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Over 100,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were being used on UK roads back in 2017. With the UK Government banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2032 in Scotland, and 2040 for the rest of the UK this number is projected to increase to over 40 million by 2050.

The UK’s electricity distribution network is not designed to cope with these additional charging demands, and the increase in Plug In Vehicles (PIV) use has the potential to cause significant problems. This issue is heightened by expected huge peaks in demand, for example when everyone returns home from work and plugs in their car at 6pm.

This capacity issue could be alleviated by a smart charging system (Demand Management System) which manages the charging between people’s vehicles and the electricity substation. Rahul Roy is a Graduate Researcher at the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, Lancaster University. Funded through the Eco-Innovation Cheshire & Warrington project, Rahul is working with EA Technology to forecast demand and investigate the attributes which affect energy demand when clusters of PIVs draw power from the distribution network simultaneously. The project will develop a toolkit which allows network operators to identify which parts of their network are likely to be affected by the future adoption of electric vehicles and recommend the most economical solution to solve any issues this could cause.

EA Technology is a specialist in asset management solutions for owners and operators of electrical assets. It is committed to providing customers with innovative products, services, consultancy and training which enables them to create safer, stronger and smarter networks for today and the future.

Nick Storer, Project Director, at EA Technology says "This research is essential if we are to meet the future energy demand created by the increased adoption of electric vehicles. The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy has shown this to be an important area of development which we’re proud to be contributing to."

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) says that electric vehicles offer CO2 savings of 40-50% compared to average combustion engine vehicles. This includes full lifecycle emissions including manufacture, use and electricity generation. Electric Nation predicts that intervention using smart technology, rather than installing a huge number of new cables, will give an economic saving of around £2.2 billion by 2050. Causing less disruption and minimising the environmental impact.

Eco-Innovation Cheshire and Warrington is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is a partnership between the University of Chester and Lancaster University.

If you’re an SME looking for support to a develop low carbon product or service please get in touch with Stephen at the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation on 01524 510745 or email