FAQs
Domestic Energy Balancing EV Charging Trial

Smart charging, Vehicle to Grid charging and home battery storage

Apply HereProject Summary

This is an innovation trial, with super new kit, so we are looking for participants to work with us on trialling and imitating the future electrification of our homes and impact on the local electricity network. There may be some bumps in the road, but that’s why we do these trials. 

Common Questions

  • What is The Domestic Energy Balancing EV Charging project?
    The Domestic Energy Balancing EV Charging project will engage with domestic customers and aim to recruit 12 households from within the Milton Keynes Council (MKC) unitary authority postcode area. The trial will introduce pioneering technologies into a residential setting. This will bring together intelligent charging, bi-directional charging from electric vehicle batteries to the grid and home battery storage, along with the of use of aggregated energy services which will be provided by Flexitricity to explore how households can help to balance the electricity system. The trial will also look to investigate the concerns DNOs have over anticipated  rapid EV uptake and the stress on the low voltage network, how to balance this energy demand and look at people’s habits.
    There will be a mix of hardware installations for the householders are as follows:
    • 8 V1G smart charger installations: 8 separate domestic households
    • 4 V2G charger installations: 4 separate domestic households
    • 2 of the 12 households fitted with chargers will also have stationary battery devices installed
    • The project also welcomes enquiries from householders with existing solar panels.
  • What is a smart (V1G) charger?
    A smart charger will charge your EV and also connect to the internet via your home Wi-Fi, this is different from a ‘dumb’ charger which is unable to communicate. This connection to the internet allows smart energy services to be offered to allow customers to take advantage of cheaper electricity through dynamic pricing as well as allowing for the ability for remote fault fixing/diagnostics. A smart V1G charger only allows an EV to charge; it is unable to discharge the EV.
  • What is a Vehicle to Grid (V2G) charger?
    Vehicle to Grid (V2G) charging goes a step further than V1G and enables bi-directional charging so that the EV battery can be charged and discharged. This means that as well as using electricity from the grid to charge the EV, the stored energy in the EV battery can be reversed (or discharged) to power your home or send power back to the grid when needed during peak electricity demand. This would help to balance variations in the local and national energy production and consumption, and to help save you money by buying energy when it is cheaper and greener
  • What is a Stationary Battery storage device?
    This a large battery which is fixed in place by mounting to an internal or external wall of the property. It can be charged during periods of cheap energy pricing and provide this energy to run your home during periods when energy pricing is expensive i.e. early evening. It is also commonly installed alongside solar PV arrays to store the solar energy, which can then be used in the evening, ultimately providing free electricity to the household. Despite considerably dropping in price over the past decade, stationary battery storage devices and solar PV array systems are still relatively expensive today.
  • What is the aim of the MKC Domestic Energy Balancing EV Charging project?
    The aim is to undertake a controlled demonstration of how domestic energy flows can be managed using a network of intelligent devices which includes an electric vehicle. The project aims to:
    • Gather data in the below MKC areas
    • Analyse how the technology performs, and understand user preferences and patterns of behaviour that will influence how these services are developed
    • Understand the level of information and engagement required to aid householders to make informed and beneficial decisions
    • Formulate smart EV charging services for both existing householders and new housing developments.
  • How do I know if I am eligible for the trial?
    You will need to reside within the Milton Keynes Council postcode area.
    • Milton Keynes: MK1, MK2, MK3, MK4, MK5, MK6, MK7, MK8, MK9, MK10, MK11, MK12, MK13, MK14, MK15, MK77.
    • Newport Pagnell: MK16
    • Olney: MK46
    • Border MK areas: MK17, MK18 & MK19 in general are not eligible, but some properties may be borderline, so will need to be checked during qualification.
    You can also check your postcode here:  https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
  • To be eligible to join the trial you will need to meet the following criteria
    • For 8 participants: Own or lease a pure battery electric vehicle (no make or model specified) for the duration of the trial, and be willing to have a smart (V1G) charger installed.
    • 1 out of the 8 V1G households will be asked if they would be willing to have a stationary battery storage device installed too.
    • For 4 participants: Own or lease a Nissan LEAF or Nissan eNV200 van with a battery of 30kWh or more, for the duration of the trial, and be willing to have a V2G charger installed.
    • 1 out of the 4 V2G households will be asked if they would be willing to have a stationary battery storage device installed too.
    • During the project recruitment, CrowdCharge will also be looking out for households that already have solar PV panels installed to participate, and if installing a stationary battery at a property with solar, then a Solar Edge invertor will be installed too.
    • Private off-street parking is required for all 12 participants. This project is open to residents of domestic properties only – commercial properties are not eligible.
  • What Project Hardware will be installed?
    • CrowdCharge is currently in the process of testing a range of V2G charger makes and models.
    • We expect to be able to confirm which V2G charger we will be offering participants soon.
    • CrowdCharge will install a ChargePoint Inc Home Smart Charger (V1G charger) for those taking part in the smart charger aspect of the trial.
    • For the stationary battery storage device, CrowdCharge is currently testing a range of batteries and will confirm the product shortly.
    • A Solar Edge invertor will be installed alongside the battery for participants with solar PV panels already installed at their property which has been tested and will ensure all the Project Hardware communicates as expected.

