You may be able to charge your electric car for free with this

Updated: 

Electric Nation

Electric car owners may be able to charge their cars for free if they are willing to let energy companies sell power from their batteries to the grid during peak times.

Nissan only debuted its new Leaf electric car yesterday but has said that it is joining with UK gas and electricity supplier Ovo Energy as part of a "new vision to give Nissan customers free power" for their electric vehicles.


Customers will be able to purchase "bi-directional" chargers that will allow the battery to charge as normal but also put power back into the grid. Ovo has said the chargers should be available from January 2018 and customers will also require a special charger to be installed in their homes.

Nissan has already trialled the free power scheme in Denmark and yesterday launched the "ground-breaking commercial approach" to all its customers there at the European unveiling of the new Leaf.

While the approach to charging is thought to be an industry first, it will require customers to hand over a large amount of control over their charger to the company.

Ovo would charge cars at times when the market price for electricity is cheap, and also be able to temporarily discharge the car at times when supplies are scarce, for example in the evening.

National Grid has said that flexible charging will be paramount to ensuring that electric cars do not place a significant constrain on Britain's energy system.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Ovo Energy, told The Times: "If we can use our customers' batteries to discharge and power the grid at peak times, it should more than cover the cost of the energy required to fill the battery up. They shouldn't have to pay to fill up ever again."