Consumers ‘must be in the driving seat: A government advisory body has announced that UK consumers “must be in the driving seat” for the electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

That’s the conclusion from the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, which has published a new report outlining the steps it says must be taken by government and industry in order to get EVs onto the country’s roads, make sure they play their part in the transition to a low carbon economy and allow consumers to enjoy the myriad of benefits they can offer.

The taskforce, facilitated by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), notes integrating EVs with the energy system through mechanisms such as smart charging can not only provide lower costs and a “seamless recharging experience” for drivers but highlights how EVs would also act as battery storage and enable demand-side response and in doing, so allow more intermittent generation to come onto the grid.

However, the report acknowledges none of this will happen unless the public understands the benefits electric cars can offer them.

The report proposes offering financial incentives to EV drivers to ensure the potential energy storage capacity of millions of EVs is available and says it is also vital to prioritise ease of access to public charge points, standardise the charging network and establish an independent body to educate people about the benefits of smart charging.

It states smart charging infrastructure will enable network operators to better balance supply and demand, driven by EV owners willing to charge their batteries during periods of low power demand or when surplus renewable energy is being generated – these consumers will be encouraged and rewarded by cheaper prices as a result of doing so.

Philip New, CEO of Energy Systems Catapult and the EV Energy Taskforce Chair, said: “Ensuring that the mass roll-out of EVs delivers benefits for both drivers and the wider energy system requires actions from industry, government and the regulator, including creating the new markets and policies that can unlock EVs’ huge potential.”

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