Research at Southampton has developed a new pricing system based on online auction platforms, to make charging electric vehicles more effective. We are also investigating how batteries can give power back to the National Grid when the electric cars are not being used.
Worldwide numbers of electric cars and trucks are set to rise from 1.7 million to 5.3 million by 2020. In the UK, the anticipated pressure that charging these vehicles will cause to the National Grid’s energy supply is a vital challenge that needs to be overcome.
Computer scientists Dr Enrico Gerding and Dr Sebastian Stein have designed a system which allows users to enter their details, including at what point they will need to use their car, and how far they are planning to drive. This scheduling process not only takes pressure away from the grid by charging vehicles in a logical ‘order’, but it also saves those users money who can be more flexible with their charging allocation. They are currently working with international car manufacturer Toyota, to help them assess the market for setting up this mechanism within the Toyota system.
Professor of Power Electronics Machines and Drives, Suleiman Sharkh and Professor of Energy Technology, Andrew Cruden, have been able to test the feasibility of charging and discharging batteries, and model ways to make the process more energy efficient, using smart grids with internet technology to control the system. They are undertaking this work in collaboration with colleagues at the universities of Sheffield, Warwick, Liverpool and Strathclyde in the UK and Huazhong and Tsinghua in China.
“As electric vehicles become increasingly popular, it should be possible to link their energy storage capacity to the national grid,” Suleiman explains. “This should help relieve the grid and even out the peaks and troughs of power generation and storage during the times in the day when they are not being used.”