Domesticating Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging – findings and implications

Domesticating Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging – findings and implications

The need to speed up the shift towards more sustainable fuels remains a hot topic and in November during COP27, the UK and partners announced new measures to drive the transition to Zero Emission Vehicles.

Our Domesticating Electric Vehicle Charging project aimed to gather information to support a greater understanding of the roles and implications of autonomy and smart technologies in residential electric vehicle charging.  Our previous blog, explains our approach and the methods introduced to collect information. As the project draws to a close, we have produced a report documenting headline findings, barriers, enhances and recommendations.

Our research addressed three core challenges

  • How to increase the adoption and use of Smart Electric Vehicle Charge points (SEVC) at home to import the Demand-Side Management (DSM – a strategy used by electricity utilities to control demand by encouraging consumers to modify their level and pattern of electricity usage), response and social wellbeing?
  • How to increase the use of off-peak charging and
  • How to increase the acceptance and adoption of smart charge points’ smart functions?

What we learnt from our participants

Most participants were positive about EVs and home charging, but not so much about ‘smart’ charging.  Some potential issues around home charging, for example having to get the car close enough to the charger, having to reverse vehicles into spaces to enable connections to reach, having to swap cars around with other family members, managing the charging themselves instead of allowing AI to do it, were not seen as inconvenient or negative. Setting up smart home charging however was not experienced positively by everyone, with concerns relating to the initial upfront cost, reliance on smart technologies, tariffs, apps and hidden costs, such as fuse box upgrades, being highlighted.

Headline findings

  • A low update of SEVC – only 2 out of 6 households
  • A low take up of SEVC-associated DSM
  • A low uptake of off-peak charging and tariffs
  • No use of smart functionality
  • Concerns about issues relating to consumer protection, for example being locked into products, confusion around tariffs/price and the security of their personal data

Some of our Key Recommendations include:

To provide total/overall costs to consumer to present a clear/true reflection

Provision of greater assurance of key utility

To guarantee full control remains with the human

To provide clear and simple product options, benefits and rewards

To increase public trust by building consumer protection across sectors and government

To harness the behaviours of routine and social drivers