Test driving EV home charging technologies
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $2.9 million for AGL Energy Services (AGL) to undertake a large scale EV charging trial across NSW, Queensland, Victoria and SA.
As part of the $8.25 million trial, AGL will recruit 300 EV owners to demonstrate a range of smart and managed charging solutions including 200 smart chargers in owners’ homes, a software-based smart charging trial involving 50 EVs and EVs to participate in a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial to assess the commerciality.
AGL is contributing $5.3 million towards the trial which also involves project partners JET Charge, Chargefox and FlexCharging and a cohort of distribution networks. ARENA’s funding will support charging hardware costs, installation costs and software development.
The project will be the first time V2G EVs will be deployed in a residential content in Australia as well as the first time smart charging will come to Australia via software, potentially removing the need for additional smart charging hardware in the future.
AGL aims to accelerate the commercialisation of the orchestration of EV charging by examining the key sources of uncertainty and investment risk such as the commercial model, technology approaches, customer behaviour and market structure.
The trial also will help to inform electricity retailers, customers and DNSPs of the potential for EV charge management and how those benefits can be recognised and valued. The project will provide detailed insights into customer behaviour to inform how best to maximise customer participation and value for the customer.
ARENA chief executive Darren Miller says these trials would allow EVs to benefit the wider electricity system, and would support the integration of EVs into the system as uptake increased.
“As more Australians switch to EVs, it will be important to manage and orchestrate EV charging to avoid potentially costly impacts on peak demand, associated network charges and grid security issues. EVs also provide economic opportunities for consumers through the potential of reduced electricity costs through higher network utilisation and the potential to generate revenues that would reduce the cost of car ownership,” he says.
“We hope trials like this will provide valuable insights into how EVs can provide value for money for consumers, but also help to transition our electricity network going forward.”
As outlined in the Australian Government’s first Low Emissions Technology Statement, ARENA will also continue to support consumers choosing new vehicle technologies through the administration of the Future Fuels Fund. The Future Fuels Fund will help businesses and regional communities take advantage of opportunities offered by hydrogen, electric and bio-fuelled vehicles.
AGL general manager decentralised energy resources Dominique Van Den Berg says AGL was excited to partner with ARENA to understand when and how customers charged their EVs, which will become a larger part of the energy market as their take-up increased.
“This trial will demonstrate how we create value using customers’ distributed energy assets like batteries and share the value with them,” she says.
“We’ll be talking to customers during the trial to understand how they feel about smart charging so we can improve their experience.
“Although the trial is limited to 300 customers, it will help us to shape future energy offers to EV owners.”