Proposals to support millions of new electric vehicles forecast on Britain’s roads in the coming decades, while keeping costs down for their users and all energy consumers, have been tabled by the energy regulator Ofgem.

It is consulting on plans which will reduce the cost to consumers of meeting the extra demand from electric vehicles as well as connecting them and more renewable generation, battery storage and other new technologies to the grid.

According to Ofgem analysis, if EV owners use flexible charging – where they only top up outside peak demand times on the grid – at least 60% more EVs could be charged compared with inflexible charging where electric vehicles are only charged at peak times.

Flexible charging does this by allowing electric vehicles to be charged when energy prices are cheapest, for example when wind and solar power is generating lots of electricity or when there is less demand across the system.

Flexible charging also helps to keep energy costs down for all consumers as technology allows stored electricity from electric vehicle batteries to be sent back onto the grid when it is needed.

Ofgem’s proposed reforms will give incentives for customers to charge their electric vehicles at the right time.

Jonathan Brearley, executive director, systems and networks, Ofgem, said: “Ofgem is working with the government to support the electric vehicle revolution in Britain, which can bring big benefits to consumers. Our reforms will help more users charge their electric vehicles and save them money.

“The proposals we have announced today will also harness the benefits of electric vehicles and other new technologies to help manage the energy system and keep costs down for all consumers.

“The way we generate, transport and use electricity – and power our cars - is undergoing a radical transformation in Great Britain.

“Ofgem will ensure that the energy system is fit for this exciting, cleaner future and at the lowest cost for consumers.”

For flexible charging to work EV owners will need to use time of use tariffs available through smart meters where, for example, the price of electricity can be cheaper outside peak time, when there is less strain on the electricity grid. Ofgem intends to work with the industry to overhaul energy system rules and put the reforms in place between 2022 and 2023.