The numbers of electric vehicles are set to increase. Charging these rising numbers of EVs will have an impact on local electricity networks. Smart charging, as trialled by the original Electric Nation project, will help to move demand away from peak times. However vehicle to grid charging offers a lot more than just smart charging: it offers the ability for potentially millions of EVs to smart charge using renewable energy and act as battery storage facilities, and then put energy back into the grid if needed. This means that rather than EVs being seen as a problem in relation to grid capacity, they can be an important solution to help balance the grid.
If EV owners have solar panels at home then their cars could be charged from the sun, and spare renewable energy could be put back into the grid at peak times, which would mean that the grid uses less fossil fuel generation.
For these reasons, V2G is a great concept, but it hasn’t yet been trialled sufficiently on Britain’s electricity networks to enable it to be rolled out on a country-wide basis – hence the need for this trial.
The Electric Nation Smart Charging project v the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project
The original Electric Nation smart charging project was scoped in 2015/16. Since then the number of plug-in vehicles on UK roads has increased nearly five-fold and will shortly pass 250,000 – and this is at a time when we are also about to see a significant rise in a wide range of low carbon technologies deployed, as the UK moves towards Net Zero.
The aims of the project
- To explore and report on the impact of V2G charging on the low voltage (LV) electricity network, utilising end-user trial charging data and analysis.
- To demonstrate, via modelling, to what extent V2G can assist with management of LV network demand.
- To examine how sophisticated dynamic bi-directional energy services based on vehicle battery storage, from a variety of energy suppliers, may impact the LV infrastructure.
- Provide recommendations of policy and commercial frameworks on V2G services.
Why the project is innovative
This project will study the real-world effects of V2G charging and look to provide a smart solution to provide management. V2G is due to become a common feature on many more vehicles with the announcement that CCS charging protocol is aiming to offer this in 2025 (CHAdeMO charging protocol does this now) along with the UK’s leading work in this field accelerating the business case for many energy suppliers.
A considerable amount of research is being carried out in the area of V2G, however this is generally supplier or charger company-led and does not focus on the likely real-world situation for a DNO should many EV users utilise this technology. In contrast, the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project includes multiple trading stack providers to reflect that when V2G is ‘business as usual’, multiple energy supply strategies will be in play in any given part of the LV network.
The project will operate up to five different energy supplier strategies simultaneously using V2G to imitate a future world in which many streets have a number of EVs charging in this way, operated by different energy suppliers. CrowdCharge would also look to add in smart charging data to the modelling to explore the effect of a mix of V1G and V2G. Further demand management will be trialled across the whole system to explore how much intervention is required to keep within the limitations of the low voltage network.
Scale of the project
The project will engage and recruit between 90-110 participants to install V2G charging and control equipment in domestic properties across WPD’s four licence areas. The chargers will be split into various groups of similar size and assigned to the project’s energy suppliers (up to five). Each supplier will then use their group of chargers to test their various energy services utilising CrowdCharge’s demand management charger platform which provides optimised charging sessions. The effect of these services on the LV network will be modelled and reported on, including using this real-world V2G data in a network assessment tool.
The scale size of 90-110 chargers is large enough to provide a real-world data set of the effect on the LV network and subsequently a more holistic view of the impact of V2G on the LV network in varying locations across WPD’s licence areas. A smaller sample size is unlikely to include a sufficient range of charging/driving habits of the public, thus decreasing the learning potential. As V2G is only suitable for 2-3 vehicle models, the sample size can be smaller than the Electric Nation smart charging trial from a technical standpoint.
The project will take place across the whole of WPD’s four licence areas (West Midlands, East Midlands, South West and South Wales).
V2G is fundamentally different in nature to smart charging because energy can be cycled, whereas smart charging is limited to the amount of energy consumed by the EV, i.e. around 7-10KWh for a typical 28 mile a day vehicle. A vehicle charged with V2G could cycle up to 84KWh of energy in and out of the vehicle in more complex patterns trying to react to signals from the market actors. The strategies for using these services could vary significantly but also coincide, leading to unexpected peaks that could be more difficult to forecast. With the export feature this could lead to high voltage events should a national call for more energy coincide with low local load.
Electric Nation has shown that time of use tariffs may shift the evening peak and create a new peak later in the evening, leading to a need for management. Also, this would make it difficult to separate the shift in demand due to tariff or the call for Distribution Systems Operator (DSO) service – the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project will test a more integrated approach.
Also, when looking at the proposed services these are fairly simplistic, and they mirror how National Grid calls for flexibility – at the ends of the network with low diversity this approach is not likely to provide a complete solution. The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project will look to test alternative approaches with the DSO taking control only when energy supplier trading encroaches safe limits for the network.
The business case for the project
As electric vehicle numbers increase (by 2030 it is estimated that around 25% of households will have a plug-in vehicle) it is anticipated that around 5,601 substations will be running at between 100-110% capacity by 2030 at a potential reinforcement cost of around £84 million.
To maintain safe network limits, it is expected that 20% of the EV chargers would be contracted by the DSO to provide V2G balancing. This would cost £3.8 million per year, instead of an £84 million one-off reinforcement investment.
Forecasting precise impacts presents a challenge with so many changing parameters (e.g. varying uptake of EVs, domestic batteries, heat pumps, solar PV). The CrowdCharge smart service has many potential advantages:
- It offers huge flexibility. Compared to traditional reinforcement, it can be activated at shorter notice – and can be targeted very precisely. The number of chargers under control can be increased (or reduced) depending on how demand patterns evolve for each part of the network
- It will help to defer (or in some cases avoid entirely) significant amounts of reinforcement
- The solution can respond to new technology, for example can equally be applied via the same platform to utilise static domestic batteries, should they offer equivalent capacity by 2030
- The platform data will provide a broader insight to network activity, informing other network activities (for example it may support voltage monitoring)
- The £84 million estimate for traditional reinforcement assumes a planned replacement, however due to the highly distributed and unpredictable nature of EV growth (alongside equally unpredictable LCT uptake) it may require a significant percentage of emergency reinforcement as limits are breached earlier than forecasted, and therefore costs could rise significantly. In addition, emergency repairs cause greater customer impacts.
Learn more abour V2G project
What is the duration of the project?
The project started in January 2020 and will conclude in July 2022, with a one year customer trial period starting in March 2021 until March 2022.
Recruitment starts June 2020, and charger installations will start from Autumn 2020.
Who is this aimed at?
Simple if you…
- Drive a Nissan EV with a battery capacity of 30kWh or more
- Live in the Midlands, South West or South Wales
then you could be eligible to trial a domestic Vehicle to Grid (V2G) smart EV charger worth £5,500.
By plugging in at specified times and putting energy back into the grid you could be rewarded, and the charger can be kept at the end of the trial for just £250.
Lear more or enrol at Electric Nation V2G site:
New company – Uniti Sweden AB – is developing an all-new electric three-seater Uniti One. Production was expected to begin in 2020 in a “pilot production plant” at Silverstone Park. Covid has reduced the production plans to a crawl.
The site is expected to serve as a template for franchise production model, with many production sites in various countries. Uniti spreads a vision of 50,000 units produced annually in the future.
The British-engineered compact EV was supposed arrive in Sweden and the UK first in mid-2020, with a choice of battery capacities and prices starting from £15,100 including government grant.
The entry-grade, 12kWh Uniti One will be capable of 93 miles between charges, while the optional 24kWh battery pack iextends that range to 186 miles. The larger battery can be charged from 20% to 80% in seventeen minutes on a 50kW CCS charger, while the 12kWh model takes just nine.
A 67bhp electric motor drives the rear wheels only, reaching 31mph in a claimed 4.1 seconds and 62mph in 9.9. Top speed is 75mph, with separate City and Boost drive modes to alternate between efficiency and sharpened response.
The three-seat EV, which weighs as little as 600kg, has a central driving position and room for two rear passengers. The steering wheel is flanked by two touchscreens, which are powered by Google’s Android Automotive software, and control the majority of the car’s functions. Drive, Neutral and Reverse gears are selected with individual buttons mounted on the dashboard. There is no key: the car is locked and started using a secure smartphone app.
An electrochromic sunroof, which can be adjusted from transparent to fully opaque, comes as standard, and automatically darkens when parked to keep the cabin cool. Other equipment includes rear LED lighting and LED daytime running lights, with full LED headlights an option.
The One has 155 litres of luggage space, which can be extended to 760 litres when the rear seats are folded flat.
The car can be ordered in a choice of Scandium, Graphite and Titanium colours.
Uniti aims to supply each market from within that market, using automated production centres and digital twinning technology supplied by Siemens. This would allow assembly line schematics to be shared anywhere in the world, to set up plants with enough capacity to fulfil the production demand of a particular market. The entire production line would be automated, with staff mainly focused on quality control at the end of the process. The proposed system would provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional manufacturing process, which relies heavily on transportation networks to distribute cars from a single central production facility.
While originally conceived as a quadricycle, the One is now classed as an M1 passenger car, and must pass safety tests. The company is working with Millbrook proving ground on virtual crash testing, in an effort to further reduce environmental impact. Currently there are several tests that can’t be simulated, and legislation would need to be changed before they could replace traditional crash tests.
Following the UK’s example, future proposed sites include Mexico, Australia, the US, India, Dubai and Georgia. Each will be operated on a franchise model.
The autonomous-capable car has been made with lightness as a priority. Horne explained that the One’s design is centred on maximising battery performance.
The company began taking €149 deposits last year, with 3000 orders placed ahead of the car’s official debut. One of those 3,000 deposits is from us.
The first customers will be offered the chance to take part in a beta testing scheme, in which they run the car and provide feedback to finalise its development.
The One is focused on the second family car market and is designed for the daily commute. Its small dimensions make it suited to city driving, while having more interior space than today’s city cars. The second Uniti model, already in the early planning stages, is proposed as a 2+2 car, with a high number of parts interchangeable with the One.
Uniti’s home market of Sweden and surrounding Nordic countries have been among the world’s quickest to adopt electric cars. Norway was the first to pledge a ban on petrol and diesel cars with the intention of having only electric vehicles on sale from 2025.
Uniti One target specifications:
- 149 miles of range
- top speed: 81 mph
- Rear wheel drive, Dual motors output of 120 kW
- 26 kWh battery pack, DC fast charging
- 25 min from 20-80% on standard charge
- 450 kg of curb weight, 900 kg gross weight
The car reminds us a little of the Commuter Cars – Tango EV from our past. See the Tango below with Mt Clooney:
With a growing number of EVs on the UK roads, the revolution of the private transportation sector is undeniable. Electric cars are here, and at their forefront are tech-focused, always-connected vehicles like the Tesla Model 3, an EV that ranked among the UK’s most popular new cars in 2019.
With this in mind, it’s essential that an always-connected and purpose-built insurance policy, specifically designed to cover these cars, exists. This is where UK-based insurance provider By Miles comes into the picture.
By Miles offers a unique, custom policy model for lower mileage EV drivers in the UK. The company has launched the world’s first connected car insurance policy which takes information about the distance driven directly from your Tesla or LEAF or i3 etc to work out how much premium to charge.
The policy by Miles needs to know your miles driven. Either this can be read from your car’s on-line account if you drive a Tesla or they send you a dongle to plugi nto the dashboard.
The company’s concept is simple: owners are charged by the mile, regardless of how they drive their vehicles.
Tesla owners that drive under 7,000 miles a year could end up paying significantly less with a By Miles custom-built Tesla policy, compared to a more traditional car insurance policy. Other EV drivers can still benefit from the EV per mile policy using the supplied dongle.
UK new car car sales plunged 44pc in March as coronavirus drove away motorists and shut down the industry.
Just 255,000 vehicles were sold in the UK last month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – down from 458,000 a year earlier.
Dealers had reported social distancing measures making it hard to sell cars even before the lockdown began on March 23, sending the economy into freefall and causing consumers to rethink major outlays.
Also consumers are still scared of diesels with sales down 62% Y on Y.
The only bright spot in the SMMT list is the pure electric and plug in hybrids with sales increase on 200% and 40% respectively. Together these segments shifted 18,500 units in the month.
Pure-EVs reached their highest ever total, with almost 11,700 registered during the month. The previous record was a little over 7,700, in September 2019.
Plug in Hybrid EVs also set a new record for units registered, though somewhat closer than EV figures. March 2020 saw just over 6,800 sold, whilst the previous record in March 2018 was almost 6,400.
As might be expected with such a large increase on EV units registered, market share for pure-electric models hit a new record too. March 2020’s figure saw 7.3% of all new models registered as plug-in models, and pure-electric market share was 4.6%. Put into perspective, the previous records were 6.3% (Dec 19) and 3.4% (Aug 19) respectively.
March is normally the biggest month for sales as buyers are attracted by the launch of a new registration plate number. Without the plate change the decline would have been even steeper, as many consumers agree deals further in advance than normal. The SMMT data shows it was the worst March in more than 20 years for registrations of new cars, a proxy for sales.
These large increases over February 2020 are expected to a degree, since March is a new-registration month, and the month prior to a new plate being launched is traditionally quiet as buyers wait. However, March 2020 has been stronger than many would have predicted.
Tesla 3 tops best sellers at #9
Although unclear, March looks as though an EV has made the top 10 monthly sales charts, for only the second time. Listed ninth, under ‘Other’ a little over 4,700 units were registered. This is likely to be Tesla’s Model 3, since the manufacturer is not currently a member of the SMMT.
Data from SMMT, Zap Map and Green Car
Reports suggest the all-electric Aston Martin isn’t going into production after all.
In 2017, Aston Martin confirmed that an electric version of the Rapide would go into production before the end of 2019. Well, it’s now 2020 and there still is no electric Aston Martin model in production.
According to AutoCar , this is because the project has been scrapped. Or the idea of putting the model into production has been scrapped anyway. In fact, the British motoring magazine has been told by “a source close to the firm” that Rapide E wil be going back to concept form and will be used to develop electric technology for future models.
The Rapide E was first revealed in 2015 as a concept and confirmed for production in 2017. Aston had essentially finished the car’s development by the time it made its dynamic debut at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was planned to make limited production at the end of last year, with 155 examples mooted at an undisclosed price.
Over the past couple of months, the British luxury brand has been looking for new investment with rumoured talks taking place with Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.
Recently the company’s CEO, Andy Palmer dubbed the 2019 financial year as “very disappointing” as shares dropped to a record low of less than £4.
Stroll – who is owner of the Racing Point Formula One team and father of Formula One driver Lance Stroll – will look to inject £200 million as the company tries to get to grips with its mounting debt pile, Bloomberg reported. The Canadian tycoon was first linked with Aston back in December and believes the firm’s current low stock value makes it a good investment opportunity.
It is understood he wants a seat on Aston Martin’s board of directors if he goes ahead with his investment.
Stroll built his £2 billion fortune by investing in fashion labels including Pierre Cardin, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
But he is not the only billionaire linked to Aston and last week reports said it had also held talks with Chinese steel magnate Li Shufu. He owns Geely Group. Geely, which controls Sweden’s Volvo, Britain’s Lotus Cars and holds a minority stake in Daimler, is primarily interested in a technology-sharing deal that could benefit businesses such as Lotus.
At present private equity firms Investindustrial and Kuwait’s Adeem control more than 60% of Aston Martin.
Its decision to pull the plug on the Rapide E may be in order to focus on the DBX SUV that, arguably, will appeal to a wider audience. Hopefully, this will be the saviour of one of the UK’s most infamous companies, let alone motoring brands.
Less green than the Rapid E the SUV has a 4.0 litre V8 with twin turbos. The claimed MPG EC combined test rocks in at 14. Your milage may be different..
Nissan sales in Europe are hurting with revenue down 25% in 2019. In the first 10 months of the year Nissan sold 334,500 cars in the EU.
To flip the chart back into growth Nissan plan to replace every model in its SUV range in Europe within the next 18 months and launch new models.
