The innovative Shift project is at the forefront of the fundamental change in which electric vehicles are a major pillar in the UK’s low-carbon revolution. Shift is a nationally-significant trial that could revolutionise the electric vehicle industry.
We know from our SmartCAR project that smart charging solutions could save customers money and help manage the network, but this is the first time any company has set out to discover how. Our market-led approach includes entech supplier Octopus Energy, intelligent energy platform Kaluza and charge point operators. We are exploring the different business models and market mechanisms to deliver benefits from smart charging by designing new solutions that enable us to control the flow of power from the network into the vehicle’s battery, and from the vehicle into the grid.
Shift aims to:
Our customers and the wider EV industry have told electricity networks that they are strongly in favour of having choice when it comes to how and when they charge, and receiving financial incentives for doing so. Shift will recruit up to 1,000 members of the public who own an electric vehicle and charge it at home, across London, the South East and East of England, and offer them a financial incentive to charge their vehicle off-peak. From the trial, we’re developing a large-scale, smart charging solution that can be rolled out nationwide by flexibility service providers like chargepoint operators, aggregators and energy suppliers.
Smart charging trials to date in the UK have been focused on an interim solution of a DNO-led intervention to protect LV networks at risk of overload due to increasing EV connections. These projects have not investigated a longer-term solution due to the pressing need for progress on the interim solution, and also due to the fact that various critical wider industry questions are still unanswered. The SmartCAR NIA project has developed feasible designs for market-led smart charging. However, this has not yet been demonstrated in practice, therefore it is now the time to engage with the market and mobilise trials to explore how these designs will work in reality, and to deploy the smart solutions required on network level to enable smart charging.
Shift will develop a deeper understanding of the value and potential of low voltage flexibility. It will also help build the investment case by exploring the liquidity, speed of take up and the scale of the market. In real terms, Shift is enabling us to create a smart charging solution that works for our customers. We are gathering their feedback throughout the trial in focus groups and workshops to understand what works best for them.
The project will enable our customers to have access to the benefits of the fast-emerging flexibility market while supporting the increased adoption of decarbonised transport. Shift is using industry-leading Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology to create a more dynamic, efficient energy network while helping the UK meet its climate emission targets. The benefits are enormous; continued adoption of commercial electric vehicles alone in the UK will save more than 2.7 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.