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Charge

Charge will, for the first time, merge transport and electricity network planning to create an over-arching map of where EV charge points will be required and where they can be best accommodated by the electricity grid.

Timescale

January 2019 – December 2022

Project Status

In Progress  

About the Project

About the Project

Charge: Refuelling tomorrow’s electrified transport

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the future. With the sale of new petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles expected to end in 2035 (or sooner) in the UK, EVs will soon eclipse fossil-fuelled transport. These EVs will need an extensive and reliable power network to meet their demand for recharging.

The Charge Project, which we are delivering in collaboration with our expert partners, will help support the UK’s transition towards electrified transport and address the needs of current and future EV drivers.

Running for four years throughout Merseyside, Cheshire, North Shropshire and North Wales, the Charge Project will bring together transport and energy planning to accelerate the investment and deployment of public EV charging infrastructure. This will benefit all EV users, whether they live in residential areas with no off-street parking, or those looking for charging facilities en route or at destinations.

Find out more about our vision for the project via our Charge video below:

Trail-blazing technology for cleaner, greener solutions

The Charge Project will combine transport and electricity network data to highlight the best locations for EV chargepoints. It will look at how these chargepoints can be connected at the lowest cost, so drivers can access affordable off-road charging at work and at home (whether they live in houses or flats), as well as road-side and en route charging in the towns, cities and rural destinations they visit.

Charge will run a number of targeted network trials to understand how best to charge vehicles in areas that currently lack publicly accessible chargepoints. Terraced houses and flats with limited on-street parking will be an area of primary focus. The deployment of smart network management technologies will ensure that EV charging and public electricity supply networks operate in harmony.

Gaining a clearer view of the future with Charge

In addition to looking at today’s transport and electricity network data, Charge will use modelling and forecasting technologies, (as well as Smarter Grid Solutions’ investigation into innovative smart charging solutions) to make projections for how traffic and networks will evolve in the years leading up to 2050 – the UK’s legally-binding target to achieve for net zero emissions. This insight will allow us to anticipate the needs of drivers in the future as well as today.

By gaining critical insight and sharing that with other distribution network operators, stakeholders will be able to make the most cost-effective planning decisions. This will help forge a more sustainable, efficient future for transport in the Charge Project trial area and beyond.

ConnectMore: An online resource that will benefit everyone

One of our primary objectives with the Charge Project is to share information with councils, businesses, communities and anyone with an interest in EV infrastructure, so everyone can plan ahead. 

The information will be shared via the project’s interactive online tool, ConnectMore. ConnectMore will be a user-friendly web application that will show people where EV charging demand is, and where the electricity network has the capacity to support chargepoint installations. It will also consider the benefits that smart charging can offer in managing network demand.

The tool, which will be accessible via our website, will enable:

  • Businesses to quickly see cost estimates for connecting new EV chargepoints at their sites,
  • Councils to see where the electricity network could support chargepoints needed to serve shopping or community centres, and
  • Local authorities to create long-term plans for wide-area rollouts of infrastructure and ensure they achieve the best value for their chargepoint deployments.

Benefits

Benefits

The following are some of the ways the Charge Project is set to benefit communities, councils and businesses throughout Merseyside, Cheshire, North Shropshire and North Wales.

Infrastructure driven by data

Electricity network capacity is a vital consideration when planning any new public charging infrastructure. It is also necessary to understand how drivers will use the roads in years to come so future needs around appropriate charging locations can be identified. This is why, by bringing transport and electricity network experts together for the first time to discuss what’s critical, we can share data to create a power network that will meet the needs of EV drivers in our region now and in years to come.

This data can then be used to benefit a variety of stakeholders in the coming years, which will support decarbonisation of mobility and the needs of the community.

Using cutting-edge technologies, the Charge Project will analyse and compare network capacity and driver-behaviour projections. The resulting data will highlight prime locations for EV chargepoints based on anticipated traffic flow and network capabilities and will also enable us to introduce smart charging connections.

Enabling Smart Charging Connections

A Smart Charging Connection utilises the intelligence embedded in modern chargepoints to automatically adjust their power consumption to  match the available electricity network capacity. They can reduce their power consumption when the network is heavily loaded and potentially increase their demand at times when surplus energy is being pushed onto the grid from renewable generation.

Smart charging connections mean:

(Prospective) chargepoint owners/operators can install (additional) chargers more cheaply and more quickly than via a conventional connection by making use of the existing network capacity and potentially also avoiding the need for disruptive groundwork to add hardware.

EV drivers may be able to charge at lower costs by taking advantage of time signals and the reduced connection costs being passed through from chargepoint installers and operators. They are also likely to benefit from quicker installation of chargepoints and from more of them being available at individual locations.

Network operators are able to reduce their costs by encouraging the efficient use of existing network assets and efficiently planning when and where they need to reinforce their networks.

ConnectMore: A digital planning tool

We will be providing up-to-date information aimed at facilitating new connections publicly available via an online portal. This information will be presented through a user-friendly, web-based connection tool – called ConnectMore – which will be instrumental for planning new chargepoint installations, by:

  • Giving an indication of likely charging demand in a given area in terms of both magnitude and duration and, hence, support decisions on what infrastructure will be needed,
  • Showing areas of the electricity network with capacity for new connections,
  • Determining the cost of the electricity network connection for new chargepoints,
  • Providing charging solution connections at the lowest costs possible; and
  • Recommending smart charging solutions where reinforcement would normally be required.

ConnectMore will allow installers to access information quickly and easily, and everyone will be able to work from the same data. It will accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure, so that EV drivers have chargepoints in their communities and the places they visit.

Supporting decarbonisation of mobility

The aim of the project is to secure a cleaner, greener future for people in Merseyside, Cheshire, North Shropshire, North Wales, and ultimately the UK as a whole. It will do so by identifying the best locations for chargepoints to serve the needs of EV motorists, while making best use of the available electricity network. This ensures chargers can be installed in the right locations, at the lowest possible cost. 

If you want to play an active part in decarbonising transport, then why not get involved by contacting us at chargeproject@spenergynetworks.co.uk

Partners

Partners

PTV Group

Strategic transport and scenario planning

Smarter Grid Solutions

Solutions for public EV charging

EA Technology

"ConnectMore" online connection tool

 
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