UK Trial Finds Financial Benefits of Public Smart Charging for EV Drivers

Results from the UK’s first trial of smart on-street electric vehicle (EV) chargers demonstrate that smart charging at public charge points could save drivers 604.65 GBP per year compared to using traditional chargers.

This is equivalent to a UK-wide saving of over 4.1 billion GBP a year by 2030.

Smart charging enables EV drivers to schedule charging to times when energy prices are cheapest, such as overnight when demand is lower. This takes pressure off the grid at peak times and keeps costs low for drivers. By using an app and scheduling the time a car needs to be fully charged, drivers will still have enough power to use their car again when required.

The results of the ‘Agile Streets– the future of flexible charging’ report show that using smart on-street public chargers would reduce national peak energy demand by as much as 240MW (equivalent to boiling over 1.4 million kettles), compared to the demand that drivers charging their electric cars would otherwise produce.

Smart On-Street Charging
The Agile Streets project saw 100 Connected Kerb on-street EV chargers deployed at 17 sites across 4 local authorities

EV ownership is increasing significantly, with UK registrations currently 40 percent greater than last year. The current battery-electric vehicle share for new car purchases in the UK is 14.8%.

However, rising energy bills are diminishing the cost advantages of this switch, so smart charging is key for maintaining the financial benefits that encourage people to drive an EV.

As 62 percent of UK households do not have access to off-street parking with a domestic power supply, they must rely on public charging infrastructure. These users pay 20 percent VAT compared to the 5 percent paid on home energy. When coupled with the current lack of smart chargers available publicly, this creates a significant convenience gap between households who can and cannot charge their vehicle at home.

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, said:

“The energy price crisis is a major challenge facing all industries. For the EV transition, we know that this will narrow the gap between the cost of refuelling a petrol or diesel vehicle, and the typically much lower cost of charging an EV. That’s why now is the time to focus our attention on smart charging technologies that can allow those reliant on public charging infrastructure to benefit from cheaper prices when demand for electricity is at its lowest.

“The deployment of smart charging into public charging – to both reduce consumer costs and minimise the impact of charging on the grid – is ground-breaking. The Agile Streets trial gives us the opportunity to ensure we get smart charging right, enabling us to take all of the learnings from the trial and get ready to roll out this revolutionary infrastructure.”

During the Agile Streets project, 100 Connected Kerb public EV chargers were deployed at 17 sites across Shropshire, Hackney, Glasgow and East Lothian for a six-month period.

The project was supported by 1.5 million GBP from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and was delivered by a consortium of companies including Connected Kerb, Samsung Research, Octopus Energy, SMETS Design Limited, Energy Saving Trust and the Power Networks Distribution Centre.

Tim Anderson, group head of transport at Energy Saving Trust:

“The provision of convenient and affordable EV charging infrastructure is essential to ensure that electric vehicles are accessible to everyone. This will support the switch low carbon transport, which in turn is a key part of the UK’s transition to net zero carbon. Energy Saving Trust is proud to be part of this world-first trial, using smart metering technology to enable drivers without the option of charging at home, to take advantage of off-peak tariffs to charge their cars. We look forward to seeing the trial rolled out further and the benefits that this will bring.”

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