Origin Energy’s EV Power Up trial offers drivers chance to fill up for $5

Australia’s electric car drivers will be offered the chance to fill up their vehicles for less than $5 as part of a trial by the nation’s biggest energy retailer.

Origin Energy has revealed plans to launch its EV Power Up trial next month as part of a larger plan to manage demand on its network and make use of more renewable energy.

Demand for the trial has already exceeded the number of spaces available, however, with 1000 electric car owners signing up to fill 200 places.

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The test will compete with a growing number of discounted electricity plans designed specifically for EV drivers, and industry experts say consumers should shop around to find the option that best suits them.

Origin Energy will enlist 200 Tesla electric car drivers, both with solar panels at home and without, to take part in the trial over a year.

Origin future energy general manager Brendan Manzie said participants would use an app to set when they would like their car to be charged and ready to go, and the company would fuel the vehicle based on when electricity was most available and cheapest to access.

“We’ve had a huge amount of interest in a very short time for this so there’s a lot of pent-up demand in this space,” he said.

“We think this is where the future is for EV drivers.”

Participants will be charged 8c per kilowatt hour to charge their vehicle, which Origin estimates could save drivers $451 over a year on a standard plan.

Manzie said the drivers could opt out of timed charging whenever they needed, and while the company would not use 100 per cent solar energy to fuel cars, it would use as much “cheap, daytime renewable” energy as possible.

He said the trial was ultimately designed to work out the best ways to manage car-charging demand.

“Not too far from now, we’ll be in 2030 and there’ll be something like three million EVs on the road,” he said.

“If all of those EVs turn up back at home at 6pm and plug into charge at the same time, we don’t have a grid that can handle that.”

Other electricity providers have launched discounted charging rates for electric vehicle drivers, including AGL, Ovo Energy and Simply Energy, which provide rates of between 8c-6c per kilowatt hour to charge vehicles between midnight and 6am.

Electric Vehicle Council energy and infrastructure head Ross De Rango said many EV drivers were already making the most of cheaper power during off-peak hours but encouraging more to do so would benefit the entire grid.

“Charging off-peak is great for the drivers with access to these pricing arrangements because it saves them a lot of money,” he said.

“’Well behaved EV charging’ means that the energy system is getting more efficiently used, which puts downward pressure on electricity prices for everyone.”

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