Electric cars could cost more to charge at peak periods, says Ofgem

Nissan Leaf

Industry regulator claims EV owners could be incentivised or punished financially depending on time of day they charge their car

Electric vehicle owners could face a fresh concern in addition to range and charging locations in the future, with industry regulator Ofgem suggesting that it could cost more to charge their cars in peak times.

The proposed “flexible energy” measures would ensure less investment is needed in the UK’s electricity infrastructure.

Ofgem analysis suggests that if owners use ‘flexible charging’ (deliberately topping up outside of peak demand times, such as overnight) at least “60% more EVs could be charged up” compared with charging in peak periods. Proposed reforms would see incentives for customers “to charge their electric vehicles at the right time”.

A day in the life of an electric car charger

Customers could also be charged less when more renewable electricity is being generated through solar or wind farms. Cheaper rates would be offered through ‘time-of-use tariffs’ on smart meters when the electricity grid is in lower demand; currently, around 11 million UK households are on these tariffs.

Ofgem has previously suggested that if 40% of UK drivers switched to EVs, nearly a third of the country’s low-voltage networks would need to be upgraded in order to cope with demand.

A flexible charging system is one suggested route around this problem, but those who are unable to do so could be required to pay the associated additional network costs through inflated electricity tariffs or remote charging fees.

Ofgem has also praised the influx of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging systems offered on the latest EVs. These cars are able to store excess energy when there is less demand and feed it back to the grid when needed. While this service is described as “valuable”, Ofgem warns that “sophisticated infrastructure” could be required to utilise it effectively.

Lawrence Allan

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Source: Autocar Online

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