SDRC 9.6: An assessment of the public acceptance of Demand Side Response of EV charging using Esprit




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Journal ISSN



Volume Title


My Electric Avenue


Technical Report

Peer reviewed


This report describes the research conducted by De Montfort University as part of the My Electric Avenue project to investigate public acceptance of the Esprit system for control of electric vehicle (EV) charging. Esprit provides ‘demand side response’ (DSR) for local electricity network protection by intervening in the charging of electric vehicles (EVs) when demands on the local electricity network reach a certain threshold. The aim of the research was to provide a response to SDRC 9.6 set out in the Project Direction: And to address the additional learnings: T.1.1.1 - How does a trial encourage the uptake of low carbon technology? T.1.1.2 - What social factors have an impact on the use of the Technology? T.1.1.3 - How can a trial be used to educate customers about the electricity network and low carbon technologies? Acceptability of Esprit Research findings suggest that the Esprit system for control of EV charging was acceptable to the majority of participants in the My Electric Avenue Technical Trial. The degree of acceptability of Esprit was not related to whether or not participants experienced curtailment of charging by Esprit Most of the participants in the Domestic Clusters whose charging was curtailed were either not aware of the curtailment, or were not impacted by it. In face-to-face data collection, only one participant reported a significant issue with curtailment where changes to plans were required due to insufficient charge in the vehicle. Curtailment of charging by Esprit was more of an issue for participants in the Workplace Cluster of the Technical Trial. The majority of participants opted not to charge at the workplace after curtailment began due to the uncertainty of receiving sufficient charge. This uncertainty may result from the interaction of Esprit and the load profile for the Workplace Cluster which caused Esprit to operate in an impractical way. In face-to-face data collection with Workplace Cluster participants those individuals who needed to charge at the workplace reported being very unhappy with the technology. Acceptability of Esprit by the Workplace Cluster participants as a whole, however, was comparable to the acceptance by Domestic Cluster participants. This may be due to the majority of the Workplace cluster participants choosing to charge at home rather than at work and therefore not being impacted by curtailment. 9.6 An assessment of the public acceptance (or otherwise) to Demand Side Response of EVs using this sort of technology. SDRC 9.6: Public Acceptance of Esprit My Electric Avenue (I²EV) – SSET205 4 The control of charging by Esprit was more acceptable to participantsin the Technical Trial who viewed EVs more positively (as measured by Experience of and Attitude towards EVs). This greater degree of acceptance was the case whether or not participants had experienced curtailment by Esprit during the course of the trial. The relationship between the acceptability of Esprit and a positive view of EVs suggests that the concept and reality of curtailment are more acceptable to drivers with a more positive view of EVs. Acceptability of Esprit was also found to be greater among participants who were more comfortable with a lower level of charge in their battery. Additionally, participants with greater confidence in finding alternative charging locations to their home charger had a higher level of acceptance of Esprit. The types of journeys (e.g. commuting, shopping, transporting others) for which EVs were used over the trial period did not appear to affect participants’ view of Esprit. However, with regard to trip length, drivers who had a higher proportion of journeys between 11 and 30 miles at the end of the trial were more likely to find Esprit acceptable; acceptability was also higher amongst those drivers who took more unplanned trips. Overall there were few changes in either charging patterns or travel patterns following the introduction of curtailment. This lack of change suggests that Esprit control of charging had little impact on the use of EVs or attitudes towards them. Uptake of Low Carbon Technology Findings suggest that the My Electric Avenue Trial encouraged the uptake of low carbon technology with some participants installing or intending to install PV, adopting energy efficiency measures, and/or intending to acquire EVs after the trial. By allowing direct experience of a low carbon technology, such as EVs, in a supportive social and economic environment, participants were able to familiarise themselves with the technology, which encouraged them to consider investing in EVs after the trial. A few participants also felt that being involved with the trial had raised their awareness of low carbon technology more generally. Social Factors Social factors did not appear to be related to the use of the technology (Esprit). However, the trial participants were not representative of the UK population as a whole in terms of socio-demographics or household composition. Knowledge of the Electricity Network and Low Carbon Technologies Pre-trial involvement with the My Electric Avenue trial increased participants’ awareness and understanding of both the electricity network and low carbon technologies. Awareness and understanding of low carbon technologies continued to increase during the course of the trial, with actual experience of the technology being the most important factor in increasing both awareness and understanding. The trial also appeared to be successful in educating both participants and the wider community about EVs.



demand side response, electric vehicles, behaviour


Fisher, J., Gammon, R. and Irvine, K.N. (2015) My Electric Avenue (I2EV).


Research Institute

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)