Important Project Information

  • What is the duration of the project?
    • May 2020: Recruitment starts
    • November 2020: Customer trial starts
    • October 2021: Customer trial ends
    • Spring/Summer 2022: Project learning published
    These timelines are subject to COVID-19 updates and government guidelines.
  • Is the project free to join?
    Project Hardware: 

    • The project hardware is free to use for the duration of the trial, concluding in October 2021. If you would then like to keep the project hardware after the trial ends, you are able to have the ownership transferred to you for a small transfer fee as detailed in the Project Exit fees
    Installation:
    The project will cover the cost of a standard V1G or V2G charge point installation which includes:
    • 20-metre cable run from distribution board to charge point location
    • Mounting of charger to a fixed structure, such as brick or external wall. For the stationary battery installation, the standard installation criteria covers:
    • Approx. 1.5m x 1.5m wall space for installation, including space for an invertor
    • Mounted internally or externally – final location to be approved by the installer
    • 16A supply from consumer unit for the inverter and battery & 6A supply to the controls, assuming your property falls into the standard installation criteria.
    • If any additional work is required, we will ask you to cover the additional cost of this post it being reviewed by CrowdCharge and MKC. The installer will inform you of this additional cost upfront for your acceptance.
  • What chargers are being used for the trial?
    CrowdCharge is currently in the process of testing a range of V2G charger makes and models. We expect to be able to confirm which V2G charger we will be offering participants soon. Participants applying to take part in the V1G aspect of the trial will have a ChargePoint Inc Smart Home Charger installed.
  • When do installations start?
    Installations are due to commence in September 2020 and end in October 2020.
  • Will I have to pay for the installation?
    The project will cover the cost of a standard charge point installation and domestic storage battery installation (installation spec to be confirmed). However, if it is a very complex install, the installer will provide a no-obligation quote for the additional work to be paid for by the participant or advise that we cannot install at the property. Either way, we will make sure the participant is 100% happy with the detail of the installation before we start any work.
    Additional installations works could include:
    • Upgrade to your property’s PME earthing to meet current IET wiring and electrical regulations
    • Upgrade of your consumer unit
    • Groundworks trenching to lay cables
    • Longer than 15m cable run from consumer unit/meter tails to charge point location
  • Can I keep the chargers (V1G/V2G) after the trial is finished?
    At the end of successfully completing the one-year customer trial, you can choose between the following options depending on what charger you have had installed:
    • V1G Charger: You will be eligible to have the ownership of the V1G charger transferred to you for a one-off transfer fee of £100. The charger is worth £800 so this is a big saving.
    V2G Charger: You will be eligible to have the ownership of the V2G charger transferred to you for a one-off transfer fee of £250. The charger is worth £5,500 so this is a huge saving.
    7kWh Stationary Storage Battery: You will be eligible to have the ownership of the storage battery transferred to you for a one-off transfer free of £250. The stationary battery is worth £5,000 so this also represents a huge saving.
    Alternatively, you can have any or all the hardware uninstalled and taken away free of charge by CrowdCharge.
    NB: All pricing subject to change without notice. Correct as of May 2020.
  • I have a fault with my project hardware, what do I do?
    If your project hardware suffers a fault you can report this directly to your original installer who will record, diagnose and resolve your fault in coordination with CrowdCharge and the hardware manufacturer if required. We will work hard to ensure the equipment remains operation throughout – however some of the equipment is new and leading edge, and as this is an innovation trial we do anticipate one or two challenges along the way, and we look forward to uncovering these and working to resolve them as soon as we can.
  • Do I need Wi-Fi to be able to participate in the trial?
    Yes, the project hardware will connect to your internet through Wi-Fi or via a hardwired ethernet cable. CrowdCharge will only have access to the project hardware to record data and trial the hardware. At no point will CrowdCharge be able to view or connect to any other smart device in the home.
  • What are the participation parameters for the trial?
    The following Project Participant Parameters detail your minimum requirements that you must uphold for the duration of the trial to remain a Project Participant. The below details specific Project Participant Parameters which will only relate to the Project Hardware you have installed:
    1. From the installation date of the charger installed, this will be the primary source of charging your EV; this includes in the preparation phase of the customer trial throughout 2020, from the start of the customer trial in November 2020 and for the duration of the trial through to October 2021.
    2. Minimum completion of 10 full* charge cycles per month to keep your place on the trial and use of the Project Hardware over the trial period.
    3. Completion of at least 15 full* charge cycles per month to be eligible for the rewards incentive.**
    4. Use of the CrowdCharge mobile app to manage your charging preferences.
    5. If you do not meet these Project Participant Parameters, CrowdCharge has the right to remove the Project Hardware and charge the appropriate exit fee. As project lead, CrowdCharge has the final decision and it is indisputable. *A full charge cycle is plugging in an EV and leaving it connected to the V1G/V2G charger during the hours of 18:00 through to 05:00 the next day. If the EV is disconnected at any point during this period, it will not count towards your monthly total of full charge cycles. 
    ** Each eligible participant will receive the minimum reward to the monetary value of £10 per month for the duration of the one-year trial, from November 2020- October 2021. 
    Note: The ability to earn the rewards incentive will commence on the initiation of the customer trial in November 2020, for a 1-year period, concluding in October 2021. If you do not complete 15 charge cycles per month, you will not receive the incentive reward, but will be allowed to remain on the trial assuming you complete the minimum of 10 charge cycles. 
    Customer trial start date may be delayed due to COVID-19 outbreak and Government guidance. CrowdCharge will inform you of any updates.
  • What is a ‘full charge cycle’?
    • We would encourage participants to plug in their EV whenever the vehicle is at home, even if a charge is not required.
    • A full charge cycle is plugging in an EV and leaving it connected to the V2G or V1G charger during the hours of 18:00 through to 05:00 the next day*.
    • If the EV is disconnected at any point during this period, it will not count towards the monthly total of full cycles.
    • To be eligible to receive a monthly reward in each of the 12 months during the live trial period up to the monetary value of a minimum** of £10 per month, then a minimum of 15 full charging cycles per month should be completed.
    • To remain on the trial a minimum of 10 charging cycles must be completed per month to adhere to the trial participation parameters.

    *A full charge cycle is plugging in an EV and leaving it connected to the V1G/V2G charger during the hours of 18:00 through to 05:00 the next day. If the EV is disconnected at any point during this period, it will not count towards your monthly total of full charge cycles. 

