EV Smart chargers to be rolled out across Australia in new government funded trial

The Federal Government are looking to super-charge their investment in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure after partnering with Origin Energy to conduct a two-year charging trial to better understand the benefits and barriers of widespread smart charging in Australia.

The $2.9 million trial will see 150 smart electric chargers rolled-out at residential, commercial and industrial premises of new and existing EV owners in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT to monitor their driving and charging habits over two-years.

Through the government’s renewable energy body, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), $838,000 in funding will be provided to Origin, with the smart chargers set to be integrated into Origin’s existing distributed energy resource platform.

Origin will also monitor and control the smart chargers, allowing them to control the charge rate when an EV is plugged-in to minimise the impacts of EV charging on the grid during peak usage times and maximising the use of renewable energy.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the trial was an important step in evaluating how an increase in EV charging can be integrated into the electricity grid without placing excess stress on the network.

“As the uptake of EVs increases, it will be important to efficiently manage the charging of vehicles, to avoid potentially costly impacts on peak demand, associated network charges and grid security issues,” said Miller.

“Smart charging enables charging at times when demand is lowest and electricity is cheapest, which reduces the burden on the network and the cost to the customer.”

The effects of EV charging on electricity demand and prices has long been considered a barrier to the uptake of the vehicles in Australia.

However, understanding how smart charging could diminish this impact and even benefit the grid through vehicle-to-grid technology will provide a clearer picture of the many benefits of EVs in Australia outside of reduced emissions, which may lead to increased uptake and investment in the technology.

ARENA is also funding a vehicle to grid trial in Canberra which will see 51 electric Nissan Leafs used to explore the possibility of supplying electricity from the battery back into the grid to stabilise the network when demand is high.

“It is well known that electricity costs much less than petrol in terms of powering cars and light-duty commercial vehicles. However, EVs provide additional economic opportunities for consumers through the potential of further reduced electricity costs from higher network utilisation and possible revenue generation via technologies such as vehicle-to-grid technology which ARENA is also supporting,” said Miller.

Source: ARENA | Accelerating the uptake of smart chargers for electric vehicles

11 August 2020

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