Smart Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging legislation news

  • 13 September 2021
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A bit about the upcoming smart charging legislation, some of which is due to become law Spring 2022. 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1015285/electric-vehicle-smart-charging-government-response.pdf


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Yes… those Swansea charging points will definitely have a knock on effect…. in 2040!

There may be several reasons why the projection indicates very few en-route chargers over the next decade. I assume poor Distribution Grid infrastructure in picturesque rural areas (aka tourist hot-spots) is one of them because the FES map is from Western Power.

However, the OVO Group is in a strong position to overcome that deficiency in the meantime.

South Wales has abundant resources for production of renewable energy. The Flex Platform would be able to make better use of those local resources regardless of the infrastructure further afield. Simply use the electricity which is already there!

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Love the comparison between the EV charging black-spots to those areas with lower cyclist participation due to cycling infrastructure, @nealmurphy. Reminds me of that ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy demonstrated by the amazing cycling infrastructure of the Netherlands (and other cycling infrastructure projects).

 

I guess in this scenario it’s a case of build it and they can travel through too - @Transparent , won’t the charging points in Swansea also have a bigger knock-on affect on the tourism of other parts of West Wales? :red_car:

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I know @Chris_OVO works in South Wales somewhere.

So, for his interest, I’ve just pulled up the Western Power Future Energy Scenario maps for the Swansea area, and looked at the projections for Public EV Chargers “en route”. These are the ones which visitors/travellers are most likely to be directed to.

The darker the shade of blue, the higher is the concentration compared with all areas of the UK. The meaning of that shade therefore varies according to which year you decide to view.

To assist with interpretation, I’ve given the actual figure for the area of Swansea served by the Uplands 33kV Primary substation. In all years, this has the highest number of public charge points.

 

 

 

 

The Scenario I selected was “System Transformation”. This reflects the most likely outcome if the Distribution Network Operator gets on with upgrading the Distribution Grid without political intervention/investment or the public taking action to enforce a higher rate of change towards Net Zero.

These maps suggests that tourism in the Swansea/Gower area is going to take a big hit unless there is intervention from local councils or the Welsh Government.

So I’ve basically picked up precisely the point which @Chris_OVO was making, but put forward some illustrative figures to better show his argument.

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Great post @Tim_OVO. There’s a similar analogy with providing cycle lanes. It’s not just beneficial putting a cycle lane where there are already cyclists, you should look at locations where cycling is low and work out why - is it because it is felt it is too dangerous because of a lack of cycle facilities?

And it’s often better if new charging facilities are not right on your doorstep. When new rapid charger locations are announced I automatically check to see if there are any near where I live. But that’s not where I actually need them - it’s more beneficial for my journeys if they are, say, 100+ miles from my house, as that’s where I’m more likely to need to use them!

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I wanted to share another thought provoking post from our very own @Chris_OVO, about EV charging infrastructure:

 

One of the most famous examples of "Survivorship Bias" is how the US Military in WW2 were reinforcing planes based on the areas on returning planes that had taken the most damage.

This was flawed however, as the bullet holes in returning aircraft represented areas where a bomber could take damage and still fly well enough to return safely to base.

It was instead proposed that they reinforce areas where the returning aircraft were unscathed, inferring that planes hit in those areas were the ones most likely to be lost.

So based on this, are local councils making a mistake in selecting their chargepoint locations based on high levels of EV presence (data provided by where vehicles are registered)?

In a way makes total sense - "put chargers where EVs are" seems obvious, however it's actually not that simple.

You see, the EV dense areas are the survivors in this case, and don't necessarily deserve the focus. The majority of EV journeys are done using a single charge from home. Significant uptake of EVs suggests there ISN'T an infrastructure issue in that area.

Non EV dense areas are the failure points, and perhaps indicative of a lack of driveways and therefore suitable charging infrastructure that's required to run an EV. Unless there's a socioeconomic reason (income, education, employment for instance) then infrastructure is a leading candidate for failure to adopt EVs in one area.

Now this doesn't always make for a good commercial case / ROI for a network operator when installing a £30k charger for instance, but for a local authority who is using taxpayer money, maybe supporting the adoption of EVs could improve air quality and therefore see less need for spending on trial AQ improvement schemes, on fines, or on healthcare...

 

@Geoff Dickson you posted a similar thread this week comparing the EV charging infrastructure of the UK vs Canada. Should we avoid the potential trap of ‘putting chargers where EVs are’?

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Great to see my home county taking a proactive approach, @Transparent.

 

A bit worrying to think they needed to include this part though -

 

“Cables should be laid flat and never be extended from an upper storey to a vehicle, nor should they be hung from any street furniture including lamp columns or trees.” 

 

I’m imagining some precarious daisy-chaining extension cord set-ups, that are hopefully the result of some council staffers brain-storming session and haven’t been seen in action! 

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Hampshire County Council have taken a proactive approach. They publish guidelines for EV charger cables across pavements for example.

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It is always fascinating living in a conservation area. 

We have just got a letter from the council. A house nearby has applied to have a standard charger put on the front of their house and the council are asking if we have any objections.

Feels like unnecessary paperwork... a simple set of guidelines for households in the area about chargers would be better. That is going to be my feedback....

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Discussion point:

Suppose that @Simon1D , myself and a few others successfully implement the Open Energy Monitor system we’re exploring.