    ** Each eligible participant will receive the minimum reward to the monetary value of £10 per month for the duration of the one-year trial, from November 2020- October 2021. 
    Note: The ability to earn the rewards incentive will commence on the initiation of the customer trial in November 2020, for a 1-year period, concluding in October 2021. If you do not complete 15 charge cycles per month, you will not receive the incentive reward, but will be allowed to remain on the trial assuming you complete the minimum of 10 charge cycles. 
    Customer trial start date may be delayed due to COVID-19 outbreak and Government guidance. CrowdCharge will inform you of any updates. 
  • What if the minimum of 15 full charging cycles is not met per month?
    • A participant will only receive the reward if they complete the full 15 charging cycles in a month, so unfortunately, they will not get their monthly reward for the month if this was not completed.
    • To remain on the trial a minimum of 10 charging cycles must be completed per month to adhere to the trial participation parameters.
  • Do I have to use the CrowdCharge mobile app?
    • The CrowdCharge mobile app will be downloaded and its connectivity checked by the installer when your charger is installed as part of the process.
    • This app will enable you as a participant to manage your charging preferences.
    • The CrowdCharge app must be used to manage and set your charging preferences from the initial install of your charger, up until the trial ends in October 2021.
    • This is outlined in the participant parameters.
  • Who owns the Hardware?
    • CrowdCharge will own all of the hardware for the full duration of the project so it can be recovered if necessary if the participant is not meeting the participation parameters.
    • As CrowdCharge owns the hardware for the duration of the trial, we have the right to remove it at our discretion.
    • If you decide to keep any elements of the hardware at the successful completion of the customer trial in October 2021 the ownership rights will transfer to you for a fee. Thereafter all maintenance and repairs will be your responsibility.
  • What rewards will I earn as part of the trial?
    In addition to receiving a free charger (V1G) worth £800 or a (V2G) worth £5,500, and for some participants a 7kWh Storage Battery worth £5,000;
    • There is also a minimum reward from the monetary value of £120 available for completion of all trial participation parameters over the one year trial period from November 2020 and ending in October 2021.
    • This will be split into 12 monthly payments values from £10* pcm with contingencies applied of 15 full charging cycles being completed monthly to be eligible.
    • To be eligible a participant’s EV must be plugged in continuously from 18:00 to 05:00 for a minimum of 15 times per month.
    • If the EV is disconnected at any point during this period, it will not count towards the monthly total of full cycles.
    • CrowdCharge is currently finalising propositions with Flexitricity and will confirm details in the coming weeks.
    Reward terms & conditions
    *The full details of the ‘reward’ are to be confirmed during summer 2020. Each eligible participant will receive the minimum reward to the monetary value of £10 per month for the duration of the one year trial. The total reward will be confirmed with our energy supplier partner, but, 12 monthly payments will be made available if the participant meets the monthly criteria. If a participant does not meet the requirements for a month they will miss out on that month’s reward sum. CrowdCharge has the right to change the trial reward and amounts at any point. We will give participants one month’s notice of this. 
    All pricing subject to change with one month’s notice. Pricing correct as of May 2020. 
  • When will I receive my rewards?
    You will receive your minimum reward from the monetary value of £10 pcm on a rolling monthly basis, this assuming you have met the minimum participant parameters for your project hardware.
  • Will I have to switch energy tariffs?
    • You will not have to switch energy tariffs to participate in the trial.
    • However, if you have a V1G charger installed, there are some energy tariffs which can be beneficial to switch to such as a time-of-use tariff which allows for cheaper energy during periods of low demand; which is ideal for EV charging.
    • Similarly, there are export specific energy tariffs that are preferential for V2G charging which allows for money to be earned for energy discharged to the grid.
  • Do I need a smart meter to participate?
    Participants may need a smart meter installed to participate in the trial. It is preferential. These are being rolled to all UK households by your Energy Supplier for free.
  • I have my EV for a fixed period of time (e.g. company car or lease). Can I still take part in the project?
    Yes, you can still take part. It does not matter how far you are into your EV lease you are, as long as the period left on your leasing agreement goes up to or beyond  November 2021.
  • How do I know if my property is suitable to have a charger installed?
    To install the V1G or V2G charger you’ll need:
    • Off-street parking.
    • An external wall for the charger to be mounted and prove you own or lease an eligible EV.
