Is there room for flexibility with EV charging?

We’re in the thick of a government-funded project looking at demand-side response (DSR) in domestic electric car charging.  

The Challenge

As renewable energy generation grows, matching available electricity supply to consumers’ demands gets harder. Smart technologies can help by increasing demand when lots of electricity is available and reducing demand when supplies are low.  

Electric vehicles could offer valuable capacity to help balance the grid in this way. But such an approach needs to fit into people’s lives – they’ll reject it if it stops them using and charging their cars as they want. 

What we are doing

The technical side of the trial uses Evergreen Smart Power’s software platform for Flexibly-Responsive Energy Delivery (FRED). Essentially, this platform controls a fleet of myenergi’s zappi smart chargers in triallists’ homes across the country, increasing and decreasing electricity demand to respond to grid needs in real-time. 

From a Consumer Insight perspective this is a fascinating project! We’ve been in contact with triallists for over a year and will be for several months yet. We’ve used a variety of research methods and combined insights from those to paint a picture of people’s expectations, understanding and experiences of how DSR can be incorporated into EV charging. 

Here’s a flavour of what we’ve been doing and what we’ve learned.

Our Approach

Vlogs and blogs: nothing beats getting a glimpse of how people use technologies in their home! 


Triallists used an online video and blogging platform to introduce themselves, their cars and how they approach charging.  

These authentic, detailed views helped us understand the array of motivations people have when it comes to using and charging their cars, such as: 

  • Cost  
  • Carbon and being ‘green’ 
  • Convenience 
  • Control 
  • Using cutting-edge tech 

Instant messagingtriallists share in-the-moment feedback with us. 

This makes it quick and easy for people to tell us when they’ve noticed something that they think might be DSR activity. 

Building an ongoing rapport with people has been valuable too – we’ve learned about how DSR activity impacts people in different ways and how that fits into the context of their travel and lifestyle. 

Flexibility feelings: we’ve developed a method to find out if and  how consumers notice when their charging is changed to suit the network.

This cutting edge approach combines hard-nosed data with deeper, personal insights. This bit of research is ongoing, but stay tuned for more details…! 

The Result

We’ve created a couple of papers sharing some of our findings so far. Read the paper below to discover what triallists want when they charge their EVs and their initial reactions to DSR.

You can find out more about how different people charge their EVs here.

As the FRED trial progresses we’ll be sharing more, so do check back for updates! 

Designing a DSR proposition?

Whether you’re looking at how to implement DSR or how to sell it, we can help you explore what will make your idea acceptable and attractive to consumers. 

Come and see us for a friendly

chat over a cuppa.


Cannon House, 18 The Priory Queensway

Birmingham B4 6BS8

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