The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $838,000 in funding for an electric vehicle (EV) smart charging trial across the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The funding has been provided to Origin Energy to install 150 smart chargers to incentivise new and existing EV owners to participate in the trial.

The smart chargers will be installed across residential, commercial and industrial premises of EV owners and fleets, where they will be remotely monitored and controlled via software.

The smart chargers will also be integrated into Origin’s existing platform for managing distributed energy.

The trial - to cost a total $2.9 million - will look to evaluate the benefits of and barriers to controlled smart charging, including improving our understanding of EV driver behaviour, willingness to accept third party control and what incentives are needed to encourage future participation in charge management programs.

Smart chargers will allow control of EV charging in order to avoid negative impacts on the grid, and maximise the use and value of renewable energy.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said Origin’s trial will help to demonstrate how the Australian electricity grid can successfully integrate higher numbers of EVs while limiting costly network expansion.

“As the uptake of EVs increases, it will be important to efficiently manage the charging of vehicles, to avoid potentially costly impacts on peak demand, associated network charges and grid security issues,” he said.

“Smart charging enables charging at times when demand is lowest and electricity is cheapest, which reduces the burden on the network and the cost to the customer.

“It is well known that electricity costs much less than petrol in terms of powering cars and light-duty commercial vehicles. However, EVs provide additional economic opportunities for consumers through the potential of further reduced electricity costs from higher network utilisation and possible revenue generation via technologies such as vehicle-to-grid technology which ARENA is also supporting.”