A recent trial has put smart-metered EV charge points to the test, with some dramatic results. The headline result of the study was that the average driver will save £604.65 (US$712) per year in charging costs compared to traditional non-smart public charging. With the target of 300,000 chargers installed on British roads by 2030, that would represent a collective saving of over £4.1 billion.
The government-backed Agile Streets scheme, which involved several private companies, also demonstrated that peak energy demand – the time of day when energy demand is greatest – could be reduced by as much as 240MW, equivalent to boiling over 1.4m kettles by switching to smart charging.
So how does smart EV charging work, and why is it potentially so powerful for the UK’s public charging infrastructure?
How Does Smart-Metered EV Charging Work?
Smart chargers help reduce the cost to charge for drivers, as they can be set up to charge at different rates throughout the day, depending on energy demand and electricity prices. This means that users are paying a more competitive rate when compared to traditional public charging points.
The smart-metered EV charge points are powered by advanced software that reads data from the local grid and other sources. This information is used to set the cheapest rates for energy at different times of day and to manage when charging takes place to avoid peak-time demand charges.
For instance, these chargers know when it’s a sunny or windy day and can offer high-powered charges for relatively little, thanks to the abundance of cheap renewable energy. Likewise, on cold and dark days in winter, it can put back charging until the early morning hours when demand is lower and electricity prices tend to be cheaper.
The Benefits of Smart-Metered EV Charging
The benefits of smart-metered chargers have come into focus recently thanks to soaring energy prices. With the cost of running an EV currently just 3.9p per mile cheaper than an internal combustion engine (ICE) counterpart, reducing charging costs is key to the long-term success of electric vehicles.
Worse still, just under two-thirds of UK homes don’t have access to off-street parking or a dedicated driveway for charging, meaning that the majority of EV drivers will have to rely on public chargers. VAT is also charged at 20% on public charging (as opposed to 5% for domestic charging), adding an additional burden to those already paying more for energy.
Smart-metered charging helps to reduce these costs by dynamically adjusting the rates available to drivers. This means that off-peak charging is cheaper than ever before, allowing EV owners to charge their vehicles when energy demand and prices are lowest. This is especially beneficial to those without access to off-street parking, as it makes the cost of charging more attractive.
Lastly, as a country, the national grid will have to cope with the huge additional burden that electric vehicles will bring. Smart-metered charging can help to alleviate this by spreading the load across different times of day, flattening peaks in demand, and reducing the need for additional power infrastructure.
Is Smart-Metered Charging the Future for Public EV Charging?
It certainly looks that way. Smart-metered charging technology is a vital part of the UK’s plan to become a low-carbon economy by 2030 and has the potential to revolutionise the public charging network.
The savings for drivers could be substantial, with estimates suggesting that smart-metered charging could reduce EV bills by up to 30% compared to traditional public chargers. This is excellent news for those living in cities, where public charging points are the only option for the vast majority of drivers.
Harness the Benefit of Smart Charging Today with Applegarth
Of course, smart chargers are already available to domestic customers. The team here at Applegarth can install EV charge points that offer real-time energy monitoring and intelligent load management, allowing customers to make the most of their EV charging setup.
If you would like to learn more about how our charge point solutions can help you to save money on EV charging, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about installing and funding an EV charge point.