Smarter Grid Solutions turbocharges electric car roll-out in £8m project

A Glasgow-based tech firm is teaming up with ScottishPower as part of an £8.5 million project to accelerate the roll-out of electric cars.

Glasgow's Smarter Grid Solutions will be part of a ScottishPower project to tackle vehicle charging issues. Picture: John Devlin

Clean energy software provider Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) has secured a contract to address two of the main challenges believed to be hampering wider uptake of electric vehicles in the UK.

SGS will work alongside lead partner SP Energy Networks (SPEN) – a division of ScottishPower – along with traffic software provider PTV Group and consultancy and technology firm EA Technology on the £8.5m “Charge” Network Innovation Competition project.

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The Glasgow firm aims to find the optimum method of charging cars at homes without driveways, such as flats and terraced houses, as well as in public locations like shopping centres, events venues, tourist attractions, and filling stations.

It will investigate solutions such as timed charging schedules and links with low carbon technologies in an effort to enable easier and more cost efficient connection of electricity-powered vehicles to the energy grid.

SGS software, which supports the integration of renewable sources such as wind turbines and solar panels to the grid, will help to manage the charging of an expected increase in numbers of electric vehicles, which are forecast to be the dominant form of transport by 2050.

This comes on the back of a surge in sales of electric vehicles, although lack of infrastructure is believed to be hampering further growth.

Figures released last week revealed that sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, which include hybrids and pure electrics, increased by 7.6 per cent but accounted for just 5.5 per cent of the UK market share.

The UK government has previously outlined plans to phase out the introduction of new petrol and diesel vehicles to the country by 2040.

Graham Ault, founder and executive director at SGS, said: “Electric vehicles will revolutionise not just vehicle transport but Great Britain’s electricity grid. Project Charge is a significant step forward in making sure that the electricity networks will cope with the extra demand.

“The ability to manage EV [electric vehicle] charging in parallel with all of those other low carbon technologies has great value in the flexible, cleaner, smarter power grid.”

SPEN director of network planning and regulation Scott Mathieson added: “Once we know which combination of technology and commercial solutions and procedures works best then SPEN will be able to help other network operators to roll them out across the whole country.

“Drivers need to know they can charge their cars at home, and when out in their local community or further afield, and our Charge project will help to give them the reassurances they need.”

After testing, Project Charge technologies and procedures could be rolled out UK-wide.