Trial proves dynamic EV charging cuts energy costs

Electric Vehicles (EVs) may hold the key to balancing energy supply and demand across the UK, as demonstrated by a groundbreaking EV charging trial conducted by UK Power Networks, Octopus Energy, and EV.Energy.

The Shift 2.0 project, said to be a UK first, is exploring how dynamic pricing can influence smart charging practices, empowering EV drivers to make the most of affordable green energy without straining local electricity grids.

With over 1,500 EVs already participating in the trial, these vehicles are responding to dynamic network price signals to help effectively manage demand on the electricity network and shift energy consumption away from peak times.

As the UK transitions towards a more sustainable energy system, the ability to flexibly manage demand is becoming increasingly crucial. The Shift 2.0 project is at the forefront of trialling innovative approaches to navigate these changes in supply and demand.

Initial results from the trial have already highlighted the success of dynamic EV charging pricing. In early April of this year, the trial indicated that EVs on Intelligent Octopus Go, Octopus Energy’s popular smart tariff, commenced charging in the early evening when wholesale electricity prices were low due to an influx of wind energy. This timing is significant as early evenings are typically when local electricity networks experience peak usage.

Throughout the trial, UK Power Networks transmits a ‘day-ahead’ time-of-use price signal to Octopus Energy and EV.Energy. These entities then integrate this information with the wholesale electricity price and other relevant data to schedule EV charging in alignment with the availability of inexpensive electricity and network capacity.

Alex Howard, the head of flexibility markets at UK Power Networks, affirmed that the new dynamic pricing would complement existing flexibility products. Howard emphasised the necessity of staying ahead as renewable power expands and vehicle charging becomes more automated.

Alex Schoch, head of flexibility at Octopus Energy, noted the shift towards dynamic management of energy demand and supply. By charging EVs when green energy is abundant, not only is the environment benefitted and renewable energy promoted, but significant savings are also passed on to consumers.

Nick Woolley, CEO of EV.Energy, highlighted the importance of a clean, affordable, and reliable energy system accessible to all. The trial aims to leverage demand flexibility to address grid challenges and pave the way for the evolution of local flexibility.

With the project scheduled for completion by September 2024, the Shift 2.0 trial represents a pivotal step towards harnessing the potential of EVs in shaping a sustainable and efficient energy landscape.

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