Suppose I then add further inputs to give me

  • sunlight forecast for the next day (for Solar Panel generation)
  • the energy-mix data for my local area, which is already available from Western Power, my DNO

And I then use this information to make ‘smart’ decisions of when I charge my VW ID3 and at what rate, using the 32A socket I’ve already got and the WiFi switch which controls that socket…

 

Would that satisfy the proposed legislation for a ‘smart charger’ on the grounds that it’s actually providing a better granularity of charging logic than any currently-available commercial charger?

Or would I be pursued for breaking the law because I haven’t had an ‘approved’ smart charger installed (yet!)? :thinking:

 

This is hypothetical of course. I’m really hoping that the Flex Platform will actually provide the level of smart control I’m looking for by the time this legislation is enacted!

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Related discussion on this just posted:

 

 

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As a central figure in the earlier V2G Trial, I’d also be interested to hear what @D10hul has to say about this strategy from the Government.

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@Tim_OVOwrote:

“Government will mandate a randomised delay function, to help address grid stability concerns arising from smart charging.”

That should be achieved by default because the same document also reads:

12; [...] The smart metering system remains the lead option for
delivering smart charging…

Except that Kaluza opted to ignore the benefits of the randomisation system built into all Smart Meters and implemented via the Auxiliary Load Control Switching. Instead Flex provides timing solely via its encrypted commands carried over the internet.

It may not be capable of interception by a malicious 3rd party, but it’s far too easily disrupted and would therefore leave open the possibility of damage to our National Grid by a hostile foreign adversary. The more EVs we have being connected to Smart chargers using only internet commands, the more vulnerable we become.

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Ahhh in the time it’s taken me to write that comment, Transparent has already replied. Typical! 

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Nice share, Jeffus. 

 

As Jess mentioned, this is a key call out:

 

“Government will mandate that all private chargepoints must be smart.”

 

I need a bit of help to understand this one:

 

“Government will mandate that, during set-up, chargepoints must require EV drivers to set charging preferences and schedules. In addition, these schedules must be pre-set to not charge at peak times.

 

For anyone on Flex, they can set a time that they want the charging to be done by and the platform will work out when to draw energy from the grid. Great. But anyone not on Flex or an equivalent,  I assume households would able to override preferences to charge at peak time if they urgently need some juice...

 

@Transparent will be pleased to see this point:

 

“Government will mandate a randomised delay function, to help address grid stability concerns arising from smart charging.”

 

 

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Yes - it looks like HMG policy is heading in the right direction. Remember this still has to be drafted into legislation and the timescales have already slipped.

So if I was to abide by this strategy to install a ‘smart’ charger, what would I need from my Energy Supplier?

 

1: a genuine Time Of Use tariff. I wouldn’t want to have a Smart charger where my Supplier had the capability to feed electricity to my EV battery in such a way that I was financially worse off.

You think that wouldn’t happen?

Well it’s within the T&Cs of the existing PowerVault Storage Battery Trial in which I’m a participant. I don’t think it was intentional… it’s just that OVO failed to notice the significant cost increases to the customers. :confounded:

 

2: The charging schedules need to reflect the actual supply/demand statistics for my area, rather than just blithely follow the whole-GB figures for National Grid.

I live on the Western edge of an area (Cornwall) which exhibits an abundance of renewable power which can’t be fed back through Grid Supply Point transformers to the rest of the country. My Smart charger ‘on’ periods need to track and follow that regional generation.

It isn’t really that difficult. The energy-mix data and a 1 week look-ahead forecast are readily available from my 33kV Bulk Supply Point and have been so for the past 6 + years.

 

3: I need a charging schedule which doesn’t create over-loading of my local substation or its 440v feeds to houses (particularly relevant for underground cables).

 

4: I need a schedule which doesn’t create additional losses at the substation by phase imbalance and harmonics. There’s no point sending control signals to charge my EV if that wastes energy as heat in the transformer windings because domestic chargers are single-phase devices.

You think that wouldn’t happen?

Well it did when HMG introduced FIT payments for home-owners to install PV Solar Panels on their roofs! Substation losses doubled over the following two decades. :face_palm_tone1:

 

Is all this feasible?

Yes. It may cost to do so, but Kaluza should be in a position to provide OVO with the required capability by using the Flex Platform - an advantage available to few other Energy Suppliers.

Do I think it will happen in time for the new law to be implemented next year (2022)?

No… because development work on the Flex Platform has been concentrated on financial benefits to OVO Group Ltd and attracting additional investment.

It needs a very rapid change of direction to redress the balance.

 

Us customers are more prepared and willing to embrace the requirement for mandatory Smart chargers than OVO is.

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My zappi has smart capability although it isn’t used at present; The Wallbox charger I got through the V2G trial has and it is being used, when a firmware issue has been resolved CrowdCharge will be managing the charging/discharging scenario completely.  I will be able to choose a minimum charge level and request a full charge for a particular day if I’m going on a long journey the following day but the process of getting there is not under my control.

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Really interesting news in terms of ensuring that all new EV chargers should be smart.

 

Thanks for posting here, @Jeffus!

 

Sure our EV owners here will agree, this certainly sounds like a step in the right direction. What do you make of this news EVers - @sylm_2000, @MrPuds, @Transparent, @PeterR1947, @tesla_model_3, @Jequinlan?

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