The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) is to oversee a project to help the electricity industry better understand how plug-in electric vehicles (PIVs) could be conveniently charged at home.
CarConnect, funded through the Network Innovation Allowance, aims to save significant cost and disruption to PIV owners by removing the need to replace electricity substations and cables to homes and workplaces.
At present, there are concerns over the impact charging PIVs at home has on the electric grid as a result of the need for higher voltage cables. TRL says that clusters of PIVs will have an impact on local electricity networks.
TRL points to analysis which shows that by 2050 the UK electricity industry may have to invest an additional £2.2bn to upgrade electricity supply to cope with the additional demand from plug-in-vehicles.
But with plug-in cars becoming a more viable choice for drivers, and the Government keen to support the UK’s ‘thriving’ green vehicle sector, the CarConnect project will set out to find a solution to the problem and thus make the technology more accessible for mass usage.
The project will establish a mass-market customer trial, examining the technical and economic viability of plug-in-vehicle charging without disturbing the network.
In the last two years alone, the UK has seen a 716% increase in PIV registrations. By the early 2020s TRL suggests there could be as many as one million ultra-low emission plug-in-vehicles on UK roads.