THE North East is leading the way on a national project to explore how the spread of electric vehicles will affect the power supply.
Sunderland-based Zero Carbon Futures is delivering My Electric Avenue in the North East, a scheme to find out what impact an increase in the number of electric cars, vans and buses will have on local electricity networks.
Nationwide, 11 clusters and 110 people have signed up to the scheme, run by EA Technology and hosted by Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD), with the support of partners including Zero Carbon Futures.
The North East has more electric cars per head of population than any other region and boasts one of the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging networks.
Lois Warne, technical advisor at Zero Carbon Futures, said: “The North East has already made significant strides in the transition to EV, so it comes as no surprise that people have been so open to taking part in the trials which offer a unique opportunity for communities to test drive an EV and to experience the many benefits that they provide.
“Crucially, the recruitment for the trials has succeeded because of ‘cluster champions’ in local communities taking up the challenge of recruiting at least nine other neighbours through leaflet dropping, door knocking, and even holding community coffee mornings to drum up support.
“It is essential that we are prepared for when electric cars become commonplace in years to come and the technology that is being trialled through the project will monitor and control the electricity demand from charging electric cars and, in the long-term, will save expensive and potentially disruptive work being carried out to upgrade the electricity network.”
My Electric Avenue is focusing on the potential problems that can arise when a large number of EVs charge in the same street at the same time.
, and is the first trial that directly controls domestic EV charging to prevent underground cables, overhead lines and substations being overloaded.