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Fleets required for EV charging trial

Fleets are being invited to sign up for a major electric vehicle charging trial that could help increase the UK’s charging infrastructure.

The trial will test the performance of ‘smart charging connections’, which can intelligently control the power consumption of EV charge point

While a comprehensive EV charging infrastructure is vital to a ‘green recovery’ and for UK plans to eliminate petrol and diesel car and vans sales, the resultant demand on the electricity network needs to be safely and effectively managed.

The new trial could help resolve this. Run by the Charge Project, an initiative led by SP Energy Networks to accelerate the roll-out of public EV charging infrastructure, the trial will test the performance of ‘smart charging connections’, which can intelligently control the power consumption of EV charge points.

Companies running fleets and charge point operators (CPOs) currently considering the installation of charge points are being invited to take part in the Charge Project, which covers the Cheshire, Merseyside, North Shropshire, and North and Mid-Wales areas.

The work will enable trial participants to install more charge points without the need for expensive network reinforcements.

A smart charging connection can automatically detect if the CPO needs to reduce charge point capacity during periods of peak demand, in this way ensuring that the electricity network never becomes overloaded.

Conversely, it can also enable a CPO to increase charge point capacity during off-peak periods or when power from alternative sources such as solar PV is available. This would negate the need for increased grid capacity while also ensuring charge point owners can potentially offer consumers faster or cheaper charging outside periods of peak demand; a win-win.

Dr Graham Ault, executive director at Smarter Grid Solutions, said: “If the UK is to genuinely embrace a greener future, there needs to be a dramatic increase in the number of EV charge points available to drivers. Companies and site owners may have been put off in the past from installing charge points due to excessive costs or distribution network issues, but smart charging connection technology can help to solve these problems. This is a vital part of the Charge Project’s commitment to deliver both economic and environmental benefits to communities across the country.”

Following on from its work exploring smart charging connections, the Charge Project will roll out the ConnectMore tool, a public-facing web application that will help businesses and local authorities identify suitable sites for new charge points and estimate the cost of connecting them to the network.

To sign up for the smart charging connections trial, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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