DriveElectric, an electric vehicle specialist with over 20 years of leasing and electric vehicle experience, is celebrating the breadth of valuable learning gained about smart charging, and in particular the behaviours of EV drivers, from its involvement in the Electric Nation trial.
The trial took place in Western Power Distribution network areas in the Midlands, South West and South Wales.
DriveElectric recruited 700 EV drivers to take part in the three-year project and managed the process of installing smart chargers at participants’ homes, as well as being responsible for all customer-facing activity. Half of the EV drivers also trialled DriveElectric’s Crowd Charge app, which enabled people to interact with the smart charging system.
Electric Nation, the world’s largest home smart charging project – with the trial element carried out over 18 months – has announced the project results at the ‘Smart Charged’ conference at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon.
Electric Nation has been collecting data to expand understanding of the impact of the home charging of EVs on local electricity networks, and to evaluate the reliability and acceptability of smart charging to EV owners.
As the numbers of electric vehicles on the UK’s roads are set to rise, the final results of the Electric Nation trial show that smart charging combined with time of use electricity tariffs can help to manage the potential impacts of EVs on the domestic (low voltage) electricity network and save EV drivers money.
During the trial, data was collected for more than a million charging records, showing that the most popular times to plug in EVs is during the evening peak (5pm – 7pm) on weekdays, when the majority of drivers get home from work.
On average, vehicles are plugged in for over 12 hours, but they only take electricity for 1.5 hours in that time. This shows that there is sufficient flexibility to manage charging away from peak electricity demand periods.
The trial has also proven that managing demand from EVs through smart charging is technically feasible, and that it is acceptable to the majority of trial participants.
Time of Use incentives – such as cheaper electricity rates at off-peak times – appear to be highly effective at moving demand away from the evening peak, particularly when supported by smart charging (with an app), which makes it simple for the user. If there is no incentive, the EV charging demand in the evening peak requires management.