The road to decarbonisation requires smarter electric vehicle charging, says new research from the ETI

Published: 14 November 2019

A new report, released today by The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), reveals that managed or ‘smart’ charging could support the widespread integration of low carbon cars and vans into the energy system, to meet the UK’s 2050 climate change targets.

“We believe that right now, the UK stands at the end of the first phase of vehicle electrification, with evidence from the progress already made pointing towards the challenges to be addressed in the next stage. The UK needs a strategy to provide enough capacity, coupled with enough intelligence to meet drivers’ needs, while at the same time avoiding risks to the electricity infrastructure or the addition of high-carbon peak generating capacity. Understanding driving patterns and needs and providing appropriate infrastructure, market designs and incentives will need national policies and standards to support local plans and investments.

“We hope that the recommendations posed in our report will support the interpretation of real world data and especially its use for planning by businesses and policy makers.

“The ‘Smarter Charging: A UK Transition to Low Carbon Vehicles’ summary and full reports are available to download through the ETI Knowledge Zone. In addition, the CVEI project has generated models, data and analysis based on vehicle uptake and charging consumer trials with mass-market consumers. The key reports from CVEI, are available in the ETI Knowledge Zone and the tools and data can be accessed through the Energy Systems Catapult.”

Energy Systems Catapult, Infrastructure and Engineering business lead Liam Lidstone, said:How to integrate the new wave of electric vehicles is one of the trickiest challenges facing the energy system.

“If done well, it can make better use of clean electricity and help reduce the need for costly network reinforcements. But if done inefficiently, it could heap pressure on our power system at peak times.

“Consumers will be central to this challenge. They need convenient, affordable propositions that will help make it easy to shift their charging to off-peak times.

“This insight report showed that consumers are willing to shift their charging patterns, if it is easy to do so. If replicated across the wider power system, this could help keep the costs of decarbonisation low.

“Energy Systems Catapult will take forward the tools and data generated by the CVEI project and work with industry to build compelling consumer offerings.

“The recommendations are already informing the work of the Government’s Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce which is due to report in January.”