UK Power Networks is to trial smart charging with up to 1,000 electric vehicles, exploring how it will work in practice.
In the UK’s first ever trial of a market-led approach to smart charging, the power company is partnering with Octopus Energy, intelligent energy platform Kaluza and chargepoint operator Pod Point to explore various business models and market mechanisms to deliver benefits from smart charging. It is recruiting up to 1,000 members of the public who own an electric vehicle and charge it at home, across London and the South and East of England.
Participants will be offered financial incentives to charge their vehicle during off-peak hours.
With electric vehicle ownership growing all the time, demand on the power grid is set to increase significantly. To meet this extra demand, the options are either to spend customers’ money on building new infrastructure or to charge in a smarter way to avoid it, UK Power Networks said.
The trial aims to develop a large-scale, smart charging solution that can be rolled out nationwide by flexibility service providers such as chargepoint operators, aggregators and energy suppliers.
“We’re really excited to be working with our customers and industry on a nationally significant trial that could revolutionise the electric vehicle industry,” said Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks. “There has been a lot of talk about how smart charging could save customers money and help manage the network, but this is the first time we’ve actually set out to discover how.”
Conor Maher-McWilliams, head of flexibility at Kaluza, said: “The boom in electric cars will create a whole new layer of grid complexity, so taking intelligent control of charging will be vital. Technology that joins the dots between home devices and the local grid paves the way for an agile, zero carbon energy system that works for everyone.”