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Electric Nation

Formerly CarConnect

Funding mechanismNetwork Innovation Allowance (NIA)
DurationApril 2016 - October 2019
Estimated expenditure5.8 million
Research areaLow Carbon Technologies
Website addresswww.electricnation.org.uk
Regions
  • South West
  • South Wales
  • West Midlands
  • East Midlands

Objective(s)

The objective of this project is to equip GB Distribution Network Operators with the tools and solutions to enable them to manage PIV market growth by:

  1. Assessing their (non-meshed) LV networks to predict which parts of their LV network will be susceptible to PIV penetration;
  2. Determining whether PIV/V2G demand control services can be used to avoid or defer reinforcement;
  3. Monitor LV networks to detect PIV charger installation growth; and 
  4. Procure and deploy PIV/V2G demand control solutions as soon PIV induced LV network stresses arise.

Problem(s)

As groups of neighbours acquire Plug-in Vehicles (PIVs), localised clustering of demand is likely to cause challenges for electricity networks, as proven through the (Low Carbon Networks Fund) My Electric Avenue (MEA) project. MEA showed that approximately 30% of GB low voltage networks will need reinforcement by 2050, if adoption of electrification of transport is widespread (i.e. meeting DECC’s High EV Market Growth Forecast). This represents a present day cost of £2.2bn to UK customers – Transform Model® analysis, based on UK Government forecasts of nearly 40 million PIVs on UK roads by that time. The UK Government is committed to the electrification of transport – as illustrated by its recent investment into ultra-low carbon vehicles such as its extension of grants for PIV chargers, PIV car subsidies and the Go Ultra Low Cities Scheme.

In addition, vehicle to grid (V2G) services and associated technologies are being developed in the UK and abroad. The impact of mass V2G services on LV networks needs to be understood, especially as some V2G services (such as transmission frequency services) may adversely affect distribution network operations, in a similar way to solar PV generation. V2G could be a solution as much as a problem for LV network congestion, in that export mode could be used to address peak PIV demands - but as V2G has not been developed sufficiently at this time this is a poorly understood option. Furthermore, adapting the PIV demand control services to utilise V2G export mode to address PIV induced peak loads has not been proven. This tool and the conflict between PIV demand control to meet DNO DSR needs and other services V2G can provide has not been investigated.

Method(s)

This project will use three methods to enable DNOs to identify which parts of their network are likely to be affected by PIV/V2G uptake, and whether PIV demand control services are a cost effective solution to avoiding or deferring reinforcement on vulnerable parts of their networks.

Method 1: Modelling

This project will provide DNOs with an assessment tool to predict where PIV/V2G market penetration may cause network challenges.
This tool will, firstly, enable assessment of all (non-meshed) LV networks in a DNO’s license areas to identify those most likely to be affected by PIV penetration. Secondly, the tool will enable more detailed assessment of those LV networks identified as being susceptible to PIV penetration to identify the level of PIV penetration that would present a problem and trigger reinforcement and enable assessment of PIV demand control and V2G as solutions to avoid or defer reinforcement.

Method 2: Monitoring

This project will develop an algorithm deployable on an existing substation monitoring facility that will enable the effect of PIVs on a LV network to be retrospectively analysed and allow the measureable impact to be compared against the modelling tool output.

Method 3: Mitigation

This project will adapt existing smart charger technology, including V2G chargers as they become ready to deploy and existing commercial charger management services and deploy these in a mass-market customer trial to prove the technical/economic viability of PIV/V2G demand control to avoid or defer network reinforcement and to prove that such systems are acceptable to customers. The customer trial will include a wide range of PIVs, with a range of battery sizes and charging rates to prove such systems can be deployed in a future with a diverse PIV market.


 

To view our latest news story on this project click here. 

To find out more about this project, visit www.electricnation.org.uk


  • Network Assessment Tool

    A network assessment tool will be developed that will allow (i) license-wide assessment of PIV penetration susceptibility of (non-meshed) LV networks and (ii) more detailed assessment of LV networks susceptible to PIV penetration to determine the level of PIV penetration that would trigger reinforcement action and the smart solutions to avoid or defer reinforcement developed in this project.

