New deals reflect supplier’s ambitious strategy for leadership in electric vehicle services

Independent energy supplier Ovo Energy has struck a range of deals designed to give it a strong competitive position in an energy market for services to owners of electric vehicles and a smart grid.

These deals include a partnership with Chargemaster, which will make Ovo the exclusive energy supplier to the UK’s biggest provider of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Chargemaster’s network of public charge points for electric vehicles, of which there are 5,635 across the UK, will be provided by Ovo with 100 per cent renewable energy.

Alongside the deal, OVO energy has also launched EV Everywhere, a new two-year fixed price energy tariff for EV drivers which includes free membership of Chargemaster’s network – which would normally cost of £188.40 for two years.

Customers taking up this tariff will also receive 100 per cent renewable energy from Ovo, and the supplier has pledged to plant ten new trees for every customer.

In another move to exert dominance in the emerging market for EV energy services, Ovo also announced its acquisition of charge point specialist Charged EV and of Indra Renewable Technologies, an electric vehicle components and services supplier.

The company said these acquisitions will support its plan to work with its new subsidiaries and partners to create a unique smart changer – VNet. Ovo hopes to bring this product to market later this year, claiming it will unlock smart charging capabilities on a national scale, and enable EVs to function as mobile energy storage assets.

Following the announcement of the Chargemaster partnership, Stephen Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Ovo said: “We’re delighted to announce our partnership with Chargemaster. Mass adoption of electric vehicles will completely revolutionise the energy sector as the number of cars on UK roads reach one million in the next five years.”

He added: “Working with Chargemaster, and combining ChargedEV and Indra’s technical expertise to develop a smart charging solution utilising our ground-breaking VNet technology, we will help solve some of the challenges faced with the growing demand for electricity.”

The impact of electric vehicles on the energy system has become an increasingly hot topic.

Last week, environment secretary Michael Gove announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK after 2040, sparking debate over the impact this will have on the demand for power and on energy network resilience.

Some commentaors claimed that widespread electrification of transport on a compressed timescale would require enormous investments in new generating capacity. Former Npower chief executive, Paul Massara dismissed these claims however.

He said: “The government’s announcement of a ban on new petrol and diesel car and vans in favour of electric vehicles has led to wild claims of increased electricity demand. Assertions that UK demand could increase by 50 per cent, and could cost £200 billion, have been bandied around in the media.

“But this projection of increased demand is the most extreme forecast from the National Grid; in reality, demand is likely to go up by a much lower amount, perhaps as little as 10 per cent, particularly as the UK moves to a more smart, flexible power grid. Likewise, the £200 billion figure assumes using the most expensive technology to meet peak demand when many lower cost alternatives are available.”

In its recently published smart system plan, the department for busienss, energy and industrial strategy acknowledged the challenge posed by EVs to the energy system and proposed a number of actions to mitigate potential risks to network stability and security. These included new standards for EV charging.

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