The country is working with the energy regulator Ofgem to expand smart charging capabilities for electric vehicles (EV), including a two-way charging linked to home energy supplies.
1. Smart charging
An Action Plan outlining ways to develop and implement long-duration charging stations by 2025 was unveiled to the British public on January 17. The new initiative builds up on the government’s vision launched in March 2022 which set out EV charging infrastructure. Together with Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, the government is kickstarting the market for smart charging with £16 million in innovation funding. Smart charging, according to the government, uses energy consumption data to charge vehicles using only the cheapest power available. It can also allow drivers to power their houses with electricity stored in their electric vehicles, and sell it back to the grid.
Today we have published our EV Smart Charging Action Plan, alongside @ofgem🔌 🔋 🚗— Dept for BEIS (@beisgovuk) January 17, 2023
It’s our plan to make smart charging the default, saving motorists money, driving convenience & cutting emissions. Watch our video to find out more 👇@OctopusEnergy https://t.co/iCSeh0bTxZ pic.twitter.com/C2zwLMB4sb
With the new model, policymakers defend that billpayers without electric vehicles will also benefit from a more sustainable and efficient electricity system. “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. To do that we need to build new network infrastructure at pace, using the latest available technologies,” said UK Energy and Climate Minister Graham Stuart.
The British government had already taken steps to roll out smart charging and the latest Action Plan is expected to increase consumer confidence in smart charging and provide appropriate protections. With the new plan, the government says it will put forward accessible tariffs and flexibility services to incentivise smart charging.
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.Neil Kenward, The Energy Regulator Ofgem Director for Strategy and Decarbonisation
3. Lincolnshire case study
A two-year government-funded project called Sciurus enlisted 320 Nissan Leaf EV owners across the UK who received Indra V2G charge points to enable their cars to use two-way charging linked to their home energy supply. As a result, the UK government said they saved 30 tonnes of carbon between them in 2020 by charging their EVs at cheaper, lower carbon times and exporting electricity back into the grid at peak.
Moreover, the Sciurus partners discovered that EV batteries could add significant resilience to the energy system. At least 36% of cars were plugged in at any given time and at the 4.30pm start of peak demand, nearly half of the Sciurus fleet were exporting back to the grid. One example of the valuable services provided to the grid occurred in Lincolnshire, where V2G chargers responded to support the local electricity network 12 times during a colder-than-usual month in May 2020.