More than eight million people in Britain are considering buying or leasing an electric vehicle in the next five years, according to a new survey.
The findings from Populus, on behalf of Smart Energy GB, highlight the importance of smart meters in the uptake of electric vehicles.
It found that a third (34%) of drivers would be more interested in buying an electric vehicle if they have a smart meter. 33% said they’d be more likely to purchase an electric vehicle if they could programme it to charge automatically at home when energy is cheapest.
Robert Llewelyn on smart meters
We spoke to Robert Llewelyn about why he’s supporting the shift to smart meters, and the benefits he’s noticed since having one fitted.
‘The longer you have an electric car the more you realise how you use energy, when you use it and how you can be more efficient in your usage’, Robert told us. ‘All those things were undoubtedly made much clearer to me when I had a smart meter fitted. Your energy supplier will fit one for no extra charge and the portable display that comes along with it gives you an instant understanding of exactly how much it’s costing to charge your car in pounds and pence and when is the best time to charge it.’
For example, Robert added, using off-peak electricity saves ‘an enormous amount of money with electric cars, it makes them even cheaper’.
‘Getting a smart meter will also help you keep your electric vehicle charging green, because if an electric vehicle owner has a smart meter they can be encouraged by new tariffs to draw power from the grid when energy is green and cheap’, Robert told us. ‘The two pieces of technology really go hand in hand – both are paving the way for a sustainable future and an energy system that works in a much smarter way.’
Benefits for EV drivers
The Populus survey supports a report published by Leeds University and Smart Energy GB that looks at how smart meters and smart charging create a better experience for electric vehicle users.
Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of Smart Energy GB, said electric vehicles ‘will create huge benefits for consumers’, but added that Britain’s energy infrastructure ‘needs to be smarter’ in order to meet the challenges of millions of people using electric vehicles.
‘As our research shows, smart meters can go a long way to enabling cheaper network management, to allowing new tariffs to reward drivers for charging off peak, meaning billions of pounds of savings for Britain’, Sacha added.
Cheaper energy bills
‘The smart route to electric vehicles’ sets out how electric vehicles and smart meters will accelerate the UK’s transition to a more sustainable and greener economy.
With most consumers expected to want to be able to charge their electric vehicle at home, smart meters will play a critical role in making this process cheaper, greener and more reliable.
The report shows that with a smart meter installed, energy suppliers can reward drivers for charging during low price periods.
The report states, ‘Electric vehicles mean a big shift in energy demand, from liquid fossil fuels to mainly grid electricity. 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.’
‘Smart meters can put us in the fast lane for consumer control over energy choices which encourages the uptake of electric vehicles in Britain.
‘Putting electric vehicles and smart meters together offers us an incredible prize, sustainable driving, which as a car fan and environmentalist is really exciting.’
DR STEPHEN HALL
Researcher at the University of Leeds