The electric SUV previewed by the Ariya concept at the Tokyo auto show in November should arrive late 2020 or early 2021.
The car uses a platform shared with partner Renault and will sit at the premium end of the SUV market.
Nissan relies on SUVs such the compact Qashqai, small Juke and midsize X-trail for most of its volume in Europe but the aging range has contributed to falling demand for the brand that is mianly Diesel powered.
Nissan started the European rollout of its latest generation Juke last month. The SUV replaces the model first unveiled in 2010. It is underpinned by the same platform used by alliance partner Renault for the Clio small car and Captur small SUV. Nissan is dropping the Juke’s diesel engine due to falling demand for the powertrain.
Nissan will unveil the new Qashqai in September, 2020. The Qashqai is Nissan’s best-seller in Europe, with 183,896 sold in the first 10 months, down 11 % for the year. Nissan will drop diesel versions of the next Qashqai and introduce its E-power hybrid technology that has been a big success for the brand in Japan.
Both the X-trail and Qashqai are expected to be offered with alliance partner Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid system used in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Nissan took a controlling stake in Mitsubishi in 2017 when then CEO Carlos Ghosn managed the group with a strategic view.
In 2018, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was the best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle in Europe across all segments for the fourth consecutive year.
This year it’s being challenged by the new BMW 330e Plug In.
The four new models mean Nissan would have one of the youngest passenger car lineups of any brand in Europe. The company replaced the Micra small car in 2017 and Leaf EV in 2018.
In Japan, Nissan announced today that it will push a package of tech improvements to the Leaf.
None of the Leaf’s tech improvements are ground-shaking. The navigation system will allow drivers to set a destination and see all available electric-car charging stations along the way. Driver-assist features will now include blind-spot detection and faster automated parking. The Leaf’s enhanced mobile-app connectivity feature will improve status updates like vehicle location and allow remotely locking/unlocking the car. And it will allow you to see vehicle speed and location when somebody else is driving your Leaf.
What Car? is a well regarded if not exciting British Journal covering the nitty grityy busines of buying owning cars and allways has rather factutal focus. Some would say a dull read.
However it is well regarded espicially for its long reviews and comparisoions culminating in Car of the Year. The 2020 long list has just been published.
Highlighting the growing demand for electric vehicles in the UK, the 2020 awards mark the introduction of small electric car and large electric car categories, where previously there was a single electric car award.
Among the contenders in the small electric car category is the Kia e-Niro, which was named overall Car of the Year at the 2019 ceremony. Meanwhile, electric cars being considered for the first time this year include the Audi E-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Renault Zoe and Tesla Model 3.
What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “More so than ever, the models on our Car of the Year long list show the sheer variety of great cars UK motorists have to choose from. Indeed, this is one of the biggest long lists we’ve had in more than 40 years of doing these awards.
“Next year is set to be a big year for electric cars, so we felt it was only right to recognise a wider variety of electric vehicles for the increasing number of motorists who are looking to go green.What Car? editor Steve Huntingford
“Every model on our long list stands out in its own way, though; the judging panel will have a hard time whittling the choices down to pick the category winners and the overall Car of the Year 2020.”
The What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2020 will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Mayfair on Tuesday 14 January 2020.
The full list of nominees in the Hybrid and EV categories are below.
Who would you vote for?
Small electric car – new category
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Kia Soul EV
MG ZS EV
Seat Mii Electric
Skoda Citigo iEV
Large electric car – new category
Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model S Long Range
Tesla Model X Long Range
Audi Q5 TFSIe
Audi Q7 TFSIe
BMW X5 xDrive45e
DS7 Crossback E-Tense
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in
Skoda Superb PHEV
Volkswagen Passat GTE
Volvo S60 T8
Volvo XC90 T8 – defending champion
Honda CR-V Hybrid
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid – defending champion
Hyundai Kona Hybrid
Subaru Forester e-Boxer
Subaru XV e-Boxer
Toyota Prius facelift
Toyota Yaris Hybrid
Award ceremony on January 14th 2020