The Electric Nation project aims to build an understanding of the potential impact that the increasing uptake of EVs will have on local electricity networks. Cars with different battery sizes and charge rates may have different impacts and this needs to be understood. The impact of human behaviour on these different technologies will also be investigated.
The project will also trial a system that will be able to alleviate some of the anticipated problems that mass ownership and simultaneous charging of EVs could cause to local electricity networks.
The uptake of EVs is accelerating quickly and is expected to continue to do so. There were 1,056 cars eligible for the plug-in car grant in the UK in 2011. This figure has risen each year to a total of 35,447 cars in 2016. This is a significant increase over a period of just six years. While the UK can generate enough electricity to charge these vehicles, charging more EVs would have a greater impact on local electricity networks, especially if it coincides with existing peaks (e.g. after returning home from work in winter).
This trial is necessary to build an understanding of how different car battery sizes and speeds of charging may impact on this problem, and also to trial a potential solution.
By using smart chargers, a demand management provider could communicate with chargers to reduce the charging speed, or pause charging. Some EV owners will be able to programme some of their preferences and this information will be used to charge the car battery at a time or rate best suited to the network but within the car owner’s tolerances.
Local network operators could use this type of service when local networks are stressed, as an alternative to replacing their equipment (e.g. cables in roads).
Data gathered from the trial will be used to help
local network operators identify which parts of their network are most at risk as EV ownership increases. It will also develop a tool that will aid them to identify the most effective way to deal with areas of the network with problems.
The Electric Nation project is hosted by Western Power Distribution (WPD). It is delivered by the following collaboration partners:
In addition, there are a number of supporting collaborators:
The host Distribution Network Operator, providing funding and direction to the project.
Responsible for recruiting participants and all customer-facing activity.
EA Technology is responsible for testing the EV charge point demand management systems developed by CrowdCharge and Greenflux. These systems will change the charging rate or pause your car charge. EA Technology is also responsible for creating the event simulations that will be used to see if the system could be used to help the electricity network, as well as managing all aspects of customer research, PR, marketing and dissemination of learning for the project.
Lucy Electric is monitoring local LV substations with the GridKey system with the aim of assessing the load profile of various types of electric vehicles and developing an algorithm that can automatically detect the presence of EVs charging on the network.
Providing project oversight.
Are developers of EV demand management systems which will send signals to the smart chargers.
Conducting customer research.
Providing the smart chargers.
Electric Nation is the customer-facing brand of CarConnect, a Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Network Innovation Allowance funded project. WPD’s collaboration partners in the project are EA Technology, DriveElectric, Lucy Electric GridKey and TRL.
DriveElectric is the data controller for this project. DriveElectric has 21 years’ experience managing customer data through its car lease business and experience in implementing data protection procedures across project partners and suppliers. During recruitment, the Electric Nation project will collect some personal data from you. With your permission your contact details will also be shared with Impact Research who will be conducting the customer research aspect of the project. Impact Research is also a registered data controller as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998. Both companies are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The project has carefully selected its suppliers who may handle your data (e.g. collecting your contact details or installing your smart charger) to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act; this will ensure that your personal data is managed appropriately. Your personal data will not be shared outside the project delivery partners and suppliers, and any data shared with project partners or suppliers will be limited to what they require to deliver their role in the project.
Data such as when you plug your car in, when it charges, how long for and the charge rate will be collected via the demand management system. This data will not include personal data and participants will not be recognisable from this information. It will be encrypted according to strict protocols. In some cases, and with your permission, the project may access data from your EV. This may include information such as journey lengths and the state of charge of your EV’s battery and, with your permission, may require fitting of a telematics device to your vehicle.
At the end of the project all personal data kept about you by the project will be destroyed unless you provide us with express permission to keep it.
All results, data or analysis published by the project will be in an anonymous and aggregated format. The project will ensure that no trial participant can be identified from any trial publication unless an individual has provided express permission for their details to be made available, for example in a case study or newsletter.
A full copy of the Electric Nation Data Protection Strategy can be found in the Resources section of the Electric Nation website.
