Government-funded research projects aim to harness time-of-use renewables tariffs with smart metering systems
Octopus Energy has unveiled plans for two research projects geared at exploring how home smart metering systems for electric vehicles (EVs) can enable on-street charging infrastructure to use electricity when it is at its cheapest and greenest, in a bid to help expand access to EVs while simultaneously balancing the electricity grid.
Both projects, which have secured government funding from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), are aimed at harnessing Octopus Energy's time-of-use home renewable electricity tariffs, which allow users to charge their electric cars during off-peak hours when prices are low.
Utilising the flexibility of these tariffs, Octopus Energy also hopes to help improve the accessibility of public charge points for drivers without driveways or garages - who cannot therefore host their own home charging points - which is seen one of the major challenges in the shift to widespread EV adoption.
The first project, named Agile Streets, aims to design a business model that incentivises EV drivers to switch to a flexible charging schedule while connected to new on-street charge points specifically developed for the trial.
The second project, meanwhile - dubbed SmartSTEP - aims to integrate smart meter technology with new charge points situated underground. Developed in part by the government's innovation agency Innovate UK and Trojan Energy, the charge points are slotted into the pavement.
"Creating an effortless smart charging network is crucial to dispel concerns of EV critics and accelerate the electrification of transport," said Zoisa Walton, director of Octopus Energy for Business. "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."
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