An eBay-style system that schedules when your electric car needs charging overnight could prevent energy grids from overloading.
Researchers at the University of Southampton have designed the new online mechanism, which uses computerised agents to bid for the power to charge vehicles and to organise time slots for charging.
Dr Alex Rogers, who led the team of researchers said: “Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are expected to place a considerable strain on local electricity distribution networks. If many vehicles charge simultaneously, they may overload the local distribution network; so their charging needs to be carefully scheduled.”
The system avoids this by automatically scheduling the charging of the vehicles’ batteries according to the needs of an EV owner, like when they need the car and how far they expect to drive.
Studies by the researchers showed that the system could increase the number of electric vehicles that can be charged overnight, within a neighbourhood of 200 homes, by as much as 40 per cent.
Dr Rogers has also developed an iPhone application called GridCarbon for measuring the carbon intensity of the UK grid.