UK conglomerate Centrica, which owns British Gas and power stations, is re-training its smart meter installers to fit EV charging points in the home, It has also done a deal with Ford to offer a dedicated electricity tariff for charging electric cars overnight.
“We are committed to this market and so made the decision to upskill our engineering workforce in preparation for the shift to electric vehicles. We were one of the first to start installing domestic charge points and are a preferred supplier for the large car manufacturers,” said Dave Kirwan, Managing Director UK Home at Centrica.
At the same time the company is also moving its fleet of 12,500 vehicles to fully electric, but that will take over a decade and only be completed by 2030.
The installation service wants to take 10 to 15 percent of all domestic charge point installations in the UK, helping users to pick their charger and unlock government grants towards the cost. The company is training its smart meter installers to help meet the growing demand for home chargers, much of which is expected to come through its Local Heroes application process.
“British Gas already offers time of use tariffs for electric vehicle owners, so they can benefit from cheaper electricity off peak and we can now also help consumers find a cost effective and efficient way to install their electric vehicle charger,” said Kirwan. The Ford deal builds on both the installation network and the tariff offering.
The digital service will help customers identify what type of charger they need for their home and find a trusted tradesperson to install it. All work that is undertaken is backed by a 12-month British Gas guarantee and the chargers are covered by a 3-year manufacturer warranty. Customers will need to complete a quick digital survey which allows the installer to understand what parts and labour are required, without the majority needing a physical visit to the customer’s home. The OLEV grant application is done on behalf of eligible customers which means the cost of installs start from £249.
The home EV charging offer follows the launch of a package of solutions from Centrica Business Solutions designed to help businesses tackle the challenges of the EV transition, which could require up to 18GW of additional power by 2050, equivalent to an extra 30% on top of the country’s current peak demand. This is based on a forecast of 85,000 electric vehicles sold in 2019 in the UK with over 5m by 2030.