Centre for Net Zero launches trial with eminent global research centre, J-PAL

The Centre for Net Zero announced the launch of a new field trial with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), testing consumer preferences for automated electric vehicle (EV) charging tariffs and grid impacts of automated tariffs. The trial is being funded by J-PAL's King's Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI), which is dedicated to testing and scaling impact solutions at the heart of climate change and poverty issues. The trial will run until March 2024 and full results will be shared in 2025.

Claire Walsh, K-CAI project director at J-PAL said: “We are thrilled to support this evaluation to generate much needed evidence on how to optimise the grid to support the transition to electric vehicles—a crucial part of the clean energy transition. We applaud the team for using this opportunity to learn while they take action on climate change, and share the results so that governments and companies can too.”


Centre for Net Zero is launching a new field trial, EV-Flex, designed to understand consumer price sensitivity to automated EV charging tariffs, and the corresponding benefits to consumers and the grid.

The trial is being funded by The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)’s, King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI). J-PAL aims to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Launched in partnership with King Philanthropies, K-CAI is J-PAL’s flagship program designed to innovate, test, and scale high-impact solutions at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation worldwide. J-PAL’s co-founders Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo were awarded the Nobel Prize in recognition of their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.

The opportunities that the electrification of mobility presents are well-documented; switching from fossil-fuel powered motor vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) reduces carbon emissions and the adverse effects of combustion engines on air quality. Research covering multiple geographies shows that those exposed to the worst air pollution are more likely to be from low-income groups, and racial and ethnic minorities. The switch to electric vehicles presents a major opportunity to tackle the distributional impacts of the global carbon emissions that come from transport, whilst recognising the ongoing utility of access to transportation for socioeconomic mobility.

Yet without intelligent design, the future energy system could be challenged by issues of mass electrification. EVs demand higher energy consumption than other low carbon technologies; unless they are charged intelligently and are responsive to the availability of cheap, clean electricity, the anticipated increase in demand for electricity to charge millions of EVs may lead to grid instability, significant network reinforcement, and eventually, higher electricity costs for consumers. Fortunately, EVs can be highly flexible in their operation, especially if they are charged via an automated response to market or grid signals.

Centre for Net Zero