Smart Charging: What does the future hold, and what do you think?
The Government recently published a series of consultations aimed at further accelerating the EV industry in the UK - which is great!
One of those consultations outlines their thoughts on the future of EV charging, in which we move to a world of smarter devices, including smart chargers (here's the full documentation. We thought we’d summarise some of the key areas that may be relevant to you as an EV driver, and ask you a few questions that will help us shape our response, but also to better understand you as customer - as ultimately we want to develop the right products for you and the rest of the EV community.
Here's a quick summary that the government kindly put together:
So what does this mean?
Let’s start with defining what "smart charging" can mean:
A connected charger (via WiFi, sim card, etc.) that gathers information on your energy consumption and sends that data to another device or platform (like a charge point management system or the smart meter).
A device that can receive signals, and react to those - like a price signal from your energy supplier when prices are cheap or expensive, or a signal from the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) - the company that owns the cables in the ground that provide power to your house) to ask your charger to slow down or stop in order to relieve strain on the grid.
A device that can charge and potentially discharge your car battery.
A device that can be told when to charge.
A device that can be connected to different service providers in order to offer you benefits (such as lower bills, or other financial or non financial rewards). These could be companies like; energy suppliers, charge point manufacturers/operators or the DNOs themselves.
What are the key drivers for smart charging?
To ensure that the grid can cope with the mass adoption of electric vehicles.
To help us maximise the generation of renewable energy at any given time (as we can’t decide when the sun shines or the wind blows - but it can be stored in EV batteries).
To create innovative offers that incentivise consumers like yourselves to interact with the energy system, rewarding you for behaving in a way that helps the system.
The government consultation sets out its ambitions to deliver this in the short (2020 to 2025) and longer term (beyond 2025), with a view on how these smart charging devices and various service providers could interact, as well as how those services would then be offered to you as the end customer.
The areas they focus on, and may potentially regulate, are to ensure that:
The devices are cyber secure.
That drivers of electric vehicles gets the best outcome.
That the grid can cope with the uptake of electric vehicles onto it’s system.
That these devices aren’t obsolete in the future, and can be managed by different providers to ensure that you can select the best offers that come to market without having to buy a new charger.
It’s worth noting that the consultation outlines using the existing smart meter system as it’s preferred method for doing all of the above, as this device is already being rolled out widely, rather than using other more innovative solutions in the market or waiting for other solutions to be developed.
In order to respond to the government’s consultation, we need your help in answering the government’s questions. The survey questions are below, and shouldn’t take long to complete (they're mostly Yes/No questions). Your feedback will be kept anonymous, and will be crucial in helping us to develop the EV and energy market in the years to come.