Electric vehicle charging: Powering the future
Smart meters are helping to create an energy system which provides more reliable, efficient and low-carbon energy to households. This helps us all to manage our valuable resources more efficiently. The latest technology is being designed to work with this smart energy system.
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Let's face it, not many people need a hard sell on electric vehicles - most people don't even need a soft sell. A quieter, cleaner, safer, and (yes, we're going to say it) cooler alternative to our dirty petrol and diesel guzzlers - what's not to like?
There is little doubt that a huge surge in the demand for electric vehicles is just around the corner. But is Britain ready for it?
A major feature of electric vehicles is that they get their power from electricity, instead of petroleum-based fuel. This means that drivers need to periodically plug them in to charge. This distinguishes them from hybrid electric vehicles, which supplement an internal combustion engine with battery power, but cannot be plugged in.
More people driving electric vehicles will mean that our roads will soon be a lot quieter. But not only this, it will also cause a huge shift in energy demand, from liquid fossil fuels to electricity.
This is fantastic news for the environment. But it also means that more electricity will need to be supplied to electric vehicle owners. This new demand needs to be managed as smartly as possible.
And that's where the smart energy system, supported by smart meters, comes in.
Watch the video below to see how Einstein - and his race track - are benefitting from this smart energy system:
Smart meters are helping Britain create an energy system that’s better prepared to deal with the demands of modern tech, like electric cars...
Real electric cars.
Join the energy revolution. Get a smart meter.
The smart energy system
Whether your future self plans to be zipping about in a Nissan Leaf or cruising around in a Tesla, a smart energy system is a key part of this.
The smart energy system uses a lot of information, including energy usage data from smart meters, to better predict energy demand. As more people get electric vehicles and demand for electricity increases, this will help us supply more reliable, efficient and low-carbon energy to households. And also help us all to manage our valuable resources more efficiently.
So, how do electric vehicles help the environment?
It's great to see how technology is always changing and improving – from folding computers to electric cars, it's an exciting time! These clever cars get their energy from electricity, instead of petrol. With more energy coming from renewables, that makes electric vehicles even better for the environment.
Smart meters can help too. They're an important part of upgrading our energy system. If we all used one, the CO2 savings Britain could make would be equivalent to the savings made by around 70 million trees. That's a lot of trees!
My name is Andrew. I live here in Bedford, with my wife, Gemma, and my three boys. Having a smart meter and electric vehicle together works really well, it's a very good combination, because you can see what energy you're actually using to charge your vehicle.
So what that actually means for me is that I'm not going to get a huge shock of a bill at the end of the year, or at the end of the month. On average it's two pence per mile in terms of energy costs.
There might even be instances where you could get paid to charge your car when the power system needs us to use more power. This could happen if there is too much renewable energy on the system, like a windy winters night; it's difficult to turn wind farms off, but easy to turn car chargers on.
If you need any further convincing, have a watch of our video featuring Andrew explaining how his smart meter helps him to manage the electricity costs associated with his new purchase.
Smart charging for your electric vehicle
Smart charging is a convenient way of charging your electric vehicle at times when demand (and therefore the cost) for electricity is lower. For example at night, or when lots of renewable energy is being generated. Charging during these off-peak times reduces costs for electric vehicle drivers by using cheaper energy rates.
But that isn’t all! It also helps to prevent unwanted points of high demand for electricity from the smart energy system. Smart charging is also a convenient way for drivers to charge their EVs and can lead to environmental benefits.
Further information about EV smart charging can be found on the Energy Savings Trust’s website here.
Creating a smart future with smart meters
Smart metering is crucial to a smart energy system. As a customer, you can be actively involved in the system, and can decide how you engage with it.
With the smart energy system, energy suppliers can start to offer more flexible tariffs that better suit our changing lifestyles and energy use patterns. If customers choose these tariffs, they can be rewarded for shifting their energy use away from peak periods.
For example, smart time-of-use tariffs offer a different price for energy at different times of the day. So, if you charge your electric vehicle during periods of low energy demand (known as off peak periods), you can pay less for that electricity.
Choosing these tariffs remains entirely the choice of the consumer, and will mean people can be rewarded with lower bills for doing their bit to help reduce their carbon footprint.
As an added bonus reason to get a smart meter to go alongside your new car, you need to know how much your new purchase is going to add to your energy bills. The in-home display which comes with every smart meter will show your energy usage in pounds and pence, in near real time, helping you to work out how much it's costing you and allowing you to adjust your budget accordingly.
You may also be interested in...
- Guide to smart meters - All of our technical pages on smart meters.
- Time-of-use tariffs: the benefits - Smart time-of-use tariffs could save you money on your energy bills, and support a cleaner, greener energy system.
- Smart meter benefits - Find out why millions of people have already had smart meters installed.