Consumers, Vehicles and Energy Integration

Introduction

The Consumers, Vehicles and Energy Integration (CVEI) project was launched in 2016 to deliver unique and detailed insight on mainstream consumer behaviour when using and charging battery and hybrid electric vehicles, to understand the changes that will be required of existing infrastructure with the growth in low carbon transport.

An innovative and ambitious project commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and delivered by a cross-industry consortium led by TRL.

Energy Systems Catapult provided technical expertise and assurance to the project and will take forward the data and models to provide future development of the CVEI capability from the ETI legacy.

The Challenge and Opportunity

There are many challenges and opportunities involved in transitioning to secure and sustainable low-carbon vehicles. Significant benefits include improved air quality, decarbonisation, and potential economic growth. Yet there are barriers to overcome, in regards to consumer uptake and behaviour, integration of vehicles with the energy supply system, energy market structures and UK and European government policy.

Current trends show that sales of Electric Vehicles are running at 69% year on year growth, while charging infrastructure growth is at 31%1.

The CVEI project examined the barriers and motivators which influence consumers by providing them with back-to-back experience of using Battery Electric Vehicles or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and an equivalent conventional petrol engine car. Across the trials, in-depth data was gathered from vehicles and chargepoints for 584,000 miles of journeys and 15,700 charge events, covering both home and public locations, while consumer surveys were undertaken to understand attitudes, perceptions and choices.

The opportunity was to understand the required changes to existing infrastructure, as well as consumer response to a wider introduction of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles in the UK.

The Project

The Consumers, Vehicles and Energy Integration (CVEI) project was launched in 2016 to deliver unique and detailed insight on mainstream consumer behaviour when using and charging battery and hybrid electric vehicles, to understand the changes that will be required of existing infrastructure with the growth in low carbon transport.

An innovative and ambitious project commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and delivered by a cross-industry consortium led by TRL, with Energy Systems Catapult providing quality assurance through our Transport asset on behalf of the ETI.

TRL are supported by Element Energy, Baringa Partners and Cenex. Other team members include EDF Energy, Route Monkey, EV Connect, Shell and The Behavioural Insights Team.

The two-and-a-half-year project has been carried out in two stages. The first stage focussed on detailed analysis and design of market, policy and regulatory frameworks, business models and customer offerings, electricity and liquid fuel infrastructure and technologies throughout the energy system as well as at charging and refuelling points and on-vehicle. This was supported by insights from consumers and fleets into use of plug-in vehicles.

The second stage, commenced in the autumn of 2016, delivered a trial involving approximately 250 mass-market users to validate the impact of solutions identified in stage one and understand consumer and fleet responses to the vehicles and to managed charging schemes.

The objectives of CVEI are:

  • To address challenges and opportunities involved in transitioning to secure and sustainable low-carbon vehicles.
  • Examine integration of vehicles with the energy supply system.
  • Help inform UK and European government policy; and
  • Help shape energy and automotive industry products.