    • Your property will be assessed as part of the pre-qualification and pre-installation process by the project installer.
    • You will receive confirmation as to whether the charger can be installed and if you can participate in the trial.
  • How do I know if my property is suitable to have a domestic battery installed?
    To be eligible the following parameters will be required:
    • Approx. 1.5m x 1.5m wall space for the battery, including space for an inverter unit.
    • Mounted internally or externally – final location to be approved by the installer.
    • 16A supply for the inverter and battery & 6A supply to the controls.
  • What will I have to provide during the home survey to have a domestic battery installed?
    You will need to provide during the home survey:
    • 2 photographs of consumer unit; one close up showing individual circuits & a second one showing the consumer unit and the surrounding wall.
    • Photograph of electricity meter and cut out.
    • A photograph of the proposed location of the battery.
    • A description with any relevant photographs describing where the battery (and invertor) would be located in relation to the consumer unit & electricity meter with a sketch/plan if required.
  • What is the minimum amount of time I need to participate in the trial?
    The trial ends in October 2021. You would be expected to participate until the end of the trial. If you leave before the end of the trial, you will be asked to pay an early exit fee and the charger will be uninstalled. The exact amount will be calculated according to the length of time that you participated in the trial and is outlined in the exit fees.
  • If I move property can I take the charge point with me? Will I still be able to continue to participate in the trial?
    If you move to a new house during the trial, then you can take your charger with you although you will have to pay for CrowdCharge’s approved installer to move it otherwise this will affect the charger’s warranty. You can then continue to participate in the trial. However, you must check that you are still within the project’s location limits of the Milton Keynes Council area. Postcode for the trial can be located here.
    Please let CrowdCharge know if you are moving to a new house so that we can discuss this with you and we can keep our records up to date.
    CrowdCharge will also be able to help you find a qualified installer to move your charge point. Any incurred costs during this process will be solely down to the participant.If you move before the end of the trial and you will not be continuing participation in the trial, then you are required to let CrowdCharge know and you will be asked to pay an early exit fee. The exact amount will be calculated on a case-by-case basis according to the length of time that you participated in the trial and is outlined in the exit fees.
  • If I move property can I take the stationary battery with me? Will I still be able to continue to participate in the trial?
    If you move to a new house during the trial, then you can take the stationary battery with you although you will have to pay for CrowdCharge’s approved installer to move it otherwise this will affect the charger’s warranty. You can then continue to participate in the trial. However, you must check that you are still within the project’s location limits of the Milton Keynes Council area. Postcode for the trail can be located here. If you have a stationary battery installed with your Solar PV array and move to a new house without Solar PV during the 1-year trial period, please contact the project team via the contact page to discuss this.
  • Will having solar PV panels on my home affect my participation in the project?
    The project is looking to engage with a few household that have solar PV panels already installed, therefore you could be eligible to be on the trial with the full combination of a V2G charger, solar PV and a domestic storage battery, this would be an important dynamic to investigate the relationship and future service offering that could be offered. However, please note that we will not be adjusting the solar generation as part of the trial.
  • My EV is a company car – can I still take part in the project?
    Yes, you can. You will need your employer to prove you will be primary driver of this up until October 2021.
  • Will the installer claim the OLEV grant as part of the installation?
    CrowdCharge will not be claiming the OLEV grant for the V1G or V2G chargers as CrowdCharge will own the chargers for the duration of the trial period, until the transfer ownership fee has been paid at the conclusion of the trial.
  • Obtaining data directly from your vehicle (Telematics)
    Most new cars produce huge amounts of data, and as part of the project we would like to explore how useful this will be in forecasting when vehicles are likely to plug-in and out, and how much energy the car will need. We therefore will fit a device to a port in your car behind the dashboard to capture this data and send it back to the CrowdCharge survey to aid our forecasting and analysis. Please read the terms carefully to find out more about the data we will collect and how this will be used – and be assured that the data will be closely protected, and as with other reporting from the project – only shared in an anonymised form.

Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Questions

  • Why is the vehicle to grid (V2G) charger only available for selected Nissan EV drivers?
    Currently V2G chargers will only operate via the CHAdeMO charging connector, and Nissan will allow V2G operation on their EVs with permission. Any Nissan LEAF or Nissan e-NV200 vans with at least a 30kWh+ battery are eligible for the V2G section of this project.
  • Why is my Nissan EV not supported for the V2G charger?
    Our agreement with Nissan currently only guarantees warranty coverage for the following:
    • Nissan LEAF 30kWh, 40kWh, 62kWh
    • Nissan e-NV200 40kWh
  • Will using a V2G bi-directional charger damage my EV’s battery and affect my battery warranty?
    Research is ongoing with regards to the impacts of V2G on car batteries, however indications to date are encouraging and we will be working closely with Nissan to ensure the operation of the charger meets their closely controlled guidelines and protects the warranty. We would also use our V2G charging algorithm to minimise any battery degradation. As Nissan is the only manufacturer to include V2G operation as part of its warranty this was a major factor in using the Nissan LEAF and Nissan e-NV200 for this trial. When we confirm which V2G charger we will be using for the trial, we will ensure the Project Hardware, energy services and profiles that we intend to trial on the Project will not invalidate your warranty. We will not utilise your EV as part of the Customer Trial until your battery warranty is covered with Nissan. In the instance your battery warranty is not authorised for use with the Project V2G hardware/services we will notify you immediately.
    Battery warranties for V1G chargers are unaffected.

About the Project

  • What is the problem that needs solving?
    Milton Keynes is an exemplar area with adoption rates of electric vehicles running at twice the national average, due to the efforts of the Council to encourage their adoption. With the predicted levels of market penetration, there could be significant stress applied to the local electricity networks when large numbers of users wish to plug-in within a short period of each other. This suggests that some form of energy load balancing or demand-shifting may need to be adopted in the future.
  • What is the proposed solution?
    We aim to prove that the EV V1G chargers, V2G chargers, stationary batteries, and solar PV arrays can be utilised together as a local smart energy system, replicating a future world where these designs are common place in a domestic setting. This will be achieved through CrowdCharge’s intuitive demand management platform to allow customers to access cheaper and greener electricity, save money on their EV charging and lower their CO2 output, while simultaneously supporting their local Low Voltage (LV) network from overloading, as the inevitable rise of EVs and EV charging grows.
  • Who are the collaboration partners?
    The Domestic Energy Load Balancing project is hosted by Milton Keynes Council and is delivered by the following collaboration partners:
    • CrowdCharge – Project Lead
    • Flexitricity – Aggregation energy service provider
  • Who is responsible for different parts of the project?
    • Milton Keynes Council is hosting the project and providing project oversight.
    • CrowdCharge is the project lead responsible for project management, recruitment of participants, installation of project hardware, ongoing project support for participants and delivering the 1-year operational customer trial with Flexitricity.
    • Flexitricity is providing energy aggregation services during the final 6-months of the customer trial period.
  • How is the project funded?
    The Milton Keynes Domestic Energy Balancing Project is a Milton Keynes Council (MKC) and Milton Keynes Go Ultra Low Programme Innovation funded project. The Milton Keynes Go Ultra Low project is supported by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles as part of a £9 million investment into the growth of electric vehicles.

PLEASE NOTE

These FAQs are subject to change at any point throughout the project. As project lead, CrowdCharge is able to amend, retract and update any aspects of the customer trial at any point. If any significant changes to the project take place, we will inform you.

Project Partners

Milton Keynes Council
CrowdCharge
Flexitricity
Go Ultra Low MK
OLEV
The Milton Keynes Domestic Energy Balancing Project is a Milton Keynes Council (MKC) and Milton Keynes Go Ultra Low Programme Innovation funded project. The Milton Keynes Go Ultra Low project is supported by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles as part of a £9 million investment into the growth of electric vehicles.

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