With the 2030 internal combustion engine (ICE) ban in the UK looming, the government has made electric vehicles (EVs) crucial to its net-zero strategy. If it fails to pave the way for a seamless transition to EVs in time, the UK risks undermining its goal to be net zero by 2050. While good work is happening on this front, much is left to do before 2030, and the clock is ticking.
Electrification of transport is crucial to achieve net zero
The electrification of transport has the potential to drive a low-carbon economy with increased energy security and cleaner communities for all. While macro factors, such as the war in Ukraine, lithium and chip shortages and economic instability across the world are undoubtedly having an impact on production, pricing and purchase decisions related to EVs, the industry is only headed in one direction long-term.
Plenty of work is already taking place to prepare for the ICE ban. Manufacturers are broadening their electric ranges, home chargers are falling in price, and policy on smart charging and EV-related building regulations is now in place. However, there is still work to be done to deliver EV products and services suitable for mass adoption and ensure the grid is able to support the growing electricity demand. Industry must collaborate to tackle these challenges and reap the benefits of a low-carbon energy and transport ecosystem.
Affordable and compelling solutions
To facilitate mass adoption of EVs the industry needs to provide affordable and compelling solutions that meet consumers’ personal, social, and financial needs. Currently, one of the main obstacles deterring many consumers from considering an EV is the high cost of the models and their chargers. Coupled with the limited charging infrastructure in the UK and the complexities associated with home charger installations, it is understandable why some consumers are hesitant to invest in the EV transition at present.
One part of the solution lies in collaboration between automotive and energy players to offer affordable solutions suitable for the mass market. For example, implementing smart charging mechanisms that allow EV owners to take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity rates can reduce the average operating costs of an EV by up to £657 (US$815) per year compared to standard charging.
Numerous car manufacturers are now viewed as energy companies as much as they are automotive organisation
Moreover, Volkswagen is already capitalising on the opportunity to create a more appealing and straightforward offering through their Elli brand, which provides chargers, smart charging, and energy tariffs in Germany. As the technology powering vehicles evolves, now is the opportune moment to review all aspects of the driver experience in order to unlock further growth.
Managing EV charging demand
As EV adoption continues to rise, the industