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Low carbon energy consultancy Element Energy said it would head a consortium to deliver on street electric vehicle charging infrastructure, enabled by smart meters to integrate seamlessly with the existing electricity network.

The consortium includes charge point start up Trojan Energy, renewable electricity provider Octopus Energy, and meter maker Landis+Gyr.

As part of its Beyond Off Street programme, the UK government's department for business energy & industrial strategy (BEIS) recently awarded GBP856,000 of funding through its energy innovation programme to the smart subsurface technology for electric pathways (SmartStep) project which aims to incorporate smart functionality to on street charge points being developed by Trojan Energy.

Trojan's technology aims to facilitate on street charging for the roughly 30% of UK households which do not have access to off street parking.

Smart charging allows customers to access EV charging when electricity is cheapest by automatically shifting the charging period to overnight, or other times of generally lower electricity demand. This will be crucial to balancing the loads on the local electricity distribution network, especially as more and more intermittent renewable electricity generating capacity such as wind and solar is connected.

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By GlobalData

Whilst smart charging is already in use for home charging and at dedicated public EV charging bays, SmartStep will be the first demonstration of smart charging in shared parking spaces on residential streets. This trial will involve charge points slotted into the pavement which will provide access to charging for those that do not have driveways or garages.

The project is split into two phases: one involves the design, development and testing of the system. In this phase, already underway, Trojan Energy are working alongside Landis+Gyr and Octopus Energy to develop an effective smart charging system. Using the latest technology pioneered by Landis+Gyr as the major supplier in the national smart meter roll out, the charging system will benefit from the most advanced SMETS2 functionalities. These smart meters are connected to the national smart metering system and supporting seamless switching between energy suppliers.  

Octopus Energy will be providing access and integration with their Agile tariff which allows lower cost renewable energy prices through incentivising off-peak usage.

Should phase one be successful, in phase two the smart charging system will be trialled. SmartStep builds on the Step project (funded by OLEV) which will see 200 Trojan charge points deployed on streets in the London boroughs of Brent and Camden from spring 2021. SmartStep will involve upgrading 100 of these devices with smart meters. A crucial aspect of the project will be determining the user experience for customers during the trial.