When it was launched in 2016 Electric Nation was the world largest home smart charging trial with 673 participants each owning a plug-in electric vehicle (EV). Between then and the end of the project in 2019 trial participants had provided over 2 million hours of car charging data from over 130,000 charging events, providing unrivalled insight into EV charging habits.
Participants also provided the Electric Nation project with invaluable information about their experiences both on smart charging and time of use tariffs as well as other aspects of EV ownership by completing regular customer research questionnaires.
Electric Nation showed that:
The Electric Nation project was hosted by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and delivered by a partnership, including EA Technology. The project was funded via Ofgem through its Network Innovation Allowance scheme. Electric Nation provided local electricity network operators with the learning to ensure that their networks can cope with the challenges that a larger number of EVs charging at home may bring.
EA Technology played a pivotal role in the successes of Electric Nation, managing the project and trials, including responsibility for:
EA Technology also created the Network Assessment Tool (NAT) which provides WPD with a software platform that will predict which parts of their network are likely to be affected by EV uptake. The tool identifies the level of penetration that could cause issues on the Low Voltage network and predicts when this may occur.
The trial was split into three different sub-trials to mimic different future scenarios. Before the start of the trials participants were allowed to ‘charge at will’
To simulate a future where EVs place a greater demand on local substations the trial organisers limited charging to vehicles when demand across a ‘virtual’ group of vehicles reached a pre-determined threshold. This trial was blind so participants were not aware if or when their charge would be limited.
This trial was similar to Trial 1 except participants were provided with phone apps to give them some control over whether their charge would be managed.
Mimicked a time-of-use tariff, participants could earn shopping vouchers in this incentivised trial if they charged outside peak hours. The functionality of the phone apps offered to participants was extended to support them in avoiding charging at peak times.
More information about the Project and its findings can be found in:
Powered Up: Charging EV’s without stressing the electricity network
Full technical detail about the trial and analysis of the trial data is available in:
The Electric Nation Customer Trial Report