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Ofgem’s latest proposals could cut off-peak EV charging costs

New proposals have been laid out by Ofgem to support the millions of expected electric vehicles on Britain’s roads and reduce costs to customers.

Under new Ofgem proposals, EV charging at off-peak could be incentivised to reduce demand and cost, as well as the need to upgrade the grid

Under new Ofgem proposals, EV charging at off-peak could be incentivised to reduce demand and cost, as well as the need to upgrade the grid

The organisation plans to make “more flexible use” of the energy system to allow “more electric vehicles to be charged from the existing grid” and reduce the need for expensive new power stations and extra grid capacity to be built.

Reducing costs for customers plays a role in Ofgem’s plans too, as it attempts to meet the additional demand imposition placed by electric vehicles on the grid by connecting them to more renewable energy generation, battery storage and other new technologies.

According to Ofgem analysis published today if owners use ‘flexible’ charging – where they only top up outside peak demand times on the grid – at least 60% more EVs could be charged up compared with ‘inflexible’ charging where electric vehicles are only charged at peak times and without needing to upgrade the grid.

Flexible charging takes energy distribution, time, demand and price into account, with Ofgem stating this will in turn reduce costs to customers. However, this raises the potential for increased EV charging tariffs at peak times. Ofgem’s proposed reforms are to incentivise customers to charge their electric vehicles at off-peak times.

Jonathan Brearley, executive director, systems and networks, Ofgem, said: “Ofgem is working with the government to support the electric vehicle revolution in Britain which can bring big benefits to consumers. Our reforms will help more users charge their electric vehicles and save them money.

“The proposals we have announced will also harness the benefits of electric vehicles and other new technologies to help manage the energy system and keep costs down for all consumers.”

Commenting on the proposals, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt, said the proposals “have the potential to reap the benefits that electric vehicles can bring to the electricity system by ensuring we make the most efficient use of the electricity we already have available, including from renewable sources – and all while keeping costs down for customers.

“But we also need to see investment in a truly national, visible charging network, so that infrastructure can give drivers the confidence to make the switch from petrol and diesel, and not be the barrier”.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.