Electric owners could ‘drive for free’ under new scheme

Electric owners could ‘drive for free’ under new scheme
A ground-breaking ‘vehicle-to-grid’ service will allow drivers to let out their electric vehicle’s battery and earn money while they’re not using it.

The companies behind the pioneering scheme – Nissan and energy supplier Ovo – say the savings available to owners will cover the £350-400 annual cost of charging an electric car, enabling them to effectively “drive for free”.

The service will be available on next year’s new Nissan Leaf model in a bid to provide a boost for electric car take-up, and to help power grids handle the surge in green energy demand.

READ MORE: Power demand to rocket for electric vehicles

The idea will be made possible through the installation of a special charger in an electric car driver’s home.

Owners will set the minimum amount of charge they require for the following day, before letting Ovo effectively take control of the battery remotely.

The energy supplier will automatically trade electricity from the battery, feeding power back into the grid during off-peak periods when power costs about 4p per kilowatt hour (kWh), before selling it back at peak time price.

Ovo’s chief executive, Stephen Fitzpatrick, says: “Being able to feed back into the grid will mean that customers will be able to drive for free.”

It is anticipated that new nuclear power stations will be needed to help support the rapid growth of electric vehicles. Back in June the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated a 60% global upturn in electric car take-up in 2016, meaning over 2 million models are now on the roads.

IN OTHER NEWS: Solar-panelled car offers answer to charging limitations

Previously confined to secretive pilot tests, the so-called vehicle-to-grid technology is being made available to customers for the first time.

While Mr Fitzpatrick doesn’t expect anything more than a “relatively modest” initial improvement in take-up as a result of the scheme, he believes it is “the thin end of a very important wedge”.

As well as reducing the number of new power stations that need to be built, he says the “transformational” technology will avoid the need for costly grid upgrades, paid for through energy bills.

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.