Trial aims to expand understanding of the impact on electricity distribution networks of home charging a diverse range of plug-in electric vehicles
The Electric Nation project is rolling out installation of free smart chargers across the Western Power Distribution network areas of the Midlands, South West England and South Wales.
The project is seeking to recruit between 500 and 700 people buying or leasing new electric vehicles (of all makes and models, pure electric and plug-in hybrids) to take part in the largest trial of its kind. Trial participants who meet the criteria will get a free smart charger installed.
Electric Nation is trialling a smart charging solution which could interact between domestic charge points and local electricity networks to allow the numbers of electric vehicles in the UK to increase, while avoiding the cost and disruption involved in upgrading local electricity infrastructure.
The findings of the trial will help electricity network operators manage the effect of the additional load on local networks caused by charging EVs.
“Historically, the automotive sector and the energy sector have not worked together. However, that needs to change due to the increased demand on local electricity networks from electric vehicles,” said Mark Dale, innovation and low carbon networks engineer, Western Power Distribution.
“The Electric Nation project shows that Western Power Distribution is taking the issue of the impact of EVs on electricity networks seriously, by trialling a solution to potential capacity challenges in the form of smart charging and demand control.”
Clive Harding, who lives near Worcester, is one of the first to have signed up for the trial and has had a smart charger installed for his Nissan LEAF. “I now have a smart charger fitted that is faster than a standard charger, and every time I charge my car the data will help to ensure that the UK’s local electricity networks can cope with the predicted increase in the number of electric vehicles,” he said.
Electric Nation is 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.
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