Smart Charging Can Reduce the Number of Power Grid Networks Requiring Reinforcement by Nearly 66 Percent.
A Modeling Study of Smart Charging in Great Britain.
Date Posted

The Opportunity for Smart Charging to Mitigate the Impact of Electric Vehicles on Transmission and Distribution Systems

Summary Information

Because of better technology, government incentives, and a desire by people to decarbonize their transportation choices, electric vehicles (EVs) are an ascendant technology around the world. However, increased EV usage may strain existing power grids, particularly because most people charge their vehicles during off-peak hours.

One possible solution to power grid strain is the use of “smart charging” systems. ­Smart charging is essentially a form of intermittent charging that uses information technology to monitor vehicle charging needs in real-time. Based on this information, power grid operators distribute electricity to the areas with the highest needs, while reducing electricity distribution to areas of lowest need. However, power grid operators have not widely tested these systems.

To better understand how smart charging might work, a research team at the University of Oxford conducted a modeling exercise.

The team first gathered data from a wide variety of sources; data included travel surveys, EV charging trial data, historical electricity usage data, and electricity network data. Next, the team modeled charging demand under uncontrolled and smart charging conditions.


  • Smart charging can reduce the percentage of the distribution networks which would require reinforcement [i.e. additional infrastructure] from 28 percent to 9 percent (a nearly 2/3 reduction).
  • If smart charging is used, Great Britain would not have any issues handling the electricity demand from 100 percent electric vehicle adoption.
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