An extensive 18-month trial has thrown up interesting insights into the UK electric charging network and its use by vehicle drivers.
By the time the Electric Nation project ended in December 2018, data had been collected from more than 140,000 electric vehicle charging instances.
Analysis suggests that there is likely to be sufficient flexibility to manage charging away from peak electricity demand periods using the current network.
Initial findings show that on average, vehicles are plugged in for over 12 hours, but they are rarely charging for the full time. Other conclusions from the project suggest that the average charging event starts with the battery already more than 50% full and EV owners only charge their EVs three times a week.
Electric Nation, which is the largest smart charging trial in the world, has been collecting data to expand understanding of the impact of the home charging of EVs on the local electricity network, and to evaluate the reliability and acceptability of smart charging to EV owners.
Over the 18-month trial EV owners were involved in tests of smart charging strategies. These included the use of apps to encourage driver interaction with smart charging systems to minimise disruption to planned EV journeys, and offering incentives to encourage EV owners to opt to charge their EVs when network congestion is low, such as overnight rather than early evening.
However, the wider use of electric charging points will depend on power companies being able to supply enough high capacity cabling from more sub-stations to points of use, particularly in streets and public parking areas. This would help commuters and long distance drivers confidence in making a buying decision when it comes to changing a current car for an electric model.