The energy technology company Octopus Energy, together with other industry leading partners, has secured funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for two pioneering projects in EV charging infrastructure. The projects will investigate how the secure smart metering system can be used to optimise on-street EV charging, to use electricity when it is at its cheapest or greenest, and to help balance the grid in a future renewable energy system.
Both projects will feature time-of-use energy tariffs, allowing users to charge their electric cars during off-peak hours when prices are lower. They will help the uptake of EVs by supporting the development of public charge points for drivers without driveways or garages who cannot charge at home charging stations. As part of both research trials, Octopus Energy will provide the renewable electricity used to power the next generation of smart on-street electric vehicle chargers.
The first project, Agile Streets, will develop a new business model to encourage EV drivers to switch to a flexible charging schedule while connected to new on-street charge points developed for the trial. The second project, SmartSTEP, will integrate smart meter technology with novel charge points, which were developed as part of the Innovate UK STEP project (Subsurface Technology for Electric Pathways). The charge points are slotted into the pavement and accessed via a separate “Trojan Energy Lance” issued to users.
Agile Streets and SmartSTEP are the only projects funded under the governments ‘Beyond Off Street’ programme. Phase 1 of the trials began in July 2020. Both projects will also join Octopus Energy’s Electric Juice Charging Network, which offers electric vehicle drivers a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution to pay for all their charging, covering different partner networks and charge points all across the UK.
Zoisa Walton, Director of Octopus Energy for Business, comments: “Whether on streets, at petrol stations or in the home, we need electric vehicle chargers to be accessible everywhere if the green energy revolution is to keep powering ahead.
“We’re incredibly proud to have been picked to lead, together with our partners, the development of the next generation of charging infrastructure, enabled by smart meters, with these two projects. Creating an effortless smart charging network is crucial to dispel concerns of EV critics and accelerate the electrification of transport.”