Because the smart charger knows how much and when electricity is being delivered to an EV, it could also become a mechanism to levy an additional fuel duty tax on the proportion of electricity used by the household to charge an EV.
James McKemey, head of the Insights Team at smart charging point supplier Pod Point, agrees that the technology provides a method of independently metering the amount of energy used to charge EVs. “It’s achievable," he says, "but it would still be pretty complicated, because the information would come from hugely distributed places.”
However, McKemey concedes that taxing of en-route public rapid charging would be relatively simple. Other difficulties would include plugging loopholes, such as the use of slow, 13-amp charging cables and the fact that thousands of basic charging points, which aren't capable of smart charging, have already been installed.
McKemey goes on to say that government bodies he talks to are leaning more towards the idea of road pricing. Fuel duty is effectively an emissions tax, but EVs create no tailpipe emissions.
“It [road pricing] gives you other opportunities," McKemey says, "and with ANPR cameras all over the road network becomes more feasible.
"If you move your system away from taxing emissions, you can, for example, choose to incentivise road use and where. It gives you a tool to penalise congestion to an extent. That’s one of the reasons they’re keen on it.”
Figures support the idea. According to McKemey, UK motorists cover 323.7 billion miles here annually. Total fuel revenue today is £27.2 billion, so the equivalent would be 8.4p per mile if the tax were evenly spread. “You’d rather not be paying it, but it’s not Draconian,” he adds.
A Treasury spokesperson said, “We currently have no plans to levy a new tax on charging points for Electric Vehicles. We keep all taxes under review and any changes to the tax system would be announced at the Budget and consulted on thoroughly in the usual way.”
Although the grant for plug-in hybrids has been discontinued and that for EVs cut by £1000, the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme grants to install charge points are being maintained at their current level of £500.
More than 100,000 government-supported home charging points have already been installed, although only a proportion are smart.
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