My Electric Avenue is seeking 10 ‘clusters’, each with a minimum of 10 neighbours, to drive Nissan LEAFs for 18 months to examine the impact of charging a group of electric vehicles on the local electricity network.
The project, which is the first of its kind in the UK, is being led and delivered by EA Technology, and is receiving backing from Ofgem through the Low Carbon Network’s (LCN) fund, which supports projects sponsored by Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to explore new technology, operating and commercial arrangements.
A Nissan electric vehicle test drive event took place at Drayson Racing Technologies on 18 July 2013, which was designed to give staff at the company, together with employees from other local businesses BH Blackmore Ltd and BINIBI Tiles, an opportunity to try an all-electric Nissan LEAF for themselves.
Nissan’s LEAF NISMO RC racing car was also on display at the event, demonstrating Nissan’s interest in participating in motor racing with a zero emission powertrain.
Although it is important to examine the impact that a cluster of EVs has in a business setting, My Electric Avenue is primarily looking to recruit residential clusters of EV users, therefore local communities are also racing to take up the challenge.
Recruitment for the project has been led from the ‘ground up’ by local champions who have taken it upon themselves to find other people in their area to form a cluster.
Despite the project only launching officially on 3 June 2013, there have already been more than 700 registrations of interest, over 500 active leads, 185 champions, and 42 emerging clusters – with the first clusters very close to being signed up.
Participants in My Electric Avenue project will drive an all-electric Nissan LEAF at an exclusively subsidised rate, as well as trialling new technology which monitors and controls charging. All people in each cluster must be on the same feeder from the local electricity substation – in practice this means that they should either all live on the same street, or in very close geographical proximity. Participation in the project is subject to eligibility and availability.
Project partners include Nissan (EV supplier), Fleetdrive Electric (EV rental programme management), Zero Carbon Futures (charging point network developer) and Northern Powergrid (participating DNO). In addition there are two academic partners, the University of Manchester (providing network modelling support), and De Montfort University (providing socio-economic modelling support). Ricardo is providing independent technical verification to the project.