maximum benefits to our customers, energy suppliers and delivers maximum value for the UK,” added Ian Mackenzie, managing director of Trojan Energy.

 

“This trial allows us to push our technology further unlocking new billing options and services for EV chargers throughout Great Britain, advancing our lead further in on-street charging technology, and helping drive adoption of EVs throughout all areas of GB.”

 

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