Are Community-run EV Chargers possible?

  • 20 August 2018
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I'm hoping this Topic will be read by Forum Members working within the EV Industry. But EV Owners may already have experienced what I'm trying to research:

For reasons too detailed to go into, I have before me on screen, maps of two estates in a Westcountry town near to where I live.

Estate-1 dates from 1950's. Few houses have garages or drives. There are front-gardens, then a wall, the pavement and a grass-verge before you get to the road where everyone parks.

If you were to buy an
EV it would be difficult to charge it (legally) overnight without running an electrical cable across the pavement/verge.

Estate-2 isn't yet built. It will be developed over the next 15 years, during which time there will be substantially more EV's. It is inevitable that every house will have a SMETS2 meter (or whatever comes after that).

Most of these new houses will have a parking-space/drive and some will have a garage. Home-owners with
EV's could charge overnight from points at the front of their house. They could also sign up for V2G and sell back to the Grid.

The new estate will require at least 3 sub-stations, fed from an existing 33kV line nearby.

But the use of single-phase connections for these houses means that the sub-stations and underground cables will have to be deliberately over-specified to cope with grid-imbalances between feeders and phases. These imbalances cause significant losses (6-9%).

The DNO's are now funded under an arrangement called RIIO-ED1. Their future income is linked to reduction of losses.

A possible solution for both of these Estates is to install 3-phase fast-charging points in several locations... small parking areas no more than 100m from your house. The use of 3-phase means that feeder/phase balance is maintained - DNO costs are reduced

The underground feed to each house can also now be of lower capacity. Faults (hot-spots) are less likely to occur. This increases reliability.

1. Has anyone done this elsewhere in the UK?

2. If the 3-phase charger points were also equipped with meters, could these be smart-linked so that the charge (or discharge in the case of V2G) was automatically attributed to the electricity account of the relevant home owner?

In the case of Estate-1, the sub-station is equipped with its own "smart meter" - technically an LV-CAP monitor - as part of a Community-Trial. For info on this see the Forum topic on OpenLV.

Imbalances in phases/feeders are logged by the DNO and can be viewed by members of the public. These logs show the peak/average energy use per half-hour, together with the resulting temperature-rise of the transformer due to energy-losses.

3. If the new substations on Estate-2 were also equipped with LV-CAP Monitoring, tariffs could be offered which are lower because Distribution-losses will have been largely eradicated. Should this become a future Planning requirement for new Estates?

These questions have been simplified in order to achieve a higher level of feedback on the OVO Forum. If required, I can release more technical information.

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