Melbourne, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- June 4, 2013 - A demand management trial in Victoria, Australia has demonstrated that electric vehicle drivers can halve their charging costs and utilities can optimize their network performance using smart charging, according to DiUS Computing.

The trial, conducted as part of the Victorian government’s electric vehicle trial, took place from June to December 2012 using DiUS’s ChargeIQ ZigBee-certified EV charger with Victoria’s smart meter infrastructure, with communication via a ZigBee home area network (HAN) interface – making it one of the first of its kind worldwide.

Project partners included the Victorian Department of Transport, United Energy, and University of Melbourne.

According to the project report, a key to the project was a fully integrated home charging solution that integrated the vehicle, grid and driver seamlessly and effectively. Differences were observed in the control strategies for different vehicle types, and grid integration required an approach tailored to the arrangements adopted by the electricity utility. The drivers received and responded to information provided through the web, their smartphone and via email/text message.

Specifically the project found that using such smart charging with charging deferred to the off-peak period, EV drivers could save around $250 per year, or approximately 50 per cent on their charging costs.

For utilities the spin-off is that managing such EV charging at the network level will not only defer costly infrastructure upgrades through peak demand management, but may deliver better returns on existing investments through improved asset utilization.

Based on the findings it is recommended that Victoria’s distribution network service providers should reduce the barriers to market access for smart device providers by facilitating AMI consumer HAN device interoperability. Further, consumer access and confidence in Victoria’s smart grid could be improved by addressing issues relating to the HAN connection, performance and governance.

It is also recommended to promote electricity demand management through consideration of consumer costs, benefits and information requirements, and to reduce uncertainties relating to demand management effectiveness by clarifying utility expectations and device capabilities.