We have worked on several important research projects designed to test charging clusters of electric cars and what effect this has on the energy grid, and lately how smart charging can be used to smooth peaks in electricity demand.
DriveElectric is also proud to be supporting the development of the UK’s first eco-town in Bicester, Oxfordshire. Working together DriveElectric and the North West Bicester Development Project Team are promoting sustainable transport within the development and encouraging residents to switch to driving an ultra-low emission vehicle.
Electric Nation is trialling a solution to manage EV charging challenges. The UK electricity system has sufficient capacity to deliver energy to electric vehicles, however recent research suggests that if clusters of EVs develop in local areas and they’re all charged simultaneously then some local electricity networks may require costly reinforcement.
A smart charging system, such as the one being trialled in Electric Nation, could alleviate the stress on the electricity network caused by clusters of EVs charging at the same time.
The Electric Nation project has 500 participants, across the Western Power Distribution region, making it the largest trial of its kind in the world.
The project aims to provide local electricity network operators with the tools to ensure that their networks can cope with charging increasing numbers of electric vehicles, whilst avoiding the expense and disruption of digging up roads to replace cables.
In 2022, in collaboration with our sister company CrowdCharge, Electric Nation completed its Vehicle-to-Grid project. It successfully demonstrated a potential solution to our future energy issues, by utilising electric vehicles as a power source for the UK's electricity. We summarised the key findings here.
Electric Nation website
2014 - 2016
Electric vehicles (EVs) are starting to become more commonplace on our streets, and small pockets, or ‘clusters’, of EV owners are already forming, placing more demand on the local electricity network.
Whilst there’s plenty of capacity to deliver power for EV charging across the UK, if the charging requirements are concentrated in small areas and during peak demand, local feeders can become overloaded. With the development of even faster charging times, this problem shows no signs of fading.
The full size and scale of the problem that EV clusters could cause will only become apparent to Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) when they are already on the network, demanding costly mitigation measures in short timescales.
To test the system the trial is simulated a future EV network, and to do this, clusters of EVs were ‘created’. To encourage customer participation, neighbours were offered a ‘group’ deal; where they were given a very low rental price for an EV for 18 months, if they all signed up together. In return, participants allowed their EV charger to be controlled and their EV data to be collected, and they provided feedback on their experience.
Recorded data included the times of day people charged their EVs, and how far they drove between charging. Experience was captured using surveys. In particular, participants were asked about the degree of ‘range anxiety’ they experienced, if any, from not having complete control over the charger.
DriveElectric is delighted to be supporting the development of the UK’s first eco-town in Bicester, Oxfordshire.
A2Dominion have already built features into the design to make alternative, greener travel by foot, public transport, bike or electric car an easy option.
Working together DriveElectric and the North West Bicester Development Project Team are promoting sustainable transport within the development and encouraging residents to switch to driving an ultra-low emission vehicle.