Save national grid – charge electric cars smartly says minister 0

Save-national-grid-charge-electric-cars-smartly-says-ministerThe UK’s national grid is coming under increasing pressure as the number of electric cars on Britain’s roads grows. With this in mind, it’s vital that motorists learn to recharge their cars at the right time of day, a minister has said.

Transport minister, John Hayes, said that it was imperative that battery powered vehicles were charged smartly, to prevent the nation’s energy system from being overloaded.

He also said that the growing number of electric car registrations, which statistics show are growing faster than conventional car registrations, should encourage a wider debate as to how the UK should deal with the added demand on its power supply.

“We know the demand for electric vehicles places the national grid under pressure. It’s critically important – we are working on this. It’s particularly important that we charge smart, so we flex demand and take advantage of spare capacity,” Hayes said at an event in London.

One of the UK’s largest energy companies, SSE, found that most users of electric cars charge their vehicles immediately after arriving home from work – a time when energy demand is already peaking. The company has suggested trialling time-shifting charging to periods when demand is at its lowest.

Technology that delays the vehicle’s charge till a few hours after the vehicle owner has plugged it in, could be a solution to the problem. However, at present most of the UK’s 10,000-plus charging stations do not have this technology.

The head of asset management and innovation at SSE, said that realistically, upgrades were going to be necessary if electric cars took off in a big way.

“If this goes ballistic, if it’s like iPads went, then we’re going to have a very big investment programme: you’re going to have to invest in the network. But at least we’re going in with our eyes open,” he said.

A spokesman for the Energy Networks Association, whose members run local power grids, agreed but said: “Electricity network operators are developing a number of innovative solutions to enable people to charge their vehicles while minimising the impact on the power network.”

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