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This project ended in Oct 2019 and is now closed.

Electric Nation

Formerly CarConnect

Funding mechanismNetwork Innovation Allowance (NIA)
DurationApr 2016 - Oct 2019
Project expenditure5.9 million
Research areaLow Carbon Technologies
  • South West
  • South Wales
  • West Midlands
  • East Midlands
  • October 2019

    Project now closed


The objective of this project is to equip GB Distribution Network Operators with the tools and solutions to enable them to manage PIV market growth by:

  1. Assessing their (non-meshed) LV networks to predict which parts of their LV network will be susceptible to PIV penetration;
  2. Determining whether PIV/V2G demand control services can be used to avoid or defer reinforcement;
  3. Monitor LV networks to detect PIV charger installation growth; and 
  4. Procure and deploy PIV/V2G demand control solutions as soon PIV induced LV network stresses arise.


As groups of neighbours acquire Plug-in Vehicles (PIVs), localised clustering of demand is likely to cause challenges for electricity networks, as proven through the (Low Carbon Networks Fund) My Electric Avenue (MEA) project. MEA showed that approximately 30% of GB low voltage networks will need reinforcement by 2050, if adoption of electrification of transport is widespread (i.e. meeting DECC’s High EV Market Growth Forecast). This represents a present day cost of £2.2bn to UK customers – Transform Model® analysis, based on UK Government forecasts of nearly 40 million PIVs on UK roads by that time. The UK Government is committed to the electrification of transport – as illustrated by its recent investment into ultra-low carbon vehicles such as its extension of grants for PIV chargers, PIV car subsidies and the Go Ultra Low Cities Scheme.

In addition, vehicle to grid (V2G) services and associated technologies are being developed in the UK and abroad. The impact of mass V2G services on LV networks needs to be understood, especially as some V2G services (such as transmission frequency services) may adversely affect distribution network operations, in a similar way to solar PV generation. V2G could be a solution as much as a problem for LV network congestion, in that export mode could be used to address peak PIV demands - but as V2G has not been developed sufficiently at this time this is a poorly understood option. Furthermore, adapting the PIV demand control services to utilise V2G export mode to address PIV induced peak loads has not been proven. This tool and the conflict between PIV demand control to meet DNO DSR needs and other services V2G can provide has not been investigated.


This project will use three methods to enable DNOs to identify which parts of their network are likely to be affected by PIV/V2G uptake, and whether PIV demand control services are a cost effective solution to avoiding or deferring reinforcement on vulnerable parts of their networks.

Method 1: Modelling

This project will provide DNOs with an assessment tool to predict where PIV/V2G market penetration may cause network challenges.
This tool will, firstly, enable assessment of all (non-meshed) LV networks in a DNO’s license areas to identify those most likely to be affected by PIV penetration. Secondly, the tool will enable more detailed assessment of those LV networks identified as being susceptible to PIV penetration to identify the level of PIV penetration that would present a problem and trigger reinforcement and enable assessment of PIV demand control and V2G as solutions to avoid or defer reinforcement.

Method 2: Monitoring

This project will develop an algorithm deployable on an existing substation monitoring facility that will enable the effect of PIVs on a LV network to be retrospectively analysed and allow the measureable impact to be compared against the modelling tool output.

Method 3: Mitigation

This project will adapt existing smart charger technology, including V2G chargers as they become ready to deploy and existing commercial charger management services and deploy these in a mass-market customer trial to prove the technical/economic viability of PIV/V2G demand control to avoid or defer network reinforcement and to prove that such systems are acceptable to customers. The customer trial will include a wide range of PIVs, with a range of battery sizes and charging rates to prove such systems can be deployed in a future with a diverse PIV market.


To find out more about this project, visit