Towards the end of 2016, Alfen was selected to supply its intelligent electric vehicle charging stations to the Electric Nation project in the UK. Electric Nation, the largest smart charging project in the world, was set up by Western Power Distribution, the electricity network operator in the UK.
The general objective of the Electric Nation project is to allow the numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK to increase, whilst avoiding the cost and disruption involved in upgrading local electricity infrastructure. Its goals are threefold: 1) expand current understanding of the impact on electricity distribution networks of charging a diverse range of plug-in electric vehicles at home, 2) build a better understanding of how vehicle usage affects charging behaviour given diversity of charging rate and battery size, and 3) evaluate the reliability and acceptability to owners of EVs of demand control services and the influence these have on charging behaviour.
Electric Nation is revolutionising domestic plug-in vehicle charging by engaging between 500-700 plug-in vehicle drivers in trials. The project seeks to provide an alternative for necessary upgrades on the electricity grid as the penetration of EVs increases. When 40% to 70% of households use EVs, at least 32% of the networks across Britain will require intervention. Intervention using smart technology, rather than digging up the roads to install new cables, has been predicted to give an economic saving of around £2.2 billion by 2050.
The results of this project will be of interest and will be communicated to the energy/utility community, to UK government, to the automotive and plug-in vehicle infrastructure industry and to the general public.
Alex Earl, Alfen UK Country Manager, says: “We are very happy with the progress that has been made with the Electric Nation project. Alfen has over 8 years’ experience of building reliable, intelligent charge points for electric vehicles, including working with energy companies to ensure available power capacity can be optimised for EV charging, so we are pleased to bring our experience to bear on such an innovative project.”
Electric Nation is the customer-facing brand of CarConnect, a Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Network Innovation Allowance funded project. WPD’s collaboration partners in the project are EA Technology, DriveElectric, Lucy Electric GridKey and TRL.