With the huge emphasis that the government has placed on the emergence of electric cars over the last few years and the way that the technology has improved, many of us are considering if buying one would be a good idea. Part of that decision-making process is going to be the cost of the extra electricity needed to charge the cars – possibly on a daily basis.
Energy companies have started to appreciate this and are beginning to offer special tariffs to make the economic cost seem much more attractive. In fact, one company, Ovo, has developed a tariff that makes it possible to take full advantage of cheap electricity for the purposes of charging an electric car. The company will offer owners of the Leaf Nissan a special charging system that allows a degree of control from the supplier over how the charging takes place. Simply put, the supplier decides how your car will be charged to maximise energy use.
Ovo is also looking into the possibility of vehicle to grid electricity technologies. So the supplier will charge the car when electricity is cheap, store it in the car battery and then sell back to the grid when the price is higher. It is thought that this could result in a saving of up to £400 per year for drivers – effectively allowing them to drive for free. They just have to allow Ovo to manage their electricity needs on their behalf.
The government has provided £20m in funding to look into the idea of vehicle to grid technology to see how viable it will be – however the flexibility that it offers the National Grid to draw on the electricity stored in hundreds of thousands of electric cars could be game changing, according to experts.
This is added to other tariffs on offer from the likes of Eon and other larger companies that provide cheaper overnight electricity especially for the use of those charging their cars. In some cases, this overnight supply is up to a third cheaper than daytime prices. Some suppliers also offer discounts for owners of these vehicles.
As ownership of electric vehicles increases, these types of schemes could become more important and a factor in our decisions making the process as consumers. Energy companies are starting to see the benefit in offering something special for the forthcoming electric car revolution and we all stand to benefit.