TRL appointed to lead research into vehicle energy needs | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

TRL appointed to lead research into vehicle energy needs

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TRL, the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory, has been appointed to lead the Energy Technology Institute’s Consumers, Vehicles and Energy Integration (CVEI) project.

It will examine how the UK energy system needs to adapt in order to accommodate and encourage greater adoption of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

Costing £5million, the project aims to understand the required changes to existing infrastructure, as well as consumer response to a wider introduction of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles in the UK.  TRL will be supported by Element Energy, Baringa Partners, Cenex, EDF, Route Monkey, EV Connect and the University of Aberdeen.

The first stage of the two-year study will focus on detailed analysis and design of market, policy and regulatory frameworks, business models and customer offerings, electricity and liquid fuel infrastructure and technologies throughout the energy system, as well as at charging and refueling points and on-vehicle.  This will be supported by insights from consumers and fleets into use of plug-in vehicles.

The second stage will deliver a trial involving over 300 mass market users to validate the impact of solutions identified in stage one and understand consumer and fleet responses to the vehicles and to managed charging schemes.

The project is expected to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Relevant technology developments for both vehicles and energy infrastructure
  • Details of the market structures and business propositions needed to support a transition to and operation of a cost-effective UK energy system for low carbon vehicles
  • Understanding of how the selected technology and market structures should be integrated
  • Understanding of how consumers might respond to different offerings in relation to vehicles, their fuelling/charging and demand management mechanisms
  • Validation of the systems and their impacts through a trial with mass market users.

Outputs from the project will be made publicly available throughout the project.

Commenting on the project, Jenny Stannard, Project Manager at TRL said: “We’re already starting to see a sizeable shift in acceptance of electric vehicles in the UK.  However, as more vehicles become electrified, we need to understand the pressure this extra demand will put on our energy networks, as well as the potential opportunities it will bring.

“We also need to understand how consumers will respond and engage with these vehicles in order to develop an appropriate energy system that meets the needs of all parties.  The CVEI project is the first and only project to analyse each of these elements in tandem – from energy demand and supply through to consumer usage and response.  This not only provides a holistic picture of the energy demand, use and supply surrounding plug-in vehicles, but will generate the required evidence to inform policy makers and long term infrastructure investment in the UK.”

ETI project manager, Nick Eraut, added: “Light vehicles account for up to 20% of UK CO2 emissions and are a major contributor to congestion and urban air quality so it is important that emissions from the light vehicle sector are reduced if the UK’s 2050 emissions targets are to be met cost effectively.

“This unique, strategic project will help us to understand the optimum future systems which will maximise the benefits of integrating low carbon vehicles into the UK’s energy system.

“As well as looking at the system and market structure changes, we also want to know how people would respond to a greater adoption of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles and also engagement with demand management schemes that would see them move from a niche choice of vehicle to the mainstream.”

The project win adds to a growing portfolio of innovative research projects that TRL is leading in future transport areas such as low carbon and automated vehicles.  As an independent organisation, TRL says it is able to pull together and lead research consortiums, spanning industry, academia and policy makers, to “ensure projects are delivered with the right expertise and to the highest of standards”.


A supporting video about the project can be found online here:


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