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ETI appoints TRL to lead integrated energy and transport project to encourage wider adoption of plug-in vehicles

Energy Technologies Institute

4 min read Partner content

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has appointed TRL, the UKs Transport Research Laboratory, to lead its Consumers, Vehicles and Energy Integration (CVEI) project

The project, will examine how the UK energy system needs to adapt in order to accommodate and encourage greater adoption of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

  • ETI appoints TRL to deliver new transport technology project
  • The ETI will invest up to £5 million in the two-year project which aims to understand the required changes to market structures and energy supply systems in order to encourage wider adoption of plug-in vehicles and their integration into the energy system
  • The project will also analyse the technical implications of any changes and how people might respond to them

The £5million project aims to understand the required changes to existing infrastructure, as well as consumer response to a wider introduction of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles in the UK. The project will be led by independent transport specialists, TRL, supported by Element Energy, Baringa Partners and Cenex. Other team members include EDF Energy, Route Monkey, EV Connect and the University of Aberdeen.

The two-year project will be carried out in two stages. The first stage will focus on detailed analysis and design of market, policy and regulatory frameworks, business models and customer offerings, electricity and liquid fuel infrastructure and technologies throughout the energy system as well as at charging and refueling points and on-vehicle. This will be supported by insights from consumers and fleets into use of plug-in vehicles.

The second stage will deliver a trial involving over 300 mass market users to validate the impact of solutions identified in stage one and understand consumer and fleet responses to the vehicles and to managed charging schemes.

The project is expected to deliver the following outcomes:

Relevant technology developments for both vehicles and energy infrastructure
Details of the market structures and business propositions needed to support a transition to and operation of a cost-effective UK energy system for low carbon vehicles
Understanding of how the selected technology and market structures should be integrated
Understanding of how consumers might respond to different offerings in relation to vehicles, their fuelling/charging and demand management mechanisms
Validation of the systems and their impacts through a trial with mass market users.

Outputs from the project will be made publicly available throughout the project.

ETI project manager, Nick Eraut, said:

“Light vehicles account for up to 20% of UK CO2 emissions and are a major contributor to congestion and urban air quality so it is important that emissions from the light vehicle sector are reduced if the UK’s 2050 emissions targets are to be met cost effectively.

“This unique, strategic project will help us to understand the optimum future systems which will maximise the benefits of integrating low carbon vehicles into the UK’s energy system.

“As well as looking at the system and market structure changes we also want to know how people would respond to a greater adoption of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, and engagement with demand management schemes, that would see them move from a niche choice of vehicle to the mainstream.”

TRL project manager, Jenny Stannard, added:

“We’re already starting to see a sizeable shift in acceptance of electric vehicles in the UK. However, as more vehicles become electrified, we need to understand the pressure this extra demand will put on our energy networks, as well as the potential opportunities it will bring.

“We also need to understand how consumers will respond and engage with these vehicles in order to develop an appropriate energy system that meets the needs of all parties. The CVEI project is the first and only project to analyse each of these elements in tandem - from energy demand and supply through to consumer usage and response. This not only provides a holistic picture of the energy demand, use and supply surrounding plug-in vehicles, but will generate the required evidence to inform policy makers and long term infrastructure investment in the UK.”

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