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How to power the electric vehicle revolution


The UK is on the cusp of an electric vehicle revolution. Last year, the government set an ambitious target to stop selling new gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2030, and National Grid rated that by 2050 there will be 35 million electric or electric vehicles on the roads. Billions of pounds are currently being invested in charging infrastructure across the country, and while much remains to be done to facilitate the transition to our future of electric vehicles, Britain now has more electric vehicle charging points than at traditional gas stations.

Moving to electric vehicles is key to both fighting climate change and achieving our zero goals, as gadditional numbers show that about a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions are currently from road transport. Moving to electric vehicles will not only help us achieve carbon neutrality by reducing emissions, but will also be critical to improving air quality by reducing the level of toxic particles emitted from exhaust fumes. During their lifetime, electric vehicles will emit 60 percent less greenhouse gases compared to a conventional diesel car – this figure will only get better as more and more energy on the grid comes from renewable sources such as wind, waves and solar energy.

But a key element that will play a central role in accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles is not yet fully understood – the role of smart meters.

Smart meters allow energy consumers to see how much electricity and gas they are using and how much it costs them, in near real time. They can be purchased from energy providers at no additional cost, and they can help customers save on bills by not only making them more aware of the costs of their energy use, but also having the potential to unlock tariffs that reward consumers who use off-peak energy more. cheap periods. In addition to creating a more adaptable and flexible billing system that better suits people’s lifestyles, they are also needed to create a modern efficient smart energy system that can better manage supply and demand, predict energy use, and manage distribution more efficiently.

So what does electric cars have to do with it?

As the use of electric vehicles grows in the coming years, the demand for energy will grow along with this. Modern batteries have a huge capacity and are constantly being improved – many new electric vehicles can travel over 300 miles without recharging, and most of them can travel around about 150 km / h… This means that when an electric vehicle is connected, a large amount of energy can be consumed from the system. “An electric car can consume three or four times the normal amount of energy in the home,” says Robert Cheeswright, director of Smart Energy GB and an expert on smart technologies. meters. As such, electric vehicle users will want to make sure they get the best deal by recharging their car batteries at a time when energy prices are at their lowest. And a smart meter can help them with this.

Smart meters can help automate the charging of vehicles after hours and at night, allowing flexible-rate EV owners to get the best possible deal and operate their vehicles at the lowest cost. Situations may arise in the future where energy consumers are paid to charge their cars – for example, on windy nights when surplus energy is generated from renewable sources, and it is easier to turn on car chargers than to turn off all the wind. farms.

“If you don’t have smart tariff and smart charging,” Cheesewright says, “you pay a flat rate for your energy. And in this case, if you charge your electric car, you will charge your car with expensive energy. ” The cost of using an electric vehicle can often seem prohibitive, but it doesn’t have to be, and smart meters can make using electric vehicles much more economical. In fact, having a smart meter with smart tariff enabled during periods of high energy demand may even allow electric vehicle users to sell energy back to the grid at a profit.

“One of our concerns,” Cheeswright explains, “is the storage of renewable electricity.” Since many renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, cannot provide guaranteed and stable electricity, the difficulties we face in storing energy for future use are a major obstacle to achieving clean zero. “The wind blows when it blows and the sun shines when it shines,” he says. “But if we can store all the energy of the wind, sun and waves and never waste a single unit of it, then this is the key to an electricity system based on highly renewable energy sources.

“Imagine a person who comes home from work at 18:00. Instead of charging the car right away during a period of high demand when the grid needs electricity, a smart meter tells the car charger that electricity is really expensive and the grid is desperate for electricity. This will be the signal for him to send energy from the car battery back to the grid, selling the energy in the car (which they got overnight, off-peak, very cheap) back to the grid at a time. when it is much more expensive. And that’s because they are providing important services to the network, helping it balance and ensure that there is enough electricity in the system. ”

Thus, working in tandem, smart meters and electric vehicles will act as critical building blocks in building an efficient, digitalized, decentralized and flexible smart energy system. As smart meters enhance the commercial viability of EVs, and while EVs contribute to energy storage and regulation of the grid, they can form the backbone of our path to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Join the energy revolution and reach out to your energy provider to request a smart meter. For more information visit smartenergygb.org

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