Investigating the impact of clusters of charging EVs on the electricity network
My Electric Avenue was a pioneering three-year Ofgem-funded project (2012–2015) that undertook trials with over 200 customers to determine the impact clusters of charging electric vehicles (EVs) might have on local electricity networks at peak times.
EVs are becoming more commonplace on UK roads, with a 716% increase in new EV registrations from 2013 – 2015. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) approached EA Technology to develop and deliver, as turnkey technology provider and project manager, the Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund £10m My Electric Avenue project. My Electric Avenue was designed to understand the impact of clusters of EVs on low voltage feeders, trialling a new demand control technology, Esprit, to manage this stress to avoid network overload, thus saving cost and disruption to customers, and cost to the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) of at least £2.2bn by 2050.
EA Technology was engaged to manage the LCN Fund bid process; a first time for a non-DNO. Another first was the fact that an innovation project under the LCN Fund was managed by a third party delivery body.
EA Technology also brought on board all project partners, including a major automotive OEM and brokered a pioneering deal to secure 250 electric cars for the trials. 250 customers had to be recruited; half of these in ‘clusters’ or groups on individual low voltage feeders.
Over 100 people, in different clusters around Britain, were recruited to My Electric Avenue’s technical trials in 2014, to drive an all-electric Nissan LEAF for 18 months and test the new technology that can control people’s charging. The project analysed the data about people’s charging habits and the impact on the local electricity networks.
In addition to the data from the technology that controls the chargers, the University of Manchester analysed other data including that from Nissan’s CARWINGS system. Findings included that during weekdays, charging is more likely to be before and after work (morning and night peak), but during weekends it is more likely to be between 10am and 6pm. The data also showed that approximately 70% of the EVs are charged only once a day, and more than 65% of vehicles are charged until the battery is full.
Key findings were that across Britain, 32% of local electricity networks (312,000 circuits) will require intervention when 40% – 70% of customers have EVs due to the increased demand; new demand control technology could reduce the cost of managing this by around £2.2 billion up to 2050; the vast majority of customers in the trials accepted having their EV charging remotely controlled and cycled.
As a result of My Electric Avenue, EA Technology founded the EV Network Group, bringing together the automotive and utilities sectors to support the increased uptake in EVs, for the benefit of customers and industry alike. The Group facilitates dialogue between the low carbon automotive and utilities sectors, acting as the conduit for information flow between those sectors and UK Government.
EA Technology is also now delivering My Electric Avenue’s Smart EV project, to reach consensus on the content to inform a standard (or equivalent) to facilitate managed plug-in vehicle charging.
All of My Electric Avenue’s learning is freely available in the My Electric Avenue Project Library In addition to the My Electric Avenue outputs, we have made the raw data available so that others can build on the results. To download the data collected during the trial, please fill out the form below.
“I commend EA Technology’s expertise in partnership brokering, customer engagement and dissemination of learning outcomes to any DNO or organisation seeking a dynamic, customer and output-oriented project partner or lead.” Stewart A Reid, Head of Asset Management and Innovation, Scottish & Southern Energy Networks