The voice of the networks

How can this website be improved? Give us your feedback

Connecting electric vehicle fleets to the network

Information if you're looking to connect your electric vehicle fleet to the electricity networks

The first step into your EV journey is to confirm how much electricity you’re already using at your site and at what time of the day. This will help us to know your maximum demand, which is the highest amount of electricity used at your site. There are many ways to find out your maximum demand, but the two simplest ways are to either check your smart meter (if you have one) or contact your energy supplier.

Installing EV charging at a new site

If you know the precise location of where you would like to install your EV charging points, your next step is to understand your options for connecting those chargers to the electricity grid. Depending on how much power you need there are three options:

  • Your local distribution network operator (DNO). Use our postcode search to find your local DNO.  
  • The National Electricity Transmission System (NETS). If your charging site is likely to be large you can look to connect to either National Grid Electricity Transmission in England and Wales, Scottish Power Transmission in South Scotland, or Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission in North Scotland.
  • An Independent Distribution Network Operator (IDNO). Find an IDNO.

Once you have decided on who will connect your EV chargers, you should contact them. Whoever you choose as your connection partner, they will work closely with you to ensure you connection is delivered as efficiently as possible, collaborating with you at every step of the process. 

Confirming your power needs

At this point you will need to identify the number and type of charger you need. For example, a rapid charger which will give you shorter charging times will take up much more of your demand than a slow or fast charger.

The questions you need to consider are:

What type of vehicle are you charging and when?

If you let your DNO know what type of vehicle or battery is being connected, we can determine the best design and tariff for your connection. It is helpful to understand the size of the batteries being charged, a load profile of the EV chargers and a load profile of the existing customer connection, which could prevent unnecessary network reinforcement and could save you money. We have a number of different connections, depending on the time of day you need to charge your vehicle(s).

How many vehicles will you be charging?

The number of vehicles that can be charged will depend on the amount and size of chargers being installed. A monitoring scheme or load management scheme can be adopted to take full advantage of the available capacity. It may not always be necessary to install the same number of chargers as vehicles, the vehicles to be charged can be rotated as required or the EV chargers can be monitored and the charge ramped or down as required.

How long will you be charging the vehicle?

The duration of a Charge and the amount of charge left in a vehicle will affect the load profile of a site and affect the amount of capacity required to charge a vehicle. You can monitor your own capacity on site to stay within the limits of their Declared Supply Capacity. The electric vehicles can be rotated to reduce or increase the amount of charge taken at any one time.

Can you use smart charging?

With some connections we may be able to use smart charging or a flexible connection. A smart charging or flexible connection can be granted and issued by the host DNO where there may be constraints on the customers connection and they have a restricted Capacity or where there is a lack of available load on the existing electricity network to supply a un-constrained connection. There are several options a DNO could take when issuing a smart charging connection whether it be:

  • Restricting the use of the chargers or a percentage between certain times of the day.
  • Requesting the customer to manage their usage and keeping within their declared supply capacity.
  • Utilising monitoring devices to monitor the customers load or the wider network load to enable an increased charge.

Understanding the connection options

There are many ways we can help you to manage your demand on the network, which can help to reduce initial connection and any charging costs.

Optimising your existing connection. If you can modify how you already use power at your site, you may be able to free up capacity at certain times of the day for EV charging. For example, if you have a building onsite that you are able to reduce the amount of power used for machinery, heating or lighting, you could save a significant amount, rather than paying for more capacity on the network.

Load management. Load management controls the power that supplies your charge points to ensure you do not go over your overall supply limit. This means you can still use many chargers at the same time, but they will charge at a slower rate.

Smart Charging. Smart charging is where an intelligent system controls when and how much an EV will charge. This can help the grid cope better with increased demand from new technologies and in turn help you charge at a lower cost.

Timed profile connection. This is an agreement you have with your network operator that you are only able to charge at certain times of the day. By sticking to the pre-agreed schedule, you can save costs by not having to upgrade your connection. This works particularly well if you only need to charge your vehicles at night, as there is less strain on the network.

On-site generation and battery storage. If you are able to store electricity through another source i.e. a stationary battery, you could then use this stored power to charge your EVs, meaning you would not need to take power from the network. If you already have or could install on-site generation i.e. solar panels, you could then produce your own electricity, charge your stationary battery, and charge your vehicle(s).

Using a different substation. If you are installing your charge points on a large site and have flexibility as to where you can install the chargers, you may be able to connect to a different substation. If the alternative substation accesses a less constrained part of the network, your connection may be cheaper.

Getting power to your site

If you are unable to choose one of the above options, you will need to speak to your distribution network operator (DNO) – the local network company - to provide more power to your site before your charge point is installed. Your DNO will be happy to discuss your connection requirements prior to you making an application. Once submitted your project designer will design your connection and send you a quotation. Once you have reviewed, accepted, and paid for your quotation, your DNO will discuss your connection programme and provide you with a date to carry out the necessary work.

The Cable route. Your DNO will quote for all works from the substation to your meter cabinet. This will be split into two parts; the "non-contestable works" being the final connection at the substation and the "contestable works" being the cabling to you meter cabinet. Your work will include the meter cabinet and all cabling to the EV charger(s) within your site.

Crossing third party land. If your connection passes through 3rd party land before it connects in your meter cabinet within your boundary, your DNO will need to obtain consent from the roads authority. This would be to excavate the public road if necessary, to lay the cable and will need to obtain a right of access from the third party landowner

Substation design. You may be required to arrange a substation foundation to allow your DNO to complete the connection. Before carrying out any substation foundation works, please contact your DNO so that they can advise you on which foundation type is required.

Your onsite works. There will be some work that will need to be carried out on site to allow your DNO to complete your network connections as smoothly and quickly as possible. This includes:

  • Excavate cable trenches
  • Multi-utility arrangements
  • Joint bays
  • Ducting of cable services
  • Trench back filling and reinstatement

To discuss your supply, contact your DNO directly.

Earning revenue from your electric vehicle chargers


Vehicle to grid technology (V2G) enables energy stored in electric vehicles to be fed back into the electricity network (grid) to help supply energy at times of peak demand. By helping to balance supply across the grid you can help you to earn extra income. If you are interested in a V2G charger you will need to speak to an electricity supplier and ensure your new EV battery is V2G enabled.

Smart charging

Smart charging is where an intelligent system controls when and how much an electric vehicle will charge. This can help the grid better cope with increased demand from new technologies and in turn help you charge at a lower cost.

Our members