Oxfordshire powers up with hi-tech electric car charging scheme

Oxfordshire is yet again at the vanguard of inventing the future with testing taking place in the county on electric vehicle charging equipment that would return power to the national grid when they’re not being used.

Oxfordshire County Council is part of a consortium that has secured more than £400,000 of Innovate UK funding for the V2GO project under the recent Vehicle to Grid competition.

The project will test and trial “bi-directional charging” meaning that a group of electric vehicles can help to “balance” the power grid – effectively giving back power from their batteries when it is needed during peak times and charging up ready to drive when demand is lower.

The consortium is made up of eight major organisations with expertise in energy and power markets and systems, fleet operation value chains and electric mobility: EDF Energy R&D UK, University of Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council, Arrival, EO Charging, Upside Energy, and Fleet Innovation.

Congestion and air quality could benefit

Working with business and academic partners, the county council will be investigating the impacts and benefits to the locality. These could include congestion reduction and air quality improvement.

The team will also be supporting the development of a tool kit for other local authorities looking to harness the opportunities the technology presents.

New opportunities in energy storage

The energy storage capacity of electric vehicles (EVs), presents new opportunities and value propositions for fleet operators and power system services (e.g., potentially alleviate the need for generation and transmission investments; increasing network efficiency and energy security).

Oxfordshire County Council is committed to supporting the deployment low carbon transport technologies across a variety of platforms. With central government continuing to challenge local authorities to think differently and drive efficiencies we are delighted to be collaborating with the private sector and academia to develop solutions for our county’s challenges.

Oxfordshire a leader in innovation

County Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet member for Environment and Economy, said: “Oxfordshire is a leader in new developments in innovation and technology.

“We know that making the switch to electric vehicles in our county will help improve air quality and reduce local emissions.

“Smart, connected technology is proving to be incredibly helpful in our daily lives and the fact that Oxfordshire County Council is driving forward another cutting edge demonstrator project with a team of excellent, innovative partners is really exciting.

“The V2GO project appears highly technical, but in simple terms it shows that we are thinking not just about the transport technologies of the future and the “smart” infrastructure required to power it, but also the wider benefits of such innovations to the people of Oxfordshire.

“Oxfordshire is home to 678,000 residents and has a thriving network of villages, towns and a major city as well as fast growing locations such as Banbury, Bicester, Abingdon, Didcot and Henley. Oxfordshire’s economy generates output to the value of £21.9bn per year from 400,000 jobs and over 30,000 businesses. And that is why the county council is constantly pushing to be at the forefront of encouraging new technology as we know it will help enhance and support our thriving economy.”


Background to the project and funding

The project is part of the Vehicle-to-Grid competition, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in partnership with Innovate UK.

In January 2018, OLEV and BEIS announced that 21 projects (8 feasibility studies, 5 collaborative research and development projects, and 8 real-world v2g trial projects) were to receive funding of c£30m to develop the business proposition and core technology around V2G, and demonstrate those with large scale trials. The projects involve more than 50 industrial partners and research organisations from both the Energy and Automotive sector, marking the largest and most diverse activities on V2G in the world, and trialling more than 2700 vehicles across UK.

The V2G projects represent a significant step towards the transition to a low carbon transportation and a smart energy system. Allowing EVs to return energy to the Power Grid when parked and plugged for charging, will increase Grid resilience, allow for better exploitation of renewable sources and lower the cost of ownership for EV owners, leading to new business opportunities and clear advantages for EV users and energy consumers.