On 23 August, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) published a consultation response outlining potential solutions to avoid negative consequences of the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) such as overloads on local electricity networks. The proposed interim solution would see the installation of a monitoring device at the local electricity substation and – with customer consent – in domestic properties, that would allow network operators to temporarily adjust EV charging when required. Stewart Reid, Head of DSO and Innovation at SSEN, said: “As a responsible network operator, it is our job to ensure the transition to electric vehicles is as smooth as possible, developing cost-effective, smart technology interventions to manage this demand without unnecessary upgrades to GB networks and disruption to consumers.”

The consultation is part of SSEN’s Smart EV project which looks to target the main restrictions to expanding EV infrastructure. Key focuses of the scheme include:

  • Reducing the lack of electricity network capacity
  • Successfully charging multiple EV’s at the same time on a network, and
  • Considering stakeholders views and longer-term solutions

There are currently doubts over the electricity network’s ability to support expected rises in the uptake of electric vehicles. With the Governments choice to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and a case for this deadline to be moved forward to 2030, consumers will be forced to switch to an alternative mode of transport. With electrification of vehicles currently a favourable route in the automobile industry, the capabilities of the electricity network will need to be improved in line with adoption of such EVs.

In order to assist with upgrading the electricity network, the project will look into managed EV charging solutions. This would involve installation of monitoring devices at local electricity substations, as well as in domestic properties, to allow for adjustment of EV charging at times when the electricity networks are overloaded.

In order to be successful, the project believes opinions from sets of stakeholders will be crucial in determining “the most viable solutions for all concerned”. Relevant stakeholders include charging point manufacturers, installers, energy suppliers, EV manufacturers, network operators and policy makers.

With current solutions already identified, SSEN hopes to create further transparency in the most viable paths for an EV transition.