New electric vehicle (EV) charge points will be pre-programmed to switch off during peak hours.

The plans is to reduce concerns over pressure on the National Grid as EV take-up continues to rise.

A ‘randomised delay’ of up to 30 minutes is to be integrated into home and workplace chargers from May.

Powering up

The peak times are to be set as  8am to 11am and 4pm to 10pm. However, owners will be able to override the preset times where strictly necessary, for example night workers.

Meanwhile, public chargers and rapid chargers, on motorways and A-roads, will be exempt, reports The Times.

Tanya Sinclair, policy director for UK and Ireland at ChargePoint, said: “Concerns surrounding the UK’s grid to support the charging of electric vehicles is mounting.

“The challenge for the Government, and perhaps the wider electricity system, is ensuring the ‘smartness’ in every charger is actively used by consumers, and managing the load represented by the legacy charging infrastructure already in the field which is not smart.”

Electric shocks

The National Grid has estimated that 80% of EV drivers will use smart charging by 2050. This will help balance the UK’s energy demands as we move to zero emissions driving. It says that around 45% of homes will actively help to balance the grid by offering up to 38GW of flexible electricity to help manage peaks and fill troughs in demand.

Smart charging vehicles around peak times will be automatic. An internal management system in the chargers will coordinate supply accordingly. It also allows drivers to manage their charging stations remotely.


The move to a default off-peak charging setting was first mooted in a Government consultation in 2019.

In its response to the consultation, many respondents raised concerns. How can specific off-peak time periods be defined in legislation, and will  it could result in a secondary peak in demand?

Based on the feedback, it said it would adopt a more “nuanced approach”.  Smart charge points must prompt users to input a charging schedule, offering users a charging schedule that, by default, prevents EVs from charging at peak times. However, the user must also be able to remove or edit this default setting if necessary.

The Government says the ‘peak times’ are is consistent both with its internal external studies of EV demand and charging patterns.

It explains that mandating the setting of a default charging mode will help mitigate the risk that some users do not engage with smart charging offers, and instead charge during peak times.

The consumer override and edit functions will ensure that users can turn off or edit their charging schedule. This ensures users will be able to utilise smart tariff offers and accommodate unavoidable user needs.

The upcoming 2021 Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan will set out the steps that Government is taking.

Plugged in

News of the charge point ‘switch off’ comes after the Parliamentary Transport Committee warned of potential blackouts. As EV take up takes off, the concern is that the UK’s elctricity infrastructure could buckle at peak times.

In a report – Zero emission vehicles  – published by the transport committee in July, the MPs set out a series of recommendations to Government to boost the production and purchase of EVs.

The Government will legislate to ensure electric car chargers are built into all new homes and offices.