The National Grid is trialling a project that will allow it to take energy from an electric car’s battery to help relieve some pressure from the grid at the busiest times. 

With more and more drivers making the switch to electric cars and plugging their cars in at home to charge, there have been concerns raised as to whether there will be enough electricity to go around. 

This trial will be the first time that electric cars will be directly plugged into the system responsible for balancing the National Grid’s supply and demand. Through a partnership with renewable energy supplier Octopus Energy, 135 households will be part of the trial. 

According to the Daily Telegraph, which first reported the story, those taking part in the project – which is known as vehicle-to-grid, will be paid 60p per hour for the electricity they send from their cars to the grid, or 15p per kilowatt hour. 

Typically, an electric car charges at around 7kWh (kilowatt-hours), and the average household would only use around 3kWh at peak hours between 4pm and 7pm, leaving 4kWh of spare capacity that could be used to help elsewhere. 

Claire Miller, director of technology and innovation at Octopus Energy, told the Telegraph: ‘This will demonstrate how you can send a signal from the National Grid control room to those vehicles and contribute to balancing the grid at times when it needs a bit more electricity, for instance at tea time when there is a lot of demand.”

Separately, a trial is set to start next week that will pay thousands of homeowners to halve their electricity usage at peak times between the period of 4.30pm and 6.30pm, as a way of exploring how to reduce demand on electricity during the busiest periods.