From IntelliCasa to IntelliCharga: Smart Charging Solutions for EVs
The demand for EVs has risen dramatically over the last five years in the UK. The goal to replace fossil fuels with more eco-friendly alternatives is of paramount importance when it comes to power out transport and EVs are the way forward. With the growing interest in environmentally friendly alternatives in the United Kingdom, all new cars and vans are projected to be emission-free by 2040 with an EV market penetration of 90% by 2050 (Shyang, et al. 2020).
However, the current infrastructure is not ready for this rapid change, while many practical implications arise from this fast adoption. The main threat to the power grid from the large scale adoption of EVs is uncontrolled “dumb” charging. Currently, EV owners are practising uncontrolled charging methods by charging their EVs at the time of peak demand. This can lead to grid overloading, especially during the peak loading hours and in return to power quality problems and voltage imbalances at power substations. A study published by IEEE (Shyang, et al. 2020) shows that a 10% penetration of EVs would raise peak demand by up to 17.9%, while 20% penetration would raise it to 35.8%. In fact, improving network capacity and infrastructure, to accommodate increased demand at peak times can cost an additional £30bn in the next 30 years if uncontrolled charging persists. Hence, there is a need for smarter, cost-effective solutions to support the new grid requirements.
In order to solve this issue, IntelliCasa is collaborating closely with the UCL EEE department under the MOU agreement signed back in 2018 between the two parties and started a research project with the UCL research team led by Dr Ryan Grammenos and the students Koe Boon Shyang, Heejoon Koo, Rami Chahine and Atijit Anuchitanukul. The IntelliCasa directors Elie Kfoury and Konstantinos Karagiannis started the EV project with City University back in 2018 and continued their efforts to innovate in this area with the UCL department in 2020.
The project aims to solve the “dumb” charging issue by presenting the IntelliCharga smart charging solution. Smart charging solutions can ensure that EVs have sufficient energy for their user’s daily journeys whilst prolonging battery life; features that would otherwise not be available through dumb charging. For instance, EV’s battery life is extended by typically limiting the operating charge between 25 - 85% (Shyang, et al. 2020). The purpose of this project is to design a customer-oriented, adaptable, smart EV charging system that works in conjunction with smart home and building projects. The system is expected to reduce grid overload duration by up to 82% (Shyang, et al. 2020), and reduce the cost of EV charging and yearly battery performance degradation by up to 40% and 10% respectively, compared to uncontrolled charging. IntelliCharga will compute the optimal time periods to charge vehicles to mainly reduce charging expenditure due to the daily fluctuation of energy tariff prices.
IntelliCasa acts as an industry advisor to the project by guiding the research team about the potential implications of the smart charging solution and how it can be integrated into existing smart home systems and the future smart grid. Furthermore, the company is providing the dataset from its’ EV fleet for analysis.
The first phase of the project has been recently completed and we are anticipating the second phase that will bring some real application examples to enlighten the team with more insights on the matter.
Shyang, Koe Boon, Heejoon Koo, Rami Chahine, and Atijit Anuchitanukul. Smart Residential EV Charging System Based On Dynamic Time-Of-Use (TOU). Interim Report, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College London (UCL), London: University College London (UCL), 2020.