Fast-growing consumer interest in electric vehicles (EV) will be further accelerated by the roll out of smart meters, a major new study suggests.
The study, commissioned by Smart Energy GB, found that more than eight million people are considering buying or leasing an electric vehicle in the next five years, with engagement in the EV market likely to be significantly boosted as people become more aware of how smart meters can integrate with EVs to help reduce energy costs.
Smart meters and smart charging
According to the poll, more than a third of respondents said they would be more interested in buying an EV if they own a smart meter, while a third of drivers said they would be more likely to purchase an EV if they could programme it to charge automatically at home when energy is cheapest (known as smart charging).
The findings support a new joint report published by Leeds University and Smart Energy GB investigating how smart meters and smart charging not only mean a “better experience” for electric vehicle users, but also have the ability to “accelerate the UK’s transition to a more sustainable and greener economy”.
With smart meters and smart grid functionality enabling EVs to be charged during periods of off-peak power demand, the report elaborates on how this ability to smooth out peaks and troughs in power demand could help lower both overall costs and carbon emissions across the energy system.
As most consumers are expected to want to be able to charge their electric vehicle at home, smart meters will play a critical role in making this process “reliable, cheaper and greener”, the report outlines.
It is furthermore hoped that, alongside smart charging, the development of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies in tandem with smart metering could later enable EVs to provide additional energy storage. This will in turn allow energy consumers to generate income by selling excess power back to the grid, or even directly to peers via a blockchain system.
“Electric vehicles mean a big shift in energy demand, from liquid fossil fuels to mainly grid electricity,” the report states. “This affects everything, from how much new infrastructure is needed, to the price of power and the environmental impact of car charging. Smart metering can go a long way to solving these problems by affecting when energy is used, as well as how much is needed.”
Commenting on the report, UK Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said:
"Smart meters will enable our future energy system to better balance supply and demand and create the opportunity of smart charging for electric vehicle owners, enabling better value tariffs to reward drivers for charging their electric vehicles at off-peak times.
"Our smarter future is becoming a reality, and the smart meter rollout is a key part of handing control of their energy back to households."
Dr Stephen Hall, a researcher at University of Leeds, added:
"Smart meters can put us in the fast lane for consumer control over energy choices which encourages the uptake of electric vehicles in Britain.
"They pave the way for new energy tariffs which will reward drivers for charging off peak with cheaper power. They can also enable EV owners to be even more environmentally friendly, by matching charging with the greenest electricity on the system.”
To find out more about about how smart charging can help EVs become a key tool for achieving grid stability, read our blog on the subject here.
For more information about how we are leading the smart energy revolution, including our capacity to develop the nation's EV charging network, visit here.
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