Smart EV

Facilitating plug-in vehicle uptake


  • Evidence¹ shows that there is a lack of electricity network capacity to support the forecast increase in plug in electric vehicles (PIVs); this would traditionally require expensive, disruptive and timely network reinforcement. This is a potential barrier to PIV uptake that could impact the automotive supply chain.
  • An alternative is the wide scale adoption of a controlled PIV charging solution; there is currently no market mechanism to facilitate roll-out of a technical solution (such as demand side response) to enable controlled PIV uptake on electricity networks.
  • The Smart EV project is endorsed by all six GB Distribution Network Operators, with the support of UK Government. This is a unique opportunity to help inform and direct a standard mechanism to facilitate controlled PIV uptake that will work with people, PIVs and products.

    The Smart EV project is funded by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks through its Network Innovation Allowance, and delivered by EA Technology. All six GB Distribution Network Operators are project partners. It is a follow on project to My Electric Avenue. The evidence from My Electric Avenue suggests that plug-in vehicles (PIVs) will cause an impact on the local electricity network, requiring significant investment by Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) – an estimated investment of £2.2bn by 2050 will be needed to support PIV uptake. My Electric Avenue also demonstrated that demand side response solutions can work, and can work sympathetically with the network, PIVs and people – for 3.5kW charging vehicles. It is likely that the roll out of this mechanism will facilitate increased numbers of PIVs that can charge without large scale network reinforcement, in the most cost efficient and expedient fashion. The roll out needs consideration; specifically, that compatible charging points are required in advance of the predicted increase in PIV numbers, this will require careful messaging with customers.

    At present there is no standardised method of curtailing PIV chargers, and a number of manufacturers have developed proprietary systems. Left alone, this will lead to a multitude of system types with little commonality which would make adoption of PIV charge control much more difficult in the future.
    EV Charging Smart EV

    What will the project do?

    The aim of this project is to achieve consensus on the mechanism that can be used to facilitate the roll out of controlled PIV charging. In doing so, it will enable significantly larger numbers of PIV charging on today’s local electricity distribution networks, with sizeable reduction in investment costs and customer bills/disruption. This project will seek to inform a national engineering recommendation (or equivalent) for the connection, charging and control of new PIV load to domestic properties.
    Famil EV charging Smart EV

    Consultation with stakeholders

    A key part of this project is to present the engineering options to a set of stakeholders, and seek opinions as to the most viable for all concerned. The project will then move towards a single viable solution which is backed by stakeholders. We need the input of as many relevant stakeholders as possible – charging point manufacturers, installers, PIV manufacturers, policy makers, and others involved in the supply chain. If this project is relevant to your work, we would like to engage with you; we’ll make the process as straight forward and efficient as possible.

    The Consultation on Managed EV Charging opened on 12 October 2016, and closes at midnight on 16 December 2016.

    Download the Consultation Paper, Smart EV (Technical) Options Paper and Consultation Response Form from the download buttons on the right hand side of this page. We look forward to receiving your response.

    ¹My Electric Avenue
    To find out more about our Smart EV project or our other Electric Vehicle projects, contact us on:

    T:+44 (0) 151 347 2359 / +44 (0) 7817 910 889

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