Glasgow EV drivers ‘could save hundreds’ as smart pricing comes to on-street chargers

City among first to trial new controls for public chargers

Glasgow is to be among the first cities in the UK to trial a new smart-pricing system for EV chargers.

The operators behind the trial say it could save drivers who rely on on-street chargers up to 40 per cent on their bills - potentially saving hundreds of pounds a year.

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The city has been selected to be among the first four areas to trial the new Agile Streets project due to the high demand for on-street public chargers.

While across the UK, around 40 per cent of households don’t have access to off-street parking, in Glasgow that figure is around 80 per cent, making public provision even more important for those buying an EV.

Households with off-street parking and home chargers can already take advantage of special tariffs that offer cheaper charging during periods of low-demand, such as overnight. However, until now, drivers using public chargers have had to pay higher fixed rates.

The government-backed project will introduce smart tariffs to on-street chargers for the first time, allowing drivers to take advantage of lower energy costs.

In Glasgow, 24 new on-street chargers will be installed by operator Connected Kerb and drivers will be able to schedule charging for the cheapest time. “Optimised” pricing will be 19p per kWh compared with 33p per kWh for “non-optimised” charging. Connected Kerb estimates this could save the owner of a 50kWh Renault Zoe up to £290 a year.

Drivers will control charging via an app

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, said: “Easy access to affordable charging infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to the uptake of EVs.

“The number of smart energy tariffs has exploded in recent years thanks to increasing demand from EV owners, making charging at home one of the most affordable ways to travel today. However, almost half of us don’t have that privilege and instead rely on public charging infrastructure which is often more expensive.

“It is vital that access to affordable energy is equitable across the entire population – driveway or not – and this project does just that, giving drivers in Glasgow without off-street parking the same benefits as everyone else.”

Drivers use an app to decide by what time they need their car charged and the system then works out the optimum time to activate the charger based on that and tariff costs. By allowing the app to control the charging, drivers are eligible for the cheaper optimised rate.

The trial will run from October 2021 to May 2022, after which the Connected Kerb chargers will be handed over to Glasgow City Council.

Councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction at Glasgow City Council, said: "Providing equal access to affordable electric vehicle charging across the city is a key part of Glasgow’s Climate Plan.

“This scheme offers a great opportunity for local residents to have access to charging infrastructure that could save them hundreds of pounds every year. Not only is this crucial as we move closer to the 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars, but it will also directly contribute to the city’s ambitions in reaching net-zero carbon by 2030."