Charging with a dedicated EV home charging unit, such as a smart charger, rather than using a domestic power socket (so-called ‘standard charging’, using a portable charging lead) is significantly safer. There are a number of reasons for this:
Dedicated EV home charging units, ‘fast chargers’, like the smart chargers used in the Electric Nation project, are designed to safely deliver much higher charging currents than portable standard charging cables, 16 amps or 32 amps maximum rating.
We will provide a top-up contribution towards the smart charger and its installation, in addition to any applicable OLEV electric vehicle home charge scheme grant. Assuming the participant meets all eligibility criteria, they will receive the smart charger with no costs incurred. This is subject to a survey of the property and based upon a standard installation process. If the survey reveals any complications, then the participant may be subject to additional costs. If this is the case, the participant will be informed of these additional costs prior to installation and asked if they wish to proceed.
Should the participant wish to leave the trial early or decide not to continue to engage then they will be asked to reimburse a proportion of the £150 installation fee paid on your behalf by the project. The exact amount will be calculated according to the length of time that you participate in the trial.
Additionally, drivers will be given online gift vouchers, such as Amazon vouchers, worth £10 for each survey they complete during the trial, and £25 for completion of the post-trial survey. The two surveys conducted before the demand management trials begin are a condition of participation and therefore there are no payments for completion of these.
More information about the project can be found at: www.electricnation.org.uk.
Alternatively contact the project on our dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 0333 300 1050.
There is also a 24 hour helpline available to participants.
DriveElectric is the data controller for the Electric Nation project. Details of the data protection strategy for the project can be found in the Resources section of the Electric Nation website.
Impact Research will need information about participants and their households, for example contact details, age, gender, number of people in the household and number of cars etc. They will also ask about experiences using EVs, for example about the types of trips that are undertaken and decisions about when to charge the vehicle and about any problems or concerns when using or charging the EV. This will help the project to understand how different types of people and households use their EVs.
CrowdCharge and Greenflux may collect or be given data regarding the charging of the trial participant’s EV, journey data, vehicle specification data.
When a person agrees to be part of the Electric Nation project they will be asked some questions about the household and circumstances as well as expectations about being an EV owner. This is most likely to be online, though they may make contact by telephone from time-to-time to remind people to take part in a survey or update information they hold. Participants will then be asked to complete up to eight short online questionnaires about experiences of being an EV owner before, during and after the trial, each one lasting no more than 10 minutes.
You will be given online vouchers, such as Amazon vouchers, worth £10 for each survey completed during the trial, and £25 for completion of the post-trial survey. The two surveys conducted before the demand management trials begin are a condition of participation and therefore there are no payments for completion of these.
The trial lasts for two years from January 2017 to December 2018. Participants joining after the start of the trial will only participate for the remaining period.
As part of the Electric Nation trial a demand management system will be used to change the rate or pause when your EV is charging, simulating an event designed to prevent the network being overloaded. It is expected that this can be carried out whilst ensuring that EVs are still charged when required. The trial will seek to prove that this is the case. There is therefore a possibility that participants’ cars may not be sufficiently charged, causing some inconvenience.
Should the charge point supplied as part of the trial fail, alternative transport can be arranged. The charger will be checked and if necessary replaced.
The smart charger installation will be carried out by an OLEV-approved installer. Each installation is different, however a typical visit will take between 3-6 hours.
There will be a short interruption to your electricity supply of no more than half an hour whilst the charge point is being installed. You will need to be at home when the charge point is installed, even if it is going
to be outside.
DriveElectric will be working with a preferred selection of OLEV-approved installers who will carry out the installation work.
The smart charger will only monitor the electricity supplied to your EV.
As a participant in the Electric Nation trial we want you to use your EV the way you want to – driving it where you want to go, when you want. Therefore plug in your EV at home as and when you need to charge it!
If managed charging changes your driving and charging habits – for better or worse – we would like to know what’s changed.
If you are provided with an app to programme in your journey and charging preferences, please use it. It will help the control system to make better decisions.
So that we know what you think about the demand management system that you are trialling, please complete the customer research survey whenever you are requested to (usually approximately every three months).
