Horizon Blog

Domesticating Electric Vehicle Charging (DEVeC)

Our work follows on from underpinning research investigating the introduction artificial intelligence and  smart technologies into domestic life.  As we take on board and become more reliant on smart, connected technologies, they will invariably continue to adapt and change the way we live.

The introduction of electric vehicles is seen as one solution to addressing and potentially achieving a balance between security, affordability and sustainability in accessing and using energy.  Indeed, the UK Government strategy to reduce climate wrecking emissions by 2050 includes a cut-off date of 2030 for the sale of any new cars and vans powered solely by petrol or diesel. This will have a huge impact on society.

Smart electric vehicle charging holds out the promise to consumers of both increased convenience and more sustainable lifestyles and provides potential benefits for energy suppliers and national carbon targets. However, present policy around the domesticating of electric vehicles and chargers does not account for the complexities of peoples’ everyday lives.

To address some of the challenges associated with the roll out of electric vehicle charging, we ran a scoping survey and held interviews to gather peoples’ concerns. We also developed contra-vision design scenarios with our Partners, to depict what could happen when living with AI in your home and introducing smart vehicle chargers into the equation.

Some of the issues and concerns people highlighted were:

  • Is the household vehicle a family or individual device and who owns the artificial intelligence?
  • The involvement of numerous, different organisations complicating things, e.g. tariff and energy suppliers.
  • With around 25/30% of the population (approximately 7 million) not having the facilities to charge vehicles at their houses, how can this work?
  • New cars tend to come with a ‘dumb’ charger, yet smart chargers are more powerful, superior devices, so is the additional purchase of a ‘smart’ charger, which can cost up to £500 required?

Our next phase of work will involve the production of a briefing paper for a meeting with the UK Government Department for Business Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS) and writing up our findings to date.


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