With France set to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 and Volvo planning to release only hybrid and electric cars from 2019, electric cars are becoming more than just a gimmick. Not to mention Tesla announcing that it will finally bring its entry level Model 3 to market later this year. But there is a lot of concern about whether the UK’s energy grid can handle an increase in plug-in cars.
Electric Nation is a project, funded by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Network Innovation Allowance, that is being trialled to tackle this problem. “While the UK electricity system has plenty of capacity to deliver energy to EVs currently and for the foreseeable future,” Mark Dale, Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer at Western Power Distribution (WPD), comments, “smart charging can play an important role in ensuring electricity network upgrades are kept to a minimum as the numbers of EVs being charged at home increase.
“We believe that with the correct management of charging, the electricity network has the capacity to integrate the predicted uptake of EVs. Smart charging can allow management of the demand on the local electricity network and can help to avoid or defer work to upgrade infrastructure.”
The UK government has set ambitious targets for EVs and sales are increasing rapidly. This can more than double the demand for the local electricity network, especially if many homes in an area all charge their cars at peak times.
The cost to reinforce such large networks, including cables, overhead lines, and substation equipment has been estimated to be at least £2.2 billion by 2050. Smart Charges however are hoped to avoid these costs.
New EV owners are being recruited by the Electric Nation project to trial how smart chargers can tackle this problem.
For more information and to check eligibility visit electricnation.org.uk