UK Government Reveals Plan to Expand Smart Charging Infrastructure

EV drivers in the UK are set to benefit from lower energy bills and cheaper motoring thanks to a landmark plan to unlock the potential of smart electric vehicle charging.

The Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Action Plan sets out steps being taken to seize on the significant potential of smart charging and make it the preferred method of long duration charging by 2025.

Smart 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 home using electricity stored in their electric vehicle, or even sell it back to the grid for profit. It is expected high mileage motorists could save up to £1,000 a year through smarter charging.

And to back this up further, the government has also announced £16 million 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 electric vehicle charge points and batteries, to integrate into a smarter energy system.

The plan build on the major steps already taken by the government to enable smart and flexible electric vehicle charging. As of July 2022, all new charge points sold for private now must 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 roll out of intelligent and automated smart 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 vehicle, and the electricity powering electric vehicles will be cleaner and greener.

Depending on tariff, mileage, and charging patterns, smarter 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 4pm to 9pm 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 in the late 2020s smart charging will also become more commonplace at long-duration public charging, such as on-street or at transport hubs.

Blagojce Krivevski

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