New smart EV charging system could save consumers up to £1,000 a year

Thanks to plans for a new EV charging system, UK electric vehicle owners are set to benefit from lower energy bills and cheaper motoring.

The Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Action Plan, which was published today by the UK Government and Ofgem, sets out steps to seize the potential of smart EV charging and make it the main method of long-duration charging by 2025.

For high-mileage motorists, smarter charging could save up to £1,000 a year, which hugely addresses the costs associated with the charging of electric vehicles.

The benefits of smart charging

Smart EV charging harnesses the potential of energy use data and the latest energy innovations to deliver significant benefits for consumers, including allowing motorists to charge electric vehicles when electricity is cheaper or cleaner, allowing consumers to power their homes using electricity stored in their electric vehicle, or even sell it back to the grid for profit.

To back this up further, the Government has also announced £16m funding from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) for technologies that harness the potential of smart charging, including a smart street lamppost which will enable motorists to access smart charging on the move, and projects that will enable domestic appliances, from heat pumps to EV charge points and batteries, to integrate into a smarter energy system.

Graham Stuart, Energy and Climate Minister, commented: “We want to make smart EV charging an easier choice for drivers of electric vehicles, whether that is charging on the driveway, at the workplace, or parked on the street. 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.”

The rollout of intelligent and automated smart EV charging will deliver a win-win situation for all consumers. Reduced electricity system costs will lower prices for everyone, motorists will pay less for charging their electric vehicles, and the electricity powering EVs will be cleaner and greener.

All EV charge points across the UK will now be smart

Today’s announcements build on the major steps already taken by the Government to enable smart and flexible EV charging. As of July 2022, all new charge points sold privately must now have smart functionality, and the UK is consulting on a new policy and technical framework to unlock the benefits of domestic smart, flexible energy, and enhance its cybersecurity.

Through the plan, the Government will improve publicly available information and evidence on smart charging, support the implementation of robust consumer service standards, and ensure private charge points are secure and compatible with the latest energy innovations.

The Government must now deliver on the EV charging plan

The Government and Ofgem will seek to remove the barriers that currently prevent the full development of a diverse and competitive smart EV charging market, while also making sure the energy system is ready to respond to the upturn in energy demand that electric vehicles will bring.

To implement smart EV charging systems throughout the country, funding has been granted to several UK businesses. Among those receiving funding through the V2X (Vehicle to Everything) Innovation Programme for prototype hardware, software and business models, are:

  • £229,000 to a project led by Otaski Energy Solutions to develop a smart street lamppost capable of charging electric vehicles and sharing power back to the grid;
  • £220,000 to V2X-Flex: A project led by EV Dot Energy Ltd to develop prototype software and a new business model which will reduce entry barriers for the domestic use of V2X bi-directional chargers to provide energy flexibility services; and
  • £165,000 to BEVScanV2X: A project led by Agile Charging Ltd to develop technology that could overcome battery degradation by creating a cost-effective tool to monitor and advise best approaches to maximise battery life and financial returns from smart charging.

Among those receiving funding through the Interoperable Demand-Side Response (IDSR) Programme, which supports technologies that allow consumers to remotely increase or decrease their energy use to take advantage of when energy is cheaper or more renewables are on the grid, are:

  • £510,000 to Energy Smart Heat Pump: A project by Samsung Electronics UK and their project partners Passiv UK to design and develop a technology solution that can provide demand side response (DSR) services via Samsung Heat Pumps, giving greater control of their usage based on cost or carbon savings;
  • £1.2m to Smart-DSRFlex: A project by Landis & Gyr UK to demonstrate how DSR technology can help to manage a renewables-based electricity grid using the smart meter system; and
  • £29,000 to Open DSR for All: A project by Carbon Co-op to explore the benefits and technical barriers to an accessible approach to domestic DSR, potentially enabling more products to be able to offer DSR in future.

Will smart charging become the norm in the UK?

Depending on tariff, mileage, and charging patterns, smart EV charging could save an average driver up to £200, and a high mileage driver up to £1000 a year by delaying the power demand from electric vehicles at peak periods, such as 4 pm-9 pm on winter evenings. By helping to efficiently balance when energy is generated and used on the electricity grid, the technology could contribute to reducing electricity prices for consumers across the network.

Delivering the steps set out in the Action Plan will help make smart charging the norm at home and work by 2025. It is the ambition that by the late 2020s, smart charging will also become more commonplace at long-duration public charging, such as on-street or at transport hubs.

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