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The UK government has announced a new Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Action Plan, which it says could save customers up to £1000 per year through more intelligent and automated EV charging.

It’s hoped that smart charging – which allows customers to take advantage of cheap and cleaner electricity when demand is low through scheduling, at night or when more renewable energy is available on the grid – will become the preferred method of long-duration charging method for EV drivers in 2025.

The plan, developed with energy regulator Ofgem, will increase the number of smart chargers currently available and improve customer service standards. It will also allow more drivers to make use of vehicle-to-load charging to power their homes or sell energy back to the grid for a profit.

The investment will introduce more “smart street lamp posts”, allowing drivers to access smart streetside chargers, as well as domestic appliances such as EV chargers to be integrated into a smarter energy system.

The government will also improve its awareness campaign surrounding smart charging as part of the plan, as well as ensuring privately operated chargers are up to date and made compatible with modern EV technology.

It’s claimed that the average motorist could save around £200 each year, while higher-mileage drivers could save up to £1000.

As of July 2022, all new chargers in the UK must have smart-charging capabilities, and further investment is ongoing to improve the cybersecurity of the charging network.

The £16 million investment stems from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP), a £1 billion fund established to encourage the implementation of low-carbon technologies towards 2050.

Graham Stuart, the UK’s energy and climate minister, said: “We want to make smart charging an easier choice for drivers of electric vehicles, whether that’s charging on the driveway, at the workplace or parked on the street. To do that, we need to build new network infrastructure at pace, using the latest available technologies. “Today’s plan sets out how we will work with Ofgem and industry to kick-start the market for smart charging, which we’re backing up with £16m in innovation funding.”

As part of the NZIP, the government has set up a Vehicle to Everything (V2x) Innovation Programme, which involves a £229,000 investment in streetside smart chargers capable of both charging and sharing power back to the national grid, along with a £165,000 investment in technologies to monitor and maximise battery life – an initiative that should reduce battery degradation.

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