Charging & range

Smart meters and smart tariffs

The intelligent way to save

Most drivers usually charge their 100% electric or Plug-in Hybrid cars at home, overnight. Smart metering helps you to do so using cheaper and greener electricity – which is a great way of reducing your ‘fuel’ costs even further, whilst taking care of the planet at the same time.

What are smart meters?

Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters now being installed by energy suppliers, at no extra cost, in homes across Great Britain to replace traditional electricity and gas meters. These send automatic meter readings directly and securely to your energy supplier, resulting in accurate bills, an end to estimates, overpaying and manual meter readings. They show you how much energy you are using in real time, in pounds and pence, so that you can take control of your costs.

Crucially for electric car drivers, they also allow you to take advantage of the new breed of ‘EV smart tariffs’ specifically designed for those charging at home.

To claim your free smart meter please contact your energy supplier. You can find out more at smartenergygb.org

Smart tariffs for smart drivers

Unlike traditional electricity tariffs, where you pay the same unit rate (in kWh) all the time, a smart tariff works in conjunction with a smart meter to supply electricity at different prices, depending upon the time of day. This usually means they can offer you cheaper electricity overnight, when demand is low and supply plentiful, which is perfect for the electric car driver. Your car will enable you to pre-set when it charges to take full advantage of these reduced prices.

A number of energy suppliers now have smart tariffs designed specifically for electric car drivers. These will soon become ever smarter, with variable ‘time of use’ tariffs constantly adjusting their pricing throughout the day depending upon demand. The smart meter will then communicate this with your home charging unit / electric car, telling it when the most economical time to charge is.

Going green

In the future, smart meters will allow the energy providers to better manage the demand for their electricity – by reducing prices when supply is plentiful to encourage usage. This enables them to maximise the use of intermittent renewable sources and lessens the need for extra generation at peak times using fossil fuels.

Smart meters are a vital upgrade to Great Britain’s energy system, enabling a more efficient, greener, smarter energy system. It is anticipated that by 2030 smart meters will save 29.6 million tonnes of carbon from being emitted in Great Britain, the equivalent to taking 500,000 petrol cars off the road (source: BEIS – Smart Meter roll-out cost-benefit analysis, August 2016)

Both your smart meter and in-home display will be installed by your energy supplier at no extra cost.

Saving you money

As well as benefitting from the potential ‘smart tariff’ savings, all smart meters come with a rather handy in-home display. This portable device shows exactly how much energy you are using and what it is costing you in pounds and pence – in near real time.

This makes it easier for you to identify when you are using a lot of energy – so that you can potentially then reduce your consumption and cut your costs.

Electric vehicle smart tariffs

New smart tariffs for electric car and van drivers are now being introduced. These can offer a number of different benefits to electric car drivers:

  • 100% renewable electricity
  • Money-off discounts on energy bills for electric car owners
  • A dual rate tariff which offers customers a night rate priced significantly below the day rate which is when many electric and hybrid car owners choose to charge their vehicle.
  • Discounts for public charging schemes

We suggest contacting your energy supplier to see if they yet offer a smart tariff for EV drivers, or using one of the many energy comparison websites.

‘Vehicle to Grid’ smart tariffs

In the future, smart meters and electric cars together will have the potential to generate revenue from ‘vehicle to grid’ (V2G) services.

By charging your car during low-demand cheap tariff periods, the electricity stored in the car’s battery can then be used at home to power the kettle or washing machine when costs are higher. Or alternatively you might get paid to feed this electricity back to the grid. V2G technology will help the electricity grid maximise the use of renewable energy too, by using your car’s battery to store this when it’s being produced.

When combined with home battery storage, consumers can have greater independence from the grid and receive incentives for not using the energy grid or for providing back up generation.

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