Milton Keynes electric-car owners invited to charging technology trial

Smart charging, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and battery storage technology included; equipment can be retained

Nissan Leaf electric car charging

Electric car owners in Milton Keynes are being invited to take part in a trial of new charging equipment, including smart chargers, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems and battery storage setups. For a fee, participants will have the option of keeping the equipment at the end of the study.

The 'Domestic Energy Balancing EV Charging' project is investigating ways of balancing the peaks and troughs of electricity demand associated with domestic electric vehicle charging. It's being delivered on behalf of Milton Keynes Council by CrowdCharge, with Flexitricity as energy demand response partner.

Smart chargers (which are already required if you want to avail of the government's wallbox charger grant) can be set up to begin and end charging at specific times, in order to take advantage of cheaper overnight electricity tariffs or periods of lower overall demand on the power grid.

V2G systems allow an electric car to be turned into a power storage unit, taking energy from the grid at certain times and then selling it back when required. Battery storage systems, meanwhile, allow energy generated by solar panels or wind turbines (which otherwise has to be used immediately) to be stored up and deployed when needed – for example, to charge an electric car.

Participants in the project will receive an incentive award of at least £10 a month – as long as a minimum level of participation is maintained; this includes charging your electric car for a full cycle 10 times a month for the project's 12-month duration.

Those taking part will also be able to keep the equipment at the end of the trial for ownership transfer fees of £100 for the smart charger, £250 for the V2G charger and £250 for the stationary battery storage device.

A limited number of drivers of any make or model of electric vehicle resident in the Milton Keynes Council area can apply to be part of the project. However, the V2G element of the trial is limited to owners of Nissan electric vehicles with a battery capacity of at least 30kWh.

Those who wish to take part should visit www.crowd-charge.com for more information. Due to the current government coronavirus restrictions, no home visits for the installation of equipment will be taking place just yet; the timescales for installations are subject to confirmation based on government advice.