As interest in electric cars grows, research highlights concerns over power grid’s ability to keep up with demand.

New research suggests that some of the UK’s local electricity networks will need intervention to enable motorists to charge EVs at home at peak times. The Electric Nation project, which is an umbrella collaboration run by Western Power Distribution, is trialling a smart charging solution in a bid to avoid a cost of at least £2.2bn by 2050 for upgrading local electricity infrastructure.

As part of the trial, motorists buying or leasing new electric vehicles – pure electric or plug-in hybrids – who join the Electric Nation trial will receive a complimentary smart charger installed at their property. Initially the trial will take place in the Midlands, South West and South Wales.

Electric Nation is a Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Network Innovation Allowance funded project. WPD’s partners in the project are EA Technology, DriveElectric, Lucy Electric GridKey and TRL.

One such motorist who has taken advantage of the trial is Matt Tupper. Commenting on the project, he said: “I believe that more and more people will be buying electric cars in the coming years, so it’s really important that we can all recharge them. The Electric Nation trial provides new electric car owners with a free smart charger, and in return the project will be able to access charging data to help electricity distribution companies better manage electric vehicle charging. I would certainly recommend anyone buying an electric car to sign up to the project.”

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Explaining the challenges faced by electricity distribution companies, Dave A Roberts, EA Technology's director of smart interventions, said: “Increasing awareness about the impact that many vehicles have on our air quality is one of the key issues that is resulting in car manufacturers bringing more electric vehicles to market, as can be seen at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

“However many local electricity networks serving our homes were never designed to cope with the demand from large numbers of high capacity electric vehicles. To avoid costly and disruptive upgrading work to cables and substations, a smart solution, as being trialled by Electric Nation, could provide a much cheaper option to ensure we can charge our EVs.”

Source: Electric Nation

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