Northern Powergrid and OVO Energy make fresh bids to spur EV uptake

Northern Powergrid has launched a new digital tool to help business customers install electric vehicle (EV) charging points, in the same week that OVO Energy partnered with Mitsubishi to offer free EV miles to individual customers.

The UK Government has just moved the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales forward to 2035. Image: OVO Energy

The UK Government has just moved the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales forward to 2035. Image: OVO Energy

Northern Powergrid’s new tool, called AutoDesign, uses real-time data about electricity system infrastructure to assess where businesses and local authorities can install EV charging points, and at what cost.

The aim of the tool is to help organisations across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire to save money and time on fleet electrification schemes. According to Northern Powergrid, feasibility studies usually take around 10 days to complete, while Autodesign provides feedback within minutes.

The firm is predicting that 4.5 million pure electric vehicles will be on the streets of its catchment areas by 2040, as central Government policy changes, technology costs come down and businesses and local authorities electrify their fleets.

On the latter, three-quarters of councils within Northern Powergrid have now declared a ‘climate emergency’. But research by the Guardian last year found that the majority of UK councils are struggling to deliver on their EV charging point commitments, broadly due to a lack of funding and technical expertise.

“The electrification of transport is essential if we are to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and our future scenarios show that the rate of EV growth will be significant,” Northern Powergrid’s system design manager Derek Fairbairn said.

“This newly available network data intelligence will significantly improve the EV connections process and help accelerate the clean transport transition.” 

Bringing it home

In related news, OVO Energy has partnered with Mitsubishi to offer 10,000 miles worth of free charging to all customers who purchase a Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

Accessing the deal, which will run until the end of March, will require customers to switch to OVO’s ‘Energy EV Anywhere’ tariff, which provides 100% renewable electricity.

Those eligible for the deal will receive £20 in credit each month for 24 months – an amount OVO claims the typical PHEV driver spends on charging their vehicle at home. OVO will also supply eligible customers with a free 7kW smart charger or, for those who don’t wish to charge at home, free membership to the Polar Plus EV charging network.

OVO is notably aiming to halve the carbon footprint of customer lifestyles by 2030, as part of its ‘Plan Zero’ strategy. As for Mitsubishi, some 50,000 Outlanders have been registered in the UK since 2014.The two firms first partnered in December 2019.

The announcements from OVO, Mitsubishi and Northern Powergrid come in the same week that the UK Government agreed to move its ban on new petrol and diesel cars forward from 2040 to 2035.

According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the 2035 deadline is necessary for the UK to comply with its 2050 net-zero target. Other green groups had been pushing for a 2030 deadline, however.


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Sarah George



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