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Electric Vehicle meters on residential streets save drivers £600.

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If you’re an electric car owner, it hasn’t been the best week for news, as the chancellor laid out on Thursday how he will make drivers of zero-emission cars pay vehicle excise duty from 2025.

But while current Electric Vehicle owners will face £165 a year in excise duty by the mid-2000s, some could save hundreds of pounds a year in charging costs thanks to new technology being tested in the UK.

Agile Streets is a project for residential streets without on-street parking. It then installs a series of smart meters that only charge the electric car if it’s cheap.

The first trials of the technology in the UK have just been completed and it has been found that it can reduce the cost of charging on the public grid by more than £600 a year.

Motorists living in apartments and houses without parking facilities cannot install electric vehicle charging equipment at home.

That means they lose access to cheaper household electricity and have to rely on the more expensive public grid, which can be more than three times as expensive.

It’s also a bit of a post code lottery, as shown by the numbers of municipalities adding the most and least charging points for electric vehicles.

However, Agile Streets tries to solve this problem.

The government-backed project installed 100 smart residential street charging points at 17 locations across four local authorities (Shropshire, Hackney, Glasgow and East Lothian).

These devices are scheduled to charge when energy is cheapest, such as overnight when demand is low, or sunny and windy days when cheap solar and wind are plentiful.

A group behind the Connected Curb project claims that with the help of these devices, peak energy demand can be drastically reduced, which could cut peak-time electricity consumption by as much as 240 megawatts — the equivalent of boiling more than 1.4 million kettles.

‘By using the Agile Streets app and scheduling the time a car needs to be fully charged, drivers will have enough power to drive away when needed.’

‘This reduces emissions, takes pressure off the grid at peak times and keeps costs low for drivers,’ Connected Kerb said.

‘By using the Agile Streets app and scheduling the time a car needs to be fully charged, drivers will have enough power to drive away when needed.’

During the six-month trial, 2,451 charges were made, consuming 51,618 kWh of energy.

These charging sessions were conducted by 368 test participants.

Drivers can choose between a smart 19 pence per kilowatt hour ‘Eco’ charging mode – which can be scheduled to charge at the cheapest time of day – or a 33 pence per kilowatt hour ‘Boost’ mode, which delivers power instantly like a normal non-smart public charger.

Charging an average 62 kilowatt Nissan Leaf from 20% to 100% in Eco mode saves the driver £6.95 per charge – a 42% reduction in costs.

Compared to the average cost of using public equipment today, this represents an annual saving of £604.65.

Across the UK, this could mean collective savings of more than £4.1bn a year by 2030, the report said.

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, said: ‘Now is the time to focus our attention on smart charging technologies that can allow those reliant on public charging infrastructure to benefit from cheaper prices when demand for electricity is at its lowest.

‘The deployment of smart charging into public charging – to both reduce consumer costs and minimise the impact of charging on the grid – is ground-breaking.

‘The Agile Streets trial gives us the opportunity to ensure we get smart charging right, enabling us to take all of the learnings from the trial and get ready to roll out this revolutionary infrastructure.’

The technology is gaining popularity among Electric Vehicle owners, especially given the rising cost of ownership by the mid-2000s.

Jeremy Hunt announced in his autumn statement last week that Electric Vehicle drivers would start paying Vehicle Excise Duty from 2025, which is expected to cost motorists at least £80m a year – according to calculations by Forbes consultants , possibly as high as £169.5 million.

If the UK’s 550,000 all-electric cars were taxed at the same rate as petrol and diesel engines – the standard Vehicle Excise Duty rate would be £165 a year.

A Vehicle Excise Duty surcharge of £355 on all cars over £40,000 – which will be paid for five years on top of the standard rate – will also provide a lot of cash for the treasury while straining the bank balances of drivers switching to greener vehicles.

Analysis by Forbes consultants found that there are at least 226,000 all-electric cars on the road with a sticker price of more than £40,000 – more than £80m in Vehicle Excise Duty premium tax per year, or more than £400m in billing cycles over five years.

Combined with road tax of up to £165, it could cost an additional £169.5m a year for all-electric car owners in the UK.

Kevin Pratt, car insurance spokesperson at Forbes Advisor, said: ‘Widening the Vehicle Excise Duty net to include electric vehicles is a logical move for an administration hungry for revenue, even if it will come as a shock to affected drivers.’

However, he caveats: ‘Hitting vehicles already on the road – indeed, those bought since 2017 – is a surprising move. It remains to be seen whether recent upward trends in Electric Vehicle sales will continue now that buyers know the full whack of road tax is coming down the track.’

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