Four new industry partners have joined Project Skyline – an initiative designed to support a cost-effective and secure transition to electric vehicles (EVs) for UK households.
Stakeholders from across the sector will share EV purchase and chargepoint data to help forecast the uptake in EV ownership, inform infrastructure requirements and improve customer experience.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) and UK Power Networks are working together, in partnership with ElectraLink, CrowdCharge and the Energy Innovation Centre to deliver Skyline. The project will enable the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to pinpoint when and where new electricity demand to charge electric vehicles is coming from.
New signatories to the project to provide critical EV-related data include:
- Auto Trader – one of the UK’s largest online automotive marketplaces
- DriveElectric – EV van leasing organisation
- Hangar-19 – electrified transport innovator and solutions provider
- Rightcharge – EV chargepoint and smart charging tariff comparison website
The Skyline team is also collaborating with Volkswagen UK group and is engaging with further innovative organisations to share EV purchase data with the project.
Richard Hartshorn, EV Readiness Manager for SSEN said: “It is very encouraging to see such enthusiasm from the EV sector to participate in Project Skyline. A data-driven approach to planning the future of our networks allows increased confidence in our decision-making and makes unparalleled accuracy possible. The greater the variety of data types in our arsenal, the better our forecasting for electricity demand on our networks.
“Skyline will allow us to be proactive through the EV transition, ensuring power supplies stay reliable and the customers’ journey to cleaner transport is smooth.”
Ian Cameron, Head of Customer Services and Innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “Last year, one in 10 new cars sold were electric vehicles, a number only expected to keep rising. As more and more people go electric, the industry must come together to unlock the true power of data. This project is doing just that. When deployed at scale Skyline will help us to proactively prepare our network in the right places and at the right time, in turn getting our network ready for Net Zero and delivering it at lower cost for our customers.”
Katie Benson, Volkswagen UK group Business Lead for Electric Vehicles, said: “The UK has started the transition to a low carbon future. As the first automotive company to sign up to the Paris Climate Agreement, we fully support the UK Government’s ambitions to electrify the car market. With an investment programme of €73 billion until 2025, Volkswagen UK group is on track to lead the global move to exciting, connected, fully electric cars.
“A key pre-requisite is to ensure the nationwide charging network is fit for purpose: that is why we are in talks with the Government about how to enhance public charging and are working with partners such as Tesco and PodPoint to bring solutions to customers. We are delighted to join the Skyline Project to support the modernisation of the domestic charging network. Ensuring the right capacity is there will accelerate the move to emissions-free, connected mobility for all.”
Marc Bartlett, Head of DSO Transformation at ElectraLink, said: “We are delighted that big names in the EV space are coming on board to contribute to this project. It reinforces our conviction that stakeholders from all levels of the industry see the value of data, especially when it is needed to prepare physical infrastructure for a decarbonised, electrified future. We hope to see more organisations join in knowing that their contribution plugs into wide-ranging benefits.”
Mike Potter, CrowdCharge CEO, said: “We are really excited to see the commitment of the founding data partners for this initiative. Home charging provides the bulk of EV charging and will continue to be the primary solution due to lower cost and convenience. Providing this resource to help plan for EV home charging at scale and an EV future provides a fantastic opportunity to help smooth the dramatic transition we are about to witness as we move to electromobility. At CrowdCharge, we have been at the forefront of research and now management of low voltage grid capacity for EV which plays such an important part.”
Sharing data such as EV purchase queries and sales and chargepoint installations will provide early visibility of EV infrastructure being connected to Britain’s electricity distribution networks. This will enable DNOs to improve the customer journey when installing chargepoints and manage increasing demand on the network more efficiently. Better data allows better informed decisions around where and when to invest in flexibility, target network reinforcement and ensure the electricity network is prepared to deliver net zero at the most efficient cost.