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My Electric Avenue Wins Northern Automotive Alliance Innovation Award

By Maddy Price
Monday, November 16, 2015 - 20:30

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EA Technology has won the Northern Automotive Alliance (NAA) Innovation Award 2015, sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover, for its My Electric Avenue project.

My Electric Avenue is a pioneering project that has been examining the impact of electric vehicles (EVs) on the local electricity network as sales of EVs continue to rise. The project has been addressing two key, previously unanswered questions:

  • Can local electricity networks cope when large numbers of EVs are charged at peak times?
  • If not, what can we do about it?

My Electric Avenue has been working with specially created clusters of neighbours around the country who have all been driving Nissan LEAF electric cars for 18 months. This has been carried out to mimic a future scenario where many people in an area choose to use a pure electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

The My Electric Avenue project has been led by EA Technology and hosted by Scottish and Southern Power Distribution, and is partially funded through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund. EA Technology is an employee-owned organisation offering high-tech instruments, software, electrical services and technical consultancy to the operators of power networks around the world. Through its Smart Interventions business it delivers innovative end-to-end solutions to facilitate the introduction of low carbon technologies to future proof electricity networks, resulting in lower cost connections, prompt adoption and reduced risk to business.

Other partners in My Electric Avenue are Nissan (EV supplier), Fleetdrive Electric (EV rental programme management), Zero Carbon Futures (charging point network developer) and Northern Powergrid (participating DNO). In addition there are two academic partners, the University of Manchester (providing network modelling support), and De Montfort University (providing socio-economic support). Ricardo has been providing independent technical verification to the project.

The project set out to look for ten ‘electric avenues’ – groups or ‘clusters’, with ten people or more – where each person would drive an electric car for 18 months to trial a new technology, ‘Esprit’, which would monitor and control the electricity used when their car was being charged. The Esprit system is designed to avoid any potential power outages and damage to network infrastructure by temporarily curtailing high load devices to reduce the overall load on a single feeder or transformer.

My Electric Avenue can demonstrate innovation in a number of areas, including that it is:

THE FIRST PROJECT TO FOCUS PURELY ON THE IMPACT OF EVS ON THE LOCAL ELECTRICITY NETWORK

My Electric Avenue has been the first project to focus on how best to manage the local electricity network when a large number of EVs charge in the same street at the same time.

THE FIRST PROJECT TO DIRECTLY CONTROL DOMESTIC EV CHARGING

My Electric Avenue has been the first trial that directly controls domestic EV charging to prevent underground cables, overhead lines and substations being overloaded – as well as exploring the acceptance amongst EV drivers of direct control of their charging.

THE FIRST PROJECT WITH COMMUNICATION OF THIS TYPE FROM A HOUSE TO A SUBSTATION

Technical innovation: The first trial using technology which monitors and controls the demand on the local electricity network as a result of the charging of EVs, communicating from an individual’s house or commercial premises to an electricity substation.

THE FIRST PROJECT OF ITS KIND MANAGED BY A PRIVATE COMPANY

Commercial innovation: This is the first time a private company, EA Technology, rather than an electricity company (i.e. a Distribution Network Operator or DNO) has led and managed an Ofgem Low Carbon Networks Fund project. It has created a blueprint for how DNOs and third parties can work together in this way in the future.

My Electric Avenue will be announcing its final results at a conference at the IMechE in London on 3 December 2015. Registration for this free event is essential, to book a place please contact Gill Nowell on 0151 347 2359 or via myelectricavenue@eatechnology.com

The NAA Awards took place in Cheshire on 12th November 2015, featuring keynote speaker Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd (SMMT), with an audience of 300 members of the Northern and national automotive community.

The event also marked the expansion of the Northwest Automotive Alliance to the Northern Automotive Alliance. The core area covered by the NAA now includes the whole of the M62 corridor, ensuring all automotive companies within the Northern Powerhouse have access to a local network.

The NAA Awards event, sponsored by Bentley Motors, with additional sponsors STRIVE (Simulation Tools for Rapid Innovation in Vehicle Engineering) and TWISTER (Titanium Wire for Innovative Spring Technologies and Emissions Reduction), showcased the successes of the vehicle manufacturers and supply chain companies in the region.

Find out more at www.myelectricavenue.info

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