An electric car owner has managed to drop his energy bill to almost zero with a clever trick. With energy bills on the rise, and due to hit almost £3,000 in October, many households are trying to think of methods to bring their costs down.
One motorist, Paul Kershaw, 51, managed to do this in the most peculiar way – by charging his electric car using cheap off-peak energy, then selling it back to the National Grid at peak times to gain a profit. The Mirror reports that by doing this, Paul has been able to make enough money to cover the cost of soaring energy bills. Paul, who lives near Cambridge, said: “It has cut my energy bills almost to zero.
“It’s taking away a lot of the anxiety about bills going up by 300 per cent. Last year I paid £7.50 for electricity per month.” Paul made the saving by taking part in a ‘vehicle to grid’ trial between energy firm Ovo and software company Kaluza. The scheme works because electric cars are basically “a massive battery on wheels”, as Paul puts it – and can store power.
Paul does not use his car much, meaning his vehicle’s battery is storing power he doesn’t need. “I only drive a couple of miles a day, and the rest of the time it’s just sitting there on the driveway, depreciating in value,” Paul explained.
When Paul plugs his Nissan Leaf in to charge up during off-peak times, the Kaluza app works out exactly how much energy he needed for his car and how much he could sell back to the grid at peak times. That power is then sold back to the National Grid when it most needs it – and when power is most expensive.
Paul averaged around £93 a month charging his car – but made £164 selling power back to the grid. But not every electric car driver will be able to do the same thing as Paul – at least, not right away. Selling electric car power back to the grid requires a special charging box to be installed at your house or wherever you keep your car. Ovo did this for free for Paul, and let him keep the box.
But otherwise these boxes cost from £750 to several thousands of pounds – though the cost is expected to fall as the technology becomes more popular. Another requirement is that your electric car must have a type of charger called CHAdeMO – currently only common in Japanese electric cars.
Around 330 drivers took part in the two-year trial. Paul also has solar panels fitted in his property – and has sometimes made more than £200 a month by selling power from those too. Last week The Mirror reported grants for new electric cars worth up to £1,500 have been scrapped. Drivers could previously claim up to £1,500 towards the cost of a plug-in car costing below £32,000.
The automotive industry and motoring groups criticised the decision.