Enter a new demonstration project from the Australian state of Victoria. As part of the Victorian Department of Transport’s Electric Vehicle Trial, the firm DiUS outfitted ten electric-car-owning homes with their ChargeIQ system. The participants could pick “on demand” charging, which works the same way recharging something like an electric razor or drill works — you plug it in, and it immediately starts drawing power. Or they could pick the “smart” charging option, using the ChargeIQ’s smart grid technology to manage the charging of their cars. This would allow them to monitor their charging from a website or a smartphone app, respond to suggestions for the best time to charge, make choices, and react to unanticipated events.
The designers used flexible pricing so participants could respond to peak and off-peak costs, and they were even occasionally hit with simulated events such as an outage due to weather, a demand peak, or a heat wave to see how they’d respond. The result? Participants using the smart grid option cut their charging costs in half, and the electrical utility itself enjoyed less strain and smoother power utilization.
Based on residential electricity tariffs and the project outcomes, Victorian electric vehicle drivers could save around $250 per year, or around 50 per cent on their charging costs, by adopting ‘Smart’ charging practices. Grid-integrated ‘Smart’ charging technology would deliver this saving without sacrifice or effort on their part.
Managing electric vehicle charging at the network level will not only defer costly infrastructure upgrades through peak demand management, but may deliver better returns on existing investments through improved asset utilization. Grid-integrated ‘Smart’ charging technology would deliver these benefits and avoid creation of a ‘second peak’ in electricity demand as drivers individually defer charging to the off-peak period. Importantly, the outcome from these improvements will be lower costs for all electricity consumers – not just those who drive EVs.
“Using ChargeIQ to manage EV charging through the Smart Grid, the project has demonstrated how EVs can be integrated into our electricity networks — easily, conveniently and cheaply,” said Clency Coutet, Director at/of DiUS Computing, arguing for the global relevance of some of the demonstration’s findings.