Sales of electric vehicles in the UK are rising and there’s an increasing range of models to choose from, with larger batteries and faster charging times – all of which is helping to reduce emissions and to lower running costs for owners.
The UK electricity grid has sufficient capacity to deliver power to electric vehicles, however if clusters of EVs develop in local areas and they’re all charged at peak times then some local electricity networks may become overloaded.
In a previous project named ‘My Electric Avenue’ monitoring and control technology were tested by recruiting clusters of EV users; all people in a cluster were fed by the same local electricity substation feeder, and just one type of electric vehicle was involved in the project.
The results of the project’s modelling showed that across Britain 32% of supply cables (312,000 in all) will require intervention when 40% – 70% of customers have EVs. Intervention using smart technology, rather than digging up the roads to install new cables, has been predicted to give an economic saving of around £2.2 billion by 2050.
Now, Electric Nation is seeking to recruit between 500-700 people buying or leasing new electric vehicles (including pure electric and plug-in hybrids) to take part in the largest trial of its kind. Trial participants will get a free* smart charger installed.
The findings of the trial will help electricity network operators manage the effect of the additional load caused by charging EVs on the local electricity network whilst allowing electric vehicle numbers to grow.
Ben Godfrey, Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer, WPD, says:
“The Electric Nation project will provide the data, and the real-life experience, to enable us to introduce smart charging to manage potential capacity issues due to clusters of EVs charging at peak times. This is predicted to save around £2.2 billion, as well as helping to avoid disruption to customers.”
Motorists buying or leasing a new electric vehicle are invited to become part of the Electric Nation community. Initially the trial will take place in certain geographical locations, in the South West, South Wales, West & East Midlands.
For more information and to check eligibility visit www.electricnation.org.uk
* Electric Nation will provide a top-up contribution towards a smart charger in addition to any applicable OLEV electric vehicle home charge scheme. Assuming the participant meets all eligibility criteria, the participant will pay £150 initially and this will be reimbursed upon completion of the trial. Trial participants that do not meet all eligibility criteria can still potentially participate in the trial, however there may be additional costs for them to do so. This would be agreed in advance with each individual.