Electric car owners can stay in charge even if there’s a power cut, thanks to innovation from UK Power Networks and ev.energy.
The two companies have come together to launch a new feature in ev.energy’s app that tells customers of any power cuts in their area.
This includes local power cuts which have been planned for grid maintenance reasons, so people can plan ahead and charge their cars in advance, or look for public charge points, minimising disruption in their day-to-day lives.
The innovators hope it will be particularly helpful for drivers who depend on their electric vehicle for business, to attend medical appointments, carry out care responsibilities, or where it is their only mode of transport.
Known as ‘Powercast’, the free feature works by linking ev.energy’s system with UK Power Networks’ live power cut data, which shares real-time information. ev.energy passes the key facts onto the driver and provides advice on alternative charging methods so that they can make an informed decision of what to do.
Ian Cameron, Director of Customer Service and Innovation at UK Power Networks, says, “Powercast is a real game changer for people, especially those who are more vulnerable, as they rely on their cars to get to work, medical appointments and to look after family members. This notification system means that any potential negative impact is cut off at the pass.
“It’s also a vital tool to help cut emissions in the race to net zero. Our research shows that the number of electric vehicles across London, the east and south east where we deliver power, is set to increase rapidly by 2030 to around five million vehicles. Making sure that we can direct drivers to working EV charge points to keep the region moving is hugely important – both now and in the future. This partnership has real potential to change the way we travel for the better.”
William Goldsmith, Head of Grid and Data Services at ev.energy, says, “Thanks to work with UK Power Networks on the Powercast feature, customers can be prepared for every eventuality, without them having to do a thing. We know that owning an electric vehicle can present a unique set of challenges, so we want to make it as easy as possible for people.
“Around 80% of EV charging happens at home, so the impact of a power cut could be wide-reaching amongst EV drivers. That’s why we’re excited to be able to trial a new type of notification with our drivers, informing them of when their charging may be disrupted by a power cut, helping to minimise disruption to their journeys.”
At least 1,000 ev.energy customers registered in UK Power Network’s region will automatically receive notifications via the app, in a three-month trial which started in March.
If successful, the enhanced app feature will be rolled out this autumn, and the number of customers benefitting could reach 13,000 users, with the hope that others will also adopt similar trials in their regions. If the trial works well, live power cut data will be made available to all app developers.