What My Electric Avenue customers really think of Electric Vehicles…

9th October, 2014

It is impossible to test customer-orientated technology without recruiting customers to test it!  As such, our Technical and Social trial participants are hugely important to the My Electric Avenue project and we thank them for their support!

The technology being trialled, Esprit, will monitor and control demand placed on electricity networks by Electric Vehicle (EV) charging; if necessary, by briefly interrupting the EV’s charge at times of network stress.

Whilst the project is trialling the effectiveness of this technology, it’s also testing how customers will react to the possibility of having their EV charging switched off and back on again, by Esprit.

To find out if control technology like Esprit will be accepted in the future, it’s crucial to understand how the prospect of interrupted EV charging might affect customers.

Researchers at De Montfort University are conducting quantitative and qualitative social research over the course of the trial period to understand whether the technology has a noticeable impact on customers and, if so, to understand if it fits in with their daily life?

We are now at a stage in the project where some preliminary findings are emerging from the first set of surveys. It appears that one of the main drivers (excuse the pun!) for taking part in the My Electric Avenue project was to save money, but also to allow the trial participants to judge for themselves just how practical EVs can be.

Before receiving delivery of their Nissan LEAF, participants were asked their opinion on a set of pre-determined statements. The majority of our technical trial participants “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the following statements:

“The electric vehicle I will have in this trial will be fine for my daily travel needs”

“I will know how much range I have left when driving my electric vehicle”

“Learning how to use my EV will be easy” *

“Adapting to charging the electric vehicle will be easy” *

It is perhaps unsurprising that such a large number of our Technical trial ‘Cluster’ participants have such positive perceptions of EVs; they are, after all, embarking on a pioneering project involving EVs! However, a majority did also “agree”/ “strongly agree” with other, more cautious statements about EVs, such as:

“Having the electric vehicle will mean I have to plan my journeys more carefully”

“I will be more concerned about successfully reaching my destination in an electric vehicle than in my conventional vehicle”

Before receiving their vehicles, it seems as though our participants feel fairly confident about charging and adapting to using an EV rather than a traditional petrol or diesel car, though less so when it comes to planning and completing journeys.

It will be interesting to see if their perceptions change over time as the likelihood of Esprit curtailing EV charging increases, and whether attitudes towards charging change as a result.

These are interim, headline, learning points from the social research at this early stage of the project; full analysis will be available in 2015.

 

Footnote:
* Interpreted from “disagree” and “strongly disagree” answers to the following statements:
“Adapting to charging the electric vehicle will be difficult.”
“Learning how to use my electric vehicle will not be easy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The My Electric Avenue Project was delivered between January 2013 and December 2015 by EA Technology on behalf of Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) as part of the Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund suite of innovation projects. As the Project is now complete, this webpage will no longer be updated, however you can learn more about the work undertaken by EA Technology at www.eatechnology.com and SSEN at www.ssepd.co.uk/Home.

For details of My Electric Avenue's legacy iniatives, visit the webpages for the Smart EV Project and the EV Network Group

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