The launch by Ovo Energy of an electric vehicle (EV) tariff is further proof that the merger of electric mobility and energy continues at pace. The challenge of EVs at scale is significant for grid infrastructure and with innovative tariffs some of this can be mitigated but the issue will continue to escalate.
Bristol-based Ovo’s EV Everywhere tariff aims to give EV customers a two-year fixed energy rate and includes free membership of the POLAR network of charging stations over that period. The utility has become the exclusive energy supplier to Chargemaster, an EV charging infrastructure developer, and its POLAR network. The network is the largest charging network for EVs in the UK, with over 5,000 chargepoints supplied from 100% renewable electricity.
Users of Ovo Energy's new tariff will receive electricity from renewable energy sources, guaranteed by certificates proving its origin. Ovo Energy said it was only Britain's third energy tariff targeted at EVs.
In a move towards building a complete “grid smart” charging solution for EVs, Ovo Energy will introduce its proprietary VNet technology across the network. This will unlock smart charging capabilities on a national scale. Ultimately, the move will enable Ovo Energy customers’ electric vehicles to function as mobile batteries at home and on-the-go, balancing renewable energy on the grid. It will also enable drivers to sell back unused energy.
Significant growth in EVs expected
The new tariff comes at about the same time as the UK government’s announcement that the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned from 2040 onwards. The government’s concern around escalating air pollution levels has led to the ban.
A government spokesperson said in a statement that poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and that the government is determined to take ‘strong action in the shortest time possible.’
“That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.”
Britain’s air quality package "also includes £1bn in ultra-low emissions vehicles including investing nearly £100m in the UK’s charging infrastructure and funding the 'plug-in car' and 'plug-in grant' schemes."
The big question with EVs remains who will build out the infrastructure and how quickly DSOs are able to react to delivering on this new kind of demand.
Mass adoption of EVs to ‘revolutionise’ energy sector
Electricity consumption by EVs is predicted to rise as consumers opt for ‘clean’ and environmentally friendly vehicles. A drop in battery costs will also boost EV sales. Ovo Energy estimates that the UK will have at least one million EVs on its roads by 2022, up from the current 110,000 EVs.
According to Ovo Energy's CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick, the mass adoption of EVs “will completely revolutionise the energy sector."
Alongside the tariff launch, Ovo Energy also announced two acquisitions: EV charging point installer ChargedEV and EV technology research company Indra Renewable Technologies. These acquisitions are aimed at accelerating the company’s provision of smart charging.