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Project to reveal EV smart charging benefits
© paulbr75

Project to reveal EV smart charging benefits

06/09/17Science & Technology

The UK’s Electric Nation project is to reveal its initial findings which show that smart charging can provide a solution to the electricity demand from increasing numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) on networks.

Recent reports have responded to the government’s announcement regarding the ban of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, raising concerns about the ability of the UK’s electricity networks in order to provide sufficient power for increasing numbers of EVs.

National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios (FES) included a number of scenarios which estimated the additional system-wide peak electricity demand from EVs would range from six to 18GW in 2050.

Electric Nation is investigating the benefits which smart charging could provide for local electricity networks, where additional demand from local clusters of EVs could require reinforcement of these networks.

Its initial findings to be presented at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event (LCV2017) are based on almost 70,000 hours of charging data, and show that 48% of plug-in events begin between 5pm and midnight. On average, these vehicles are plugged in for 12 hours, but are charging for just over two hours. This suggests that there is likely to be sufficient flexibility to manage charging away from peak electricity demand periods.

Electric Nation, one of Western Power Distribution’s (WPD) innovation projects, with collaboration partners EA Technology, DriveElectric, Lucy Electric GridKey and Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), is believed to be the world’s largest trial of its kind.

Mark Dale, innovation manager of Western Power Distribution, said: “The UK Government is looking to mandate smart charging, and the Electric Nation project is providing evidence about whether it will work.

“Research shows that at least 30% of Britain’s low voltage networks are likely to require investment by 2050 to charge EVs, costing at least £2.2bn (~€2.4bn). Our early findings suggest that smart charging could reduce, delay or avoid the need to upgrade or replace these networks.”

Pan European Networks Ltd