Electric Nation was represented on the Western Power Distribution stand at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) 2018 event which took place at Millbrook Proving Ground on 12-13 September, and Nick Storer gave a presentation about the project in the ‘E-Mobility Learning from Large Scale Projects for Transport’ session.
Smart charging, as being trialled by the Electric Nation project, was especially relevant at the LCV2018 event because the technology that could support it in the future is being mandated in the government’s Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill.
There was lots of interest in Electric Nation, with a steady stream of visitors to the stand wanting to find out more about the project, what smart charging is, why it is needed, and to find out more about preliminary results from the trial.
Nick Storer, Electric Nation’s Project Manager, explained in his presentation how increasing numbers of electric vehicles in the coming years could place strain on local electricity networks, and in some instances, why the networks may require upgrading. Ultimately this might lead to electricity cables under local roads having to be replaced, requiring roads to be dug up, with potential disruption and cost implications. Smart charging could provide an alternative solution to this problem.
Nick explained how the Electric Nation project was trialling EV smart charging (demand management) systems with trial participants, and preliminary results so far suggest that very few people had been adversely impacted when these events had occurred. Apps have been available to allow some participants to interact with the smart charging systems on trial. A number of participants had used the CrowdCharge ‘journey planning’ function to enable the system to manage their charging. However few people had used the ‘request high priority’ function of the GreenFlux system to override demand management.
Electric Nation is still in the trial phase, with full results from the project due to be communicated in 2019. One area that the project will be looking at is whether incorporating a time of use tariff – such as having charging costs as 10p per kWh overnight compared to 30p at peak times – will be a big enough incentive to shift people’s charging from peak times, and as a result, will the whole peak EV charging problem go away?