More electric cars to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, but are the UK’s local electricity networks ready?

This year’s Geneva Motor Show, which opens to the press on Tuesday 7 March, features new electric vehicles (EVs) from a range of manufacturers, with larger battery capacities offering greater driving ranges, but will motorists be able to charge them?

Electric Nation Matt Tupper

Research suggests that some of the UK’s local electricity networks will need intervention to enable motorists to charge EVs at home at peak times. The Electric Nation project is trialling a smart charging solution to this challenge, to avoid a cost of at least £2.2bn by 2050 for upgrading local electricity infrastructure. People buying or leasing new electric vehicles – pure electric or plug-in hybrids – who join the Electric Nation trial will receive a free* smart charger.

One such motorist who has taken advantage of this offer is Matt Tupper, who has had a free smart charger installed at his house near Nottingham. Matt says: “I believe that more and more people will be buying electric cars in the coming years, so it’s really important that we can all recharge them. The Electric Nation trial provides new electric car owners with a free smart charger, and in return the project will be able to access charging data to help electricity distribution companies better manage electric vehicle charging. I would certainly recommend anyone buying an electric car to sign up to the project.”

Electric Nation is a Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Network Innovation Allowance funded project. WPD’s collaboration partners in the project are EA Technology, DriveElectric, Lucy Electric GridKey and TRL.

The project is seeking to recruit 500-700 people buying or leasing new electric vehicles (of all makes and models, pure electric and plug-in hybrids) to take part in the largest trial of its kind. Trial participants will get a free* smart charger installed.

Dave A Roberts, EA Technology’s Director of Smart Interventions, explains the challenge facing electricity distribution companies. “Increasing awareness about the impact that many vehicles have on our air quality is one of the key issues that is resulting in car manufacturers bringing more electric vehicles to market, as can be seen at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. However many local electricity networks serving our homes were never designed to cope with the demand from large numbers of high capacity electric vehicles. To avoid costly and disruptive upgrading work to cables and substations, a smart solution, as being trialled by Electric Nation, could provide a much cheaper option to ensure we can charge our EVs.”

Motorists buying or leasing a new electric vehicle are invited to become part of the Electric Nation community. Initially the trial will take place in the WPD network areas in the Midlands, South West and South Wales.

For more information and to check eligibility visit

Twitter @electricnation_

* Subject to eligibility and conditions

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