Offpeak electric vehicle charging to be made cheaper under Ofgem plans

Electric vehicle owners in Britain will be able to charge their batteries at a reduced cost under new proposals from the electricity market regulator.

Ofgem is consulting on plans which will reduce the cost to consumers of meeting the extra demand from electric vehicles by topping up when electricity is cheaper, which will in turn reduce the need for expensive new power stations and extra grid capacity.

According to an analysis published by Ofgem today, if owners use ‘flexible’ charging - where they only top up outside peak demand times on the grid – at least 60 per cent more EVs could be charged up compared with ‘inflexible’ charging where electric vehicles are only charged at peak times.

Flexible charging does this by allowing electric vehicles to be charged when energy prices are cheapest, for example when wind and solar power is generating lots of electricity or when there is less demand across the system.

The Government’s Road To Zero strategy published earlier this month featured a huge boost for charging infrastructure, including the installation of hundreds of thousands more charge points.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles such as hybrids and pure electrics held 5.5 per cent of the UK’s new car market in the first six months of 2018.

A study for motoring research charity the RAC Foundation found that growth in electric car use could be stalled by limitations in the public charging network. The mass market appeal of ultra-green vehicles may be restricted without widespread, reliable and easy-to-use charging points, the report warned.

Jonathan Brearley, an executive director at Ofgem, said: “Our reforms will help more users charge their electric vehicles and save them money. The proposals we have announced today will also harness the benefits of electric vehicles and other new technologies to help manage the energy system and keep costs down for all consumers.

“The way we generate, transport and use electricity - and power our cars - is undergoing a radical transformation in Great Britain. Ofgem will ensure that the energy system is fit for this exciting, cleaner future and at the lowest cost for consumers.”

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