How your car could rake in £840 a year – are you one of the thousands who can cash in?

SOME lucky motorists could be able to use their car to reclaim up to £840 if they own a certain model – are you one of the thousands who can cash in?

After the success of EV trials, there’s now a scheme that can help to line electric vehicle owners’ pockets.

Electric car owners could earn money from the idea


Electric car owners could earn money from the ideaCredit: Getty

EV motorists can now sell their surplus power from the battery of their parked vehicle back to the National Grid, The Sunday Times reported.

The initiative aims to balance surges in the UK’s power supply – preventing blackouts when electricity runs low, for example.

Electric cars don’t produce any new power, but when plugged into the grid their batteries can act as storage or release energy at peak times – acting as a “balancing mechanism”.

As well as saving the country precious energy amid the rising cost of utility bills, drivers could actually earn money from taking part if the scheme goes ahead.

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Cars plugged into the grid could also be programmed to retain enough charge to drive a certain distance at any time – so the scheme wouldn’t drain EV batteries.

Motorists could expect to take home about £180 a year by selling surplus power to the grid at peak time.

But this figure could rise to an appealing £840 a year for drivers who are not on a smart tariff but switch from a standard one.

The pilot scheme conducted with Octopus Energy Group tested out the idea on 20 Nissan Leaf cars, which EACH contain enough energy to power 100 homes for an hour.

Currently Leafs are the only mass-market model capable of vehicle-to-grid charging and there are only 30,000 on the roads in Britain.

The scheme was also just a trial – but experts are excitedly imagining the future.

Ofgem predicted the number of fully electric cars in the UK will boom in the next decade – from 500,000 in total today to 14 million by 2030.

Tapping into all of these batteries’ spare electricity would export the same amount of power generated by ten large nuclear power stations.

National Grid ESO even forecast that a third of peak electricity demand by 2035 will come from EVs charging their batteries.

Jake Rigg of National Grid ESO said: “Vehicle-to-grid technology opens the door for everyone to engage in our electricity system in a way that we can all benefit.”

Ofgem added: “This would reduce the overall cost of running the electricity system and help keep bills lower for all consumers, including those who do not own electric vehicles.”

To sceptical motorists, the scheme might increase their “range anxiety” – the fear an EV battery will run flat before reaching the destination.

Manufacturers of electric cars have also long been scrambling to improve their range, pushing the distance of one single charge to up to 200 miles.

But most cars stay parked for 23 out of 24 hours a day so EVs could be sitting on a goldmine of unused power.

As well as programming an electric car to retain a certain amount of charge ahead of a drive, technology could also save you money charging.

It’s possible to pre-programme your car to charge from the grid when electricity is cheapest.

Neither would EV drivers taking part in the scheme have to commit to a specific amount of hours plugged into the grid.

Claire Miller, director of technology and innovation at Octopus, said: “It’s really important that customers should always be in control.”

The firm has more than 70,000 customers on smart tariffs tailored to electric car owners.

She added: “We’ve proved what is posible with the technology and cars that are currently on the market and this is only going to grow.

“Soon we will have millions of electric cars sitting on driveways capable of storing and exporting green energy.”

In fact drivers aren’t the only ones who could be paid for saving energy – as you could be paid for switching off your appliances at home.

National Grid ESO (Electricity System Operator) is setting up plans for customers to get money back off soaring bills if they switch to off-peak use.

If you have a smart meter, your usage is monitored over time and rewards are on offer for those who use less energy at busy times.

Rewards could be paid directly or given as credit on your account.

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The proposal follows recent news on electric cars and MOT tests.

Recent research explained why EVs are more likely to fail their compulsory check up than hybrid and petrol cars of the same age – and advised how to avoid it.


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