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Cheaper motoring is heading down the road with the announcement of a new scheme for smart charging of electric vehicles.

The Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Action Plan, published by the Government and Ofgem, 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.

Easier charging

Energy and Climate Minister Graham Stuart said: “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.

“This plan sets out how we will work with Ofgem and industry to kickstart the market for smart charging, which we are backing up with £16 million in innovation funding. This will let people take control of their energy usage, in the most convenient and low-cost way.”

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.

Ofgem Director for Strategy and Decarbonisation Neil Kenward said: “As energy regulator, we’re helping create the infrastructure to deliver Britain’s net-zero future at the lowest cost to customers.

Smart benefits

“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.”

The announcements build on the 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 use 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.

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