The UK government and Ofgem have published the Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Action Plan, a document that underlines the steps it is taking to leverage the potential of smart charging, and make it the preferred method of long-duration EV charging by 2025.
Together, the government and Ofgem will seek to remove the barriers that currently prevent the full development of a diverse and competitive smart charging market, while making sure the energy system is ready to respond to the heightened energy demands EVs could bring about in the near-future.
Smart charging utilizes the potential of energy use data and new energy technologies to deliver various consumer benefits. Here, motorists can charge EVs when electricity is cheaper or cleaner, allowing them in turn to power their home with electricity stored in their EV (or sell it back to the grid for profit).
While publishing the plan, the government also announced that up to £16 million ($19.7 million) of funding from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio will be allocated to various smart charging technologies. Among these are a smart street lamppost that will allow motorists to access smart charging across several locations, and projects that will enable smart charging for domestic appliances – from heat pumps to EV charging points and batteries.
The V2X Innovation Programme for prototype hardware, software, and business models will allocate funding to three charging projects.
A project led by Otaski Energy Solutions (based in Gateshead) developing a smart street lamppost capable of charging EVs and sharing power back to the grid will receive £229,000 ($283,150). V2X-Flex, a project led by EV Dot Energy, will receive £220,000 ($272,069) to help it develop prototype software and a new business model to reduce entry barriers for the domestic use of V2X bidirectional chargers, providing energy flexibility services. Lastly, £165,000 ($204,052) will go to BEVScanV2X, a London project led by Agile Charging to develop a technology that could overcome battery degradation. It would work by creating a cost-effective tool that monitors, and advises, the best approaches to maximizing battery life and financial returns from smart charging.
The Interoperable Demand-Side Response Programme (which supports technologies that allow consumers to remotely increase or decrease their energy use to take advantage of when energy is cheaper or more renewables are on the grid) will offer funding to a further three projects – including £1.2 million ($1.4 million) to Smart-DSRFlex, led by Landis & Gyr UK in Manchester, to demonstrate how DSR technology can help manage a renewables-based electricity grid using the smart meter system.
Energy Smart Heat Pump – a joint project from Samsung Electronics UK and Passiv UK – will receive £510,000 ($630,699) to design, and develop, a solution that provides demand side response (DSR) services through Samsung Heat Pumps. Through it, the project will allow customers to have greater control over their usage on the basis of cost or carbon savings. Open DSR for All, a project by Carbon Co-op in Manchester, will gain £29,000 ($35,855) to explore the benefits and barriers to the accessible offering of domestic DSR, potentially enabling more products to offer it in the future.
Depending on tariff, mileage, and charging patterns, smarter charging could help save an average driver up to £200 ($247), and a high mileage driver up to £1000 ($1236) a year by delaying the power demand from EVs at peak periods – such as 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM on winter evenings. In efficiently balancing when energy is generated and used on the electricity grid, the technology could also help reduce electricity prices for consumers across the network.
Delivering the steps set out in the Action Plan will help the government achieve its target to make smart charging standard at home and the workplace by 2025. The government is likewise aiming for smart charging to become commonplace at long-duration charging locations, such as on-street facilities or dedicated transport hubs.