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How Electric Vehicles are Shaping Tomorrow's Smart Grid

EV Charging

If you’ve spent some time in the UK over the past few months, you might have witnessed first-hand the familiar tea-time break during one of the European Football Championship games. While many had kettles boiling midway through the final games of the tournament, how about their electric vehicles (EV), were they also charging at the same time? Maybe for some, but probably less of a majority. In a few years from now, this could be a widespread scenario that the greater part of the population experiences, and ready or not, our energy system will have to manage it. That’s why at Itron, we’re working with governments and industry partners to build technology solutions that help our energy system become smarter, greener and more efficient.

One such technology solution Itron is actively contributing to is within the Smart Metering Innovation for Load flexibility (SMILY) field trial in the UK. The trial aims to demonstrate how SMETS2 smart meters can work with EV chargers to balance the grid when energy demand peaks in scenarios such as the Euros final + kettle + EV charging. Within this trial, SMETS2 smart meters incentivize customers to charge at the most efficient time from the broader energy system’s perspective by enabling cost optimized energy tariffs for EV charging whilst enabling load control to the network operator. This allows the network operator to efficiently balance electrical load at the microgrid level in complex scenarios with no other option.

In the trial, the energy suppliers defined charging schedules where customer profiles (power and charging window) were set according to grid demand, customer preferences and electric vehicle battery capacity. Customers also had the option to override the energy supplier pre‐sets and access four full hours of maximum charge at any time. The technical ecosystem used Itron’s EM425UK2 SMETS2 smart electricity meters that enabled remote load control support (HCACLS), load switching and flexible tariffs to implement flexible EV charging profiles.

Here are some key findings from our trial with SMILY:

  • Almost all participants would prefer taking advantage of off‐peak tariff rates.
  • More than 68% are happy to change their charging schedule to take advantage of lower carbon intensity periods even if they can't save on their bill.
  • Initially, almost 60% were not comfortable when their energy supplier (network operator) took control of their charging schedule, however after a few months, 76% became comfortable with their energy supplier (network operator) remotely controlling the charging of their EVs.
  • A large proportion of residential EV charge point installations require a second visit. Coupling EV charge point site assessments with SMETS2 smart meter installations can increase efficiency.


Itron’s experience in smart grid solutions and electric vehicle management solutions goes beyond the UK. It extends into international markets, such as North America, where we have deployed advanced edge computing electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) hardware and Distributed Energy Resource Management (DERMS) software solutions.

The discussions on mass adoption of electric vehicles and related electricity infrastructure have been around for a while and the time to act has come. Together with SMILY and Itron’s SMETS2 smart meters, we are taking the next step to make it a reality in the UK. To learn more about Itron's SMETS 2 solution, visit itron.com.