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ENMAX Power concludes Alberta’s first EV smart charging pilot


ENMAX Power has concluded Alberta’s first EV smart charging pilot to help prepare for the growth of electric vehicles in the coming years.

With the number of electric vehicles expected to grow from around 3,000 today to 200,000 by 2035, ENMAX Power launched the second phase of its Charge Up pilot to specifically study charging behaviour and which incentives work best to influence what time of day EV drivers charge their vehicles.

“Customers’ electricity needs are changing, and ENMAX is investing in tools and technology that can enable new cost-effective power delivery solutions,” says Jana Mosley, President, ENMAX Power. “These investments are part of our ongoing commitment to ensure our system is safe, reliable and positioned to meet future customer needs and requirements.”

This Charge Up pilot involved over 160 EV owners in Calgary who were broken into three groups:

  • a rewards group which was financially incentivized by a 3.5 cent reward for every kilowatt hour of off-peak charging;
  • an education group provided with material encouraging them to charge at off-peak times; and,
  • a control group.

This approach allowed ENMAX Power’s Grid Innovation team to compare the effectiveness of different financial and non-financial incentives to shift EV charging load away from the early evening hours when grid demand is already highest.

Preliminary results

ENMAX Power partnered with University of Calgary and University of Alberta researchers to analyze the data which led to compelling insights. Preliminary results suggest that:

  • Participants responded well to a 3.5 cent reward for every kilowatt-hour of charging between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. with roughly 70 per cent of charging taking place overnight when grid demand is lowest.
  • Participants who received educational information demonstrated similar charging habits to the control group with no measurable change in charging behaviour.
  • On average, EV users plugged in their vehicles for 13 hours a day, but only required 9.4kWh of charging – less than two hours’ worth​ – to top up their batteries.

“We’re focused on putting customers at the center of what we do – providing customer choice while keeping cost-effectiveness in mind,​” says Scott Quigley, Director, Innovation and Future Utility Strategies. “This pilot gives us some options to optimize our grid assets while helping customers meet their sustainability goals.”

Next steps

ENMAX Power is now conducting a participant insights study to improve subsequent programs and pilots.

Questions? Ideas on what information you would like to see? Please contact partnerconnect@enmax.com


Customers are free to purchase natural gas services or electricity services from a retailer of their choice. For a list of retailers, visit ucahelps.alberta.ca or call 310-4822 (toll free in Alberta).