Harnessing Electric Car Charging to Balance the Grid

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Jemima Heard
3 minutes

ev.energy is commercialising a software aggregation platform designed to help electric car drivers maximise consumption of clean, cheap electricity for recharging their vehicles.

Chris Darby founded ev.energy in 2018 to commercialise a smart charging solution that helps maintain grid stability as electric vehicle (EV) demand grows.

“ev.energy enables this consumption to be matched with renewable generation, and to be delivered without costly upgrades to the grid by shifting charging to when there’s less demand,” says Darby.

In the UK ev.energy has over 15,000 customers and globally it serves 16 utilities. There are plans to launch in the US and Germany, to grow the base to over 50,000 users, and build partnerships with more energy companies.

The start-up aims to evolve into complete solution for energy companies to provide grid flexibility without negatively impacting their customers’ ability to use their car.

Darby says: “We’ve had to educate our customers, EV drivers and the broader industry in the value of smart charging and also address their fears that smart charging can be too intrusive or cumbersome.”

The company has been the first to bid aggregated EVs into UK flexibility markets, showing how EVs can play a part in balancing the grid.

Accessing support of LSBU academics through the university’s Sustainable Innovation programme is helping ev.energy to identify gaps, assess the risk and invest in knowledge and capabilities, according to Darby.

“Even the most theoretical research can have real world usages and implications, and there’s often nothing better than empirical research to prove a theory. Partnerships like ours with Sustainable Innovation enable us to unlock these bilateral benefits.”

ev.energy is also receiving a grant to pay 40% of the salary of a newly hired data engineer through the programme.

Over a 12-month project, which began in mid-2020, Carla Gouws has been working at ev.energy to collect data on the charging habits of EV drivers as well as the carbon impact of electricity based on when it is delivered, daily and weekly. The data will enable ev.energy to empower drivers to charge their cars at times when the power is cheapest and has the lowest carbon footprint.

Customers will be able to track their charges and the carbon impact of each charge on the ev.energy app, which provide them with the information they need to charge their cars at times when carbon impact is lowest.

Ioannis Iatropoulos, who teaches Computer Science at LSBU, is providing light-touch support to the ev.energy team.

Find out more about ev.energy and download the app at www.ev.energy.

Want support as you develop new products that will help us combat climate change and pollution? The Sustainable Innovation programme is recruiting soon. Sign up to be notified of applications opening by pressing 'Apply' on the Sustainable Innovation Home Page.