LONDON — UK Power Networks is taking innovative steps to create the country’s first smart-charging market for electric vehicle drivers. The new market will put electric vehicle drivers in control, enabling them to charge when and where they wish, while rewarding people who choose to fill up their vehicle outside the morning and early evening electricity peak times.

Filling up a typical electric vehicle on a fast charger consumes roughly as much electricity as a house would use at the peak time of the day, and clusters of electric vehicles can place significant additional demands on the local electricity infrastructure. UK Power Networks is developing innovative ways of managing this additional demand on its network through smart charging and by doing so, keeping energy bills lower than if new infrastructure was built unnecessarily.

UK Power Networks is beginning trials that will test and develop different approaches to smart charging as part of an innovation project called “Shift.”  This project will assess the technical and commercial requirements to enable the benefits of smart charging to be realised for UK consumers.

Together, ev.energy and UKPN will target 300 EV drivers to trial a number of incentives to reward customers for smart charging. ev.energy’s platform will optimize EV loads across UKPN’s service territory, while trial participants can use ev.energy’s app to manage their charging and track rewards, including free miles from their supplier or a discount on their home energy bill.

Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “Enabling all customers to share in the savings generated by not having to build as much new electricity infrastructure could cut the cost of operating electric vehicles. We believe smart charging will enable us to support the uptake of electric vehicles across our networks at the lowest possible cost to customers.”

Nick Wolley, CEO of ev.energy, said: “We’re excited to test a range of incentives to reward our users for smart charging their EVs. We have seen from our partnership with Igloo that offering EV owners free miles when they charge at home can be an effective way to incentivize smart charging; we look forward to testing other propositions in parallel to identify which incentives customers find most appealing.”