If for any reason you cannot carry on participating in the Electric Nation trial please let us know as soon as possible by contacting DriveElectric, either by email email@example.com or by telephone on 0333 300 1050.
Please let us know if you change your contact details, either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 0333 300 1050.
No, electricity suppliers (for example British Gas, E ON, N Power) are not told about your charge point and they do not need to be informed. Electricity suppliers cannot tell what equipment or loads you have at your house. Your charge point installer will inform your local electricity Distribution Network Operator (for example Western Power Distribution) – this is an obligation required of the installer as part of the Domestic Wiring Regulations.
The smart charger does not have the functionality to allow you to programme when your car is charged however most EVs come with an app that allows you to do this.
The trial will be using several different installers. An installer will be assigned to you based upon the area in which you live. All the charge point installers that are used by the Electric Nation trial are OLEV-approved.
It will either be an APT or ICU charger. Chargers will be assigned on a random basis.
DriveElectric will complete this form on your behalf.
It is 7kW or 32 Amps.
The charge points come untethered. Some EVs come with charge cables free of charge. If you need to buy a charge cable DriveElectric can help you. Cables are priced between £130 and £165.
Not all participants will get a smart phone app. Trail participants will be provided with an app on a random basis.
This will vary, but at most you will need to update the app daily. Not all participants will receive an app.
If you leave before the end of the trial you will be asked to reimburse a proportion of the £150 installation fee paid on your behalf by the project. The exact amount will be calculated according to the length of time that you participated in the trial.
Yes, you can, as long as you are eligible for the OLEV grant. To be eligible for the OLEV grant company car users must be assigned a company car, or named by the employer as the primary user of the car, for at least six months and have not been in possession of the vehicle for more than four months before the charge point is installed. OLEV will ask you to provide a letter from your employer proving that you will have the EV for more than six months and will check how long you have been using the car by cross referencing information submitted to HMRC on your P46 ‘Benefit in Kind‘ form.
To participate in the Electric Nation trial you will need to show us that you will be in possession of your company EV until January 2019 or beyond.
If you have any queries about your eligibility to participate in the Electric Nation trial please phone DriveElectric on 0333 300 1050.
Yes, you can still take part. It does not matter how far you are into your EV lease as long as the period left goes up to or beyond January 2019.
No, having PV panels or any other form of renewable generation at your home will not prevent you participating in the Electric Nation trial, however you will be asked as part of the customer research if you have them installed.
Yes, you can still participate.
Unfortunately we are unable to include these areas in the Electric Nation trial if/when it expands nationwide. This is because they are subject to a different Energy Regulation than England and Scotland.
The trial ends in December 2018. You would be expected to participate until the end of the trial. If you leave before the end of the trial you will be asked to reimburse a proportion of the £150 installation fee paid on your behalf by the project. The exact amount will be calculated according to the length of time that you participated in the trial.
If you move house during the trial then you can take your charger with you although you will have to pay for an installer to move it. You can then continue to participate in the trial. Please let DriveElectric know if you are moving house so that they can keep their records up to date. They will also be able to help you find a qualified installer to move your charge point.
If you do not want to take your charge point with you when you move house you can leave it at your old house when you move and it will become the property of your old house’s owner. If you move before the end of the trial you will be asked to reimburse a proportion of the £150 installation fee paid on your behalf by the project. The exact amount will be calculated according to the length of time that you participated in the trial.
Not unless you have bought a second eligible electric vehicle and kept both vehicles. You may move your charge point to your new property as long as you notify OLEV first.
The person who applies for the grant must be the person named on the evidence supplied for the vehicle.
Yes, second-hand vehicles are eligible under the EV Home-charge Scheme (EVHS) as long as the model appears on OLEV’s eligible vehicles list.
If you buy a new EV then you are only eligible for a new OLEV charge point grant if you keep your old vehicle as well.
Yes, the EVHS permits one charge point per person, per property, per vehicle up to a maximum of two vehicles. Therefore if a property has two eligible vehicles, you can have a grant for two charge points.
It depends on your ownership type. If you have bought the vehicle you must have done so after 1 April 2015. If you are the owner of a company vehicle, you must have been in possession of the vehicle within the four months prior to installation.