Initial findings from the “world’s largest” smart charging trial suggests electric vehicle (EV) drivers are willing to alter their routines to shift demand away from peak periods.

The Electric Nation project, which ended in December 2018, involved nearly 700 EV drivers from across the Midlands, the South West and south Wales.

Participants owned a wide variety of makes and models – more than 40 in total – with a range of battery sizes, including both plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles.

For the duration of the 18-month trial, their charging behaviour was monitored to discover how often they plugged in their vehicle, for how long and how much energy they consumed.

They were also involved in tests of smart charging strategies such as the provision of incentives to charge overnight when demand on the power grid is lowest. Data was collected from more than 140,000 charging events in total.

The trial found EVs are typically plugged in for more than 12 hours at a time but are rarely charging for the whole period. It also found that drivers usually only charge their vehicle three times each week and on average begin with the battery already more than half full.

The project was hosted by Western Power Distribution and delivered in partnership with EA Technology, Drive Electric, Lucy Electric Gridkey and TRL. It was funded by Ofgem through the Network Innovation Allowance.