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Quarter of EV drivers charge at most expensive times

Electric vehicle drivers could save £360 a year by charging their vehicles more efficiently using cheap off-peak energy.

More than a quarter (28%) of EV drivers charge their vehicle whenever they get home rather than waiting for the cheapest time to plug in

More than a quarter (28%) of EV drivers charge their vehicle whenever they get home rather than waiting for the cheapest time to plug in, according to new research from EV comparison website, Love My EV.

Data from the website uncovered that an average EV driver who charges whenever they get home, irrelevant of price, would already lose out on savings of £200 per year on their charging alone. And fast-rising energy prices will mean they spend a further £160 on energy unnecessarily by not waiting for a cheaper off-peak period to charge their vehicle.

Mat Thomson, co-founder of Love My EV, commented: “People need to move away from plugging in their vehicles as soon as they get home from work. This change in behaviour is good for the consumer, as lower energy prices during off-peak hours can be passed on. An average EV driver now stands to save an estimated £360 a year by simply charging during off-peak hours – and there may be further savings if they delay other household energy use.”

But even though more than half of all current EV drivers do charge off-peak, they too could could also make use of more efficient charging strategies to ensure they’re charging at the greenest time in terms of renewables.

Love My EV – which compares both EVs and energy to find drivers’ best match – analysed National Grid data for 2019-2020 and found the greenest time to charge was between 2am and 4am, when the grid was on average 30% renewable energy.  The actual renewable content within these hours ranged from 15% to 45%, and some on days midday charging could have been even greener.

Currently only 12% of EV drivers hold off charging their car until a point in the week when they predict energy prices and carbon would be lowest. And less than 3% make use of automated charging when energy is cheapest or lowest carbon intensity.

Love My EV also warned that more flexible or automated smart charging strategies will be required in future to ensure the electricity grid can cope and continue to get greener as demand for EVs skyrockets.

Love My EV’s top tips for EV drivers to cut costs and carbon-impact from charging:

  1. Charge your electric vehicles at off-peak times when energy is generally greener
  2. Avoid running your battery lower than 20% and set it to stop charging at 80% unless you need the range for a longer journey, as the first and last parts of the battery take longest to charge. This is also good for battery health.
  3. In winter, finish your charging as close as possible to the time you leave home in the morning. As charging warms the battery, you’ll have more range from the same amount of energy.
  4. A UK summer means you get more miles per charge than the stated range. However, range starts to fall again above 25 degrees centigrade. In a heatwave, it’s better to charge in the shade.
  5. In extreme heat or cold, keep your car plugged in (but not necessarily charging) to allow the battery temperature controls to keep running.
  6. Consider solar: if your car is at home during the day, investing in solar panels on your roof means you’ll charge with the greenest and cheapest energy. Prices have dropped considerably, so it’s worth getting a quote now even if you’ve ruled solar out in the past.
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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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