Australian Smart Grid Project Shows How to Cut Charging Costs in Half to Save $250 Per Year

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 2

Charged Up and Ready to Hop Into Action

Charged Up and Ready to Hop Into Action

Yes, it’s definitely possible to cut charging costs in half.  Just ask the Australian government and you’ll get proof of that.

Or Maybe Just Relax For a Bit First

Or Maybe Just Relax For a Bit First

In Australia, as part of the Victorian Government’s Electric Vehicle Trial and under the more specific umbrella of Victoria’s Smart Grid, charging costs were slashed by half.

The project, which launched in June 2012 and concluded in December 2012, made use of Victoria’s Smart Meter infrastructure for electricity demand management.

The results of the project, which were just released last month, showed that typical electric vehicle drivers could nearly $250 per year— or approximately 50% of their charging costs—by using smart-grid technology.

The whole process was rather simply, as select electric vehicle owners were chosen to take part and then required to have installed a specific charger that allowed for the EV drivers to gain full benefit from charging with smart-grid technology.  By charging mainly during off-peak hours, the EV owners who participated in the project realized a savings of nearly half in charging costs.

The participates quickly realized that by deferring charging and managing charging remotely, costs plummeted substantially.  Participates would receive text messages indicating charging costs at a specific time.  They then choose to either charge or refrain from charging based on the electrical fee at that specific time.

Key here is that smart-grid technology is in place and that the utility companies were willing to work hand-in-hand with EV owners to find the best solution for all involved.  EV owners did have to sacrifice some convenience, but most thought it to be worth the annual savings.

Though this specific smart-grid project has come to an end, the Victorian Government’s broader $5-million Electric Vehicle Trial runs until mid-2014.

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2 responses to "Australian Smart Grid Project Shows How to Cut Charging Costs in Half to Save $250 Per Year"

  1. George Parrott says:

    Duh, this is basically what is available in many, if not most, areas of the US, and. Has been for many years. Off-peak rates motivate a more balanced use of electric supply. Australia is just 10 or more years behind?

    1. Malcolm Scott says:

      George, glad you put a question mark at the end of the assertion.

      I too am surprised by the claim. The place I’m in has had peak and off peak tariffs for over 10 years. However, my previous house’s meter permitted single tariff only. In the state of Victoria we are all now on smart meters. We are all on time of use billing with typically peak and off peak tariffs.

      I think there is a historical perspective still in the interim report. There was also a smart charging participant exploiting time of use billing tariffs in the trial that perhaps had to be recognised as well, even though the benefits are at this stage no more than what a person might otherwise reasonably do from the EV. The trial noted that participants were reluctant to take on this responsibility from within the EV – a matter I’ve never seen anyone complain about in the US. Remember that in Victoria the EV market is very early days.

      Malcolm
      Melbourne, Victoria

      PS. Much of Australia is still on single and controlled load tariffs. At least two states still have government regulated pricing. Some states still have government owned coal fired generation assets, including the coal reserves. Argh!!!!