    EV Monitoring

    A monitoring algorithm will be developed that will detect PIV charging by directly monitoring the LV substation such that the number and potentially type/category of vehicles can be identified, the impact on the feeder cables and transformers understood and to produce guidelines for managing EV charging. The collected data from pre-established PIV clusters on the WPD network will be fed back to refine the Network Assessment Tool.

    The Trial Programme

    A smart charger test system will be established to (i) enable selection of suitable smart chargers for the customer trial and (ii) develop and test the PIV/V2G demand control services before and during the customer trial.

    Up to 700 new PIV drivers will be recruited, in order to provide the project with statistically significant data ensuring diversity in driver behaviour and PIVs (battery size and nominal charger rate). Trial participants (customers) will be sought from a wide area across WPD’s licence areas, concentrating, but not exclusively, on larger conurbations and in particular the recently announced winners of OLEV’s Go Ultra Low City Scheme in WPD’s licence areas, namely Milton Keynes, Bristol and Nottingham & Derby. 
    Trial participants will provide their own car for use in the trials. The project will provide trial participants with “smart” chargers for their home on their agreement to participate in the trial, to be subjected to PIV demand control and to have data collected regarding their PIV usage and charging. 

    This data will be used to inform development of the PIV/V2G demand control services and research into customer behaviours relating to their journey planning and charging behaviours. The customer trials will apply PV/V2G demand control on simulated PIV induced network stress scenarios. Customer acceptance of PIV/V2G demand control will be assessed by a contracted market research company.

  • The success criteria of the project is defined through successful delivery of the following:

    1. An LV Network Assessment Tool for DNOs (an add-on to the widely used WinDEBUT LV design tool) that:
      1. Analyses and quantifies PIV related stress issues on LV networks (to LV area scale), including:
        1. Heuristics enabling rapid assessment of PIVs on LV networks through “topological” modelling of LV networks
        2. Ability to include known PIV charger installations
        3. Ability to forecast future PIV charger installations based on PIV market growth and forecasts
        4. Flexibility allowing for future charger rating and PIV battery size developments 
      2. Identifies best economic PIV solution: Demand Control/V2G/Reinforcement.
    2. A functional specification for a technique to monitor and understand the effects of electric vehicle charging on LV networks across different levels of penetration.
    3. A functional specification and commercial framework for future procurement and deployment of PIV/V2G Demand/Export Control Services by DNOs to delay or avoid network reinforcement in cases where PIV installation numbers create network stress.

    These will be available on the market for other DNOs to use and to adopt into business as usual.

  • Expected learning includes:

    1. Expansion of current understanding of the demand impact of charging at home on electricity distribution networks of a diverse range of plug-in-electric-vehicles (PIVs) – extending charge rates to 7kW+, introducing vehicle to grid technology and a range of battery sizes from 20kWh to 80kWh+. 
    2. A better understanding of how vehicle usage affects charging behaviour given diversity of charge rate and battery size. 
    3. Evaluation of the reliability and acceptability to customers of PIV/V2G demand/export control services and influence these have on driving and charging behaviour. 
    4. Evaluation of the technical/economic viability of smart charger and PIV/V2G demand control services to avoid/defer LV network reinforcement in the event of PIV induced network stress.
    5. Development of a LV network assessment methodology that could be applied to other new energy technologies that may become widely deployed.
  • August 2018

    Installations are now complete – total installations are 673.

    DriveElectric’s focus this month has been on inviting all participants which are able to have the CrowdCharge app: Currently 203 participants have been invited with 82 registering, thus showing a conversion rate of 40%.

    DriveElectric continues to record all hardware, configuration and communication faults and assign them to the appropriate organisation to manage through to resolution, whether that be APT and CrowdCharge or Alfen and GreenFlux.

    July 2018

    DriveElectric and the installers have completed the final installation this month with the total number of participants on the Electric Nation Project standing at 673. 

    June 2018

    The final approval figure has decreased by 1 this month to 673; this is expected to be the final installation figure as the last 3 participants ‘in process’ are booked in for install. Installs are expected to be completed by the first week of July 2018. However, delay could occur if installation is not approved at the participant’s property. This scenario is unlikely.

    The Greenflux app has been rolled out to customers; Crowd Charge have been testing their app with a pilot group of 20.

    April 2018

    All applications have now been approved with the final figure at 678.  A total of 34 applications that have had their PO issued, or a confirmed installation date assigned to them, with the remaining 5 in process awaiting the agreement to be returned from the participant to progress to the next stage.


    February 2018

    Installations have surged this month with 46 added from the 15th January, compared to 13 added from the previous month. As the holiday period has now ended this has allowed installers to schedule installation days more frequently with participants.

    January 2018

    The full upper project target of 700 participants has now been recruited for the project. Charger installations also remain ahead of target, with 535 chargepoints now installed.

    December 2017

    Installations exceeding 520 by 21st December 2017. Installers have approved a total of 593 applications, thus there are only 107 left to approve to reach the project target of 700 installations. Of these remaining 107 installations, all but 13 are well advanced in the application processes.


    November 2017

    500 Installs have now been completed. The target of 700 participants is expected to be reached in January 2018. New enquiries are now being routed onto a waiting list.

    October 2017

    Installations have now exceeded 430 with a total of 522 surveys approved; meaning the project lower-end target of 500 installations has been achieved. Combining ‘in process’ participants and the current rate of installations at 40 – 50 per month, the upper-end target of 700 installations should be met by March 2018, which will allow for more data collection time over the original project timetable. The Electric Nation website has been revised to show a reserve list for all customers that are now applying. This is to manage both the customer expectations and also allows DriveElectric to assign the last few spaces correctly in order to ensure a 50:50 spilt of GreenFlux and CrowdCharge demand control mechanisms.

    August 2017

    Installations have now exceeded 330. The installation rate has remained at a good rate in what is generally a slow month. Interest in the project has real momentum now; with just over 100 more approvals to hit target of 500.

    July 2017

    Recruitment for the Electric Nation Project continues to grow ahead of schedule. There were 278 installations completed by the end of July.

    June 2017

    Recruitment of participants for the project continues to progress ahead of target with over 200 charges now installed.

    April 2017

    The number of people participating in the trial is proceeding well and is ahead of the anticipated numbers. 106 smart charger installations have now been undertaken in people’s homes.

    March 2017

    As of the end of March 2017, there are now 55 installations complete and the end-April 2017 milestone for approved surveys is close to being met. This would bring installations and approved surveys one month ahead of target.

    February 2017

    As of 28th Feb 2017 there have been over 1000 enquiries, approx. 200 participants have signed up. There are now 19 installations complete, and over 60 more planned.

    January 2017

    Customer recruitment continues on target with over 800 enquiries resulting in over 120 expressions of interest, home surveys have been sent out and as of the end of January:

    40 surveys have been approved and 1 installation is complete. 


     

    Future installations will continue on a rolling program.

    December 2016

    Electric Nation now has 83 people who have confirmed that they wish to take part in the project. An Installer training day has been held and the first Smart Charger installs will commence in January 2017, and will continue on a regular basis throughout the year. 

    Self survey forms are being sent out now to assess suitability and to enable the installs to be programmed.

    November 2016

    Electric Nation now has over 70 people who have confirmed that they wish to take part in the project and join the Electric Nation community.

    Since the start of November we have carried out 10 pilot installations, working with all of the smart charger installer network who will take part in the main trial. 

    We’ve used the learning from these installations to refine all our procedures and plan to hold a training day during December to share all of this with the installers before the big trial begins from January.

    The first installations of smart chargers will start towards the end of January, and will be staggered through February, March and onwards.

    August 2016

    CarConnect has officially launched the customer facing brand ‘Electric Nation’ – aiming to recruit up to 700 electric vehicle drivers into the project. See www.electricnation.org.uk for more details.