Electric car chargers ‘to switch off at peak times to avoid blackouts’

Fears that millions of drivers plugging their cars in to recharge after work may put too much pressure on the grid.

Electric car chargers ‘to switch off at peak times to avoid blackouts’ iStock

Home charging points for electric vehicles will be shut off at peak times to combat fears they could cause blackouts.

The Government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035, meaning the number of electric vehicles on the road is set to soar.

However, there are fears that millions of motorists plugging their cars in to recharge at home when they get home from work could put too much pressure on the grid.

The move would see home charge points turned off for up to nine hours a day, with randomised 30-minute shutdowns if demand is too high.

The Sunday Times reports that regulations submitted to the World Trade Organisation suggest home and workplace chargers would not operate between 8am and 11am, or 4pm to 10pm.

Public charge points, often found at the side of the road or at motorway service stations, would not be affected by these rules, allowing those charging on the move to top up at any time of day.

The strain on the National Grid has long been of concern as EV uptake has increased, with motorists encouraged to charge at off-peak times. Chargers and vehicles allow owners to schedule their charging, particularly useful for waiting until electricity is less expensive overnight.

Sales of electric vehicles have been slow to take hold, but there are signs that the switch is beginning to pick up pace. Although the pandemic has skewed last year’s numbers and the semiconductor shortage is limiting production this year, data shows electrified vehicles sales have increased significantly in the past year.

Year-to-date, EV sales were up 107% to 92,420 by the end of August, while plug-in hybrids were up 144% to 73,156. Petrol and diesel were down three and 34% respectively.

This has also seen the market share of electrified vehicles increase across the board, with EVs specifically up from 5% to 8%. Petrol now accounts for less than half of all UK registrations, down from around 60% last year.

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