The Electric Nation project is trialling a smart charging solution to reduce the impact on the UK’s electricity network as the number of electric cars increases.
It could cost at least £2.2 billion by 2050 to upgrade local electricity infrastructure if large numbers of people need to charge their electric cars at peak times.
People buying or leasing new electric vehicles – pure electric or plug-in hybrids – who join the Electric Nation trial will receive a free smart charger.
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.
The project is seeking to recruit 500-700 people buying or leasing new electric vehicles to take part in the largest trial of its kind.
One such motorist who has taken advantage of this offer is Matt Tupper, who has had a free smart charger installed at his house near Nottingham. He said: “I believe that more and more people will be buying electric cars in the coming years, so it’s really important that we can all recharge them. The Electric Nation trial provides new electric car owners with a free smart charger, and in return the project will be able to access charging data to help electricity distribution companies better manage electric vehicle charging. I would certainly recommend anyone buying an electric car to sign up to the project.”
Dave A Roberts, EA Technology's Director of Smart Interventions, explains the challenge facing electricity distribution companies: “Increasing awareness about the impact that many vehicles have on our air quality is one of the key issues that is resulting in car manufacturers bringing more electric vehicles to market, as can be seen at the 2017 Geneva motor show. However many local electricity networks serving our homes were never designed to cope with the demand from large numbers of high capacity electric vehicles. To avoid costly and disruptive upgrading work to cables and substations, a smart solution, as being trialled by Electric Nation, could provide a much cheaper option to ensure we can charge our EVs.”