Smart Charging App – early indications of EV driver usage

Electric Nation trial participants have been given the opportunity to interact with smart charging systems through apps; early findings show that smart charging override is an important function, but only for a minority of EV drivers.

EN App

Over spring and summer, 248 Electric Nation trial participants have been given the opportunity to interact with the GreenFlux smart charging system through a mobile phone app.

The app allows EV drivers to request ‘High Priority’ charging – meaning that their charger would be excluded from demand management events and would charge at its maximum rate. High Priority only has an effect when a demand management event occurs. These events happen when the power drawn by all EVs on charge exceeds the capacity limit for the trial group (typically from 17:30 – 19:00 on weekdays).

Also, 209 trial participants in the other arm of the trial, under the CrowdCharge smart charging system, have been given the opportunity to use an alternative web app. The CrowdCharge web app demonstrates a different way of interacting with the smart charging system; trial participants can enter journey plans to help the system optimise energy delivery to those with the greatest short-term need. This trial began in July 2018 and results will be published later in 2018.

In terms of usage, 40% of the GreenFlux group didn’t use the app at all, and 15% only used it once – suggesting that a high proportion of trial participants are not concerned by smart charging events.

Trial participants have also been surveyed regarding their experience of using the app (there have been 149 respondents to date). Of the 70% who said they’d tried the app, the following reasons were given for its use:

High Priority requests were made for transactions throughout the day but only 27% of requests on week days, and 9% on weekends, were made for transactions starting in the peak period (17:30-19:00).

Our early conclusion from this element of the Electric Nation smart charging trial is that having the ability to override smart charging events is an important function that a small minority of EV drivers will use from time to time, with an even smaller minority using it habitually. The effect of this small group of users on other drivers charging during peak demand periods, who therefore have a reduced share of the remaining group capacity, will be minimal.

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