23rd July 2018
Ofgem have previously suggested that the rise in popularity of electric cars has the potential to reach unsustainable levels for the grid. The impact of just a 40% increase in electric car charging at home would require upgrading almost a third of all ‘low-voltage networks’ – these are the networks which supply customers from transformers, which would invariably result in a significant price hike for the end user.
However, Ofgem now suggest that the use of ‘flexible’ charging would allow the use of EV’s in the UK to increase by 60% before the network would need to be upgraded. The suggestion of flexible charging suggests utilising off peak electricity rates to get reduce the load on the grid and importantly for the customer reduce costs.
By using smart meters to monitor when off peak electricity times start combined with automated charging customers would see significant savings when charging their cars.
But, what is off peak electricity?
Off peak electricity is a change to the cost of some peoples supply, many providers offer peak and off peak rates; during waking hours electricity is charged at a higher price, the idea being that we shouldn’t need to use much electricity during the day so it is priced higher as a deterrent, off peak tends to be later at night until early morning, generally speaking around 9pm to 7am.
Ofgem’s suggestion that people use their electric car chargers overnight would elevate some of the strain on the grid as typically off peak hours are when there are less people awake, so televisions, lights, and appliances etc. are less likely to be running. As the charges for electricity are less at this time and people are less likely to be using their cars at this time it makes good financial and environmental sense for EV owners to capitalise on this advice.
The rise in number of EV’s on the road is seemingly a trend that is set to continue, and as technology moves forward toward two way charging known as V2G or Vehicle to Grid (where the charged vehicle passes electricity back into the grid) charging an electric car need not cost the earth, literally or figuratively.