The UK’s first road of electric cars, known as ‘the street of the future’ has been created by My Electric Avenue project led by EA Technology.

Located in Marlow in the UK, this project means nine neighbors are now receiving delivery of their all-electric Nissan Leafs to use over 18 months. The goal is to test a new technology that will monitor and control the electricity demand from charging electric cars.

The project, which is led by EA Technology and hosted by Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) aims to discover essential learning about managing the local electricity network as sales of cars with ‘plug-in’ capability continue to rise.

My Electric Avenue said it is focusing on how best to manage the network when a large number of Electric Vehicles (EVs) charge in the same street at the same time. It is also the first trial that directly controls domestic EV charging to prevent underground cables, overhead lines and substations being overloaded.

The project has been created with the end goal of finding a solution that would avoid the need to dig up the roads to install higher capacity electric cables.

“The Nissan Leaf is the perfect car for short and medium length journeys,” said one of the trial participants, Caroline Birkbeck. “It’s also incredibly cheap to recharge, with running costs of just 10-15% of our diesel car. I’m delighted to be part of this trial, it’s already showing that electric vehicles are an ideal form of transport today, and they are likely to become even more popular as their technology develops in the future.”

My Electric Avenue started around a year ago recruitment of groups of neighbors on the same street in ten different locations, including some workplace-based clusters, to drive electric cars as part of its Ofgem-supported trial.

Marlow is the first of eleven clusters around Britain that are currently receiving deliveries of Nissan Leafs charging points, and equipment that monitors and controls charging, said the project. The other residential clusters are in Chineham, Chiswick, Lyndhurst, South Gosforth and Wylam, with two more based in South Shields. In addition there are two workplace-based clusters: Slough Borough Council and Your Homes Newcastle.

My Electric Avenue  stated the project has exceeded Ofgem’s recruitment and customer engagement targets by achieving 111 signed lease contracts overall in the technical trials when 100 were required; recruiting 8 clusters with 10 people in each when 7 clusters of 10 were required; and recruiting 11 clusters overall in the technical trials when 10 clusters in total were required.

EA Technology said it has developed and is delivering the £9 million My Electric Avenue project, as well as providing the technology used as part of the trial. The project also includes a number of other Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including Fleetdrive Electric and Zero Carbon Futures (ZCF).

EA Technology added this is the first time a private company rather than an electricity company (i.e. a Distribution Network Operator or DNO) has led and managed an Ofgem Low Carbon Networks Fund project.

Although the Technical trials are now fully subscribed, My Electric Avenue’s Social trials are still open for business.

EA Technology explained the Social trials are designed to complement the information gathered during the technical trials and participants can lease a new Nissan Leaf at a specially negotiated rate for 18 months. Applicants can be individuals or groups and there’s no requirement to have any technology installed in the home. Spaces in the Social trials are limited and so the cars will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

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