electric vehicle in winter charging

£1K potential savings for EV drivers with ‘Smart Charging Action Plan’

Image credit: Dreamstime

The UK government’s ‘Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Action Plan’ aims to encourage charging when electricity is cheaper or cleaner to help users lower their energy bills.

The UK government has presented a new plan to boost smart electric vehicle (EV) charging, which it claims could save drivers up to £1,000 a year. 

The ‘Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Action Plan’ would involve boosting the network of units with smart charging capabilities, which would minimise the impact of EVs on the grid by reducing demand peaks.

The plan was drawn up by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem, with the goal of making smart charging "the norm at home and work by 2025", as well as the preferred method of long-duration public charging.

It stresses that smarter charging could save an average driver around £200 and a high-mileage motorist up to £1,000 a year by, for example, delaying a charge at peak periods until overnight when energy prices are at their lowest.

The plan would also include £16m in funding for the development of smart charging technologies.  

“We want to make smart charging an easier choice for drivers of electric vehicles, whether that is charging on the driveway, at the workplace, or parked on the street," said Graham Stuart, energy and climate minister. “To do that we need to build new network infrastructure at pace, using the latest available technologies.

“Today’s plan sets out how we will work with Ofgem and industry to kickstart the market for smart charging, which we are backing up with £16m in innovation funding.

“This will let people take control of their energy usage, in the most convenient and low-cost way.”

Some of the projects that will be supported with this latest round of government funding include one led by Otaski Energy Solutions with a smart street lamppost capable of charging EVs and sharing power back to the grid, as well as initiatives that will enable domestic appliances such as EV charge points, heat pumps and batteries to integrate into a smarter energy system.

The department said the technology could even help reduce electricity prices for all consumers by balancing energy usage.

“As energy regulator, we’re helping create the infrastructure to deliver Britain’s net-zero future at the lowest cost to customers," said Neil Kenward, Ofgem director for strategy and decarbonisation. 

“This latest innovative plan will help to maximise the benefits of smart charging, offer vital savings to consumers and reduce the overall cost of energy by seizing the opportunities to use batteries to both power homes and fuel the wider grid.”

Earlier this month, analysis by the RAC found that it currently costs electric car drivers on long journeys more to top up their vehicles than people driving petrol cars. 

The research found it now costs an average of 70.32p per kilowatt-hour to rapid-charge on a pay-as-you-go basis, up from 44.55p (58 per cent) last May and from 63.29p (11 per cent) last September.

In the UK, the government announced last year that it would bring forward a ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the country to 2030, although the restriction will not affect hybrid vehicles. 

However, recent analysis from E&T has revealed a potentially huge investment gap that threatens the UK’s net-zero ambitions and the plans for widespread uptake of EVs, with electricity demand set to increase by more than 70 per cent by 2050.

Today also brought bad news for Britishvolt, an EV battery startup which was planning to build a £3.2bn battery-producing gigafactory in Northumberland. The firm, ostensibly part-supported by around £100m of government funding, finally collapsed into administration today with the loss of 300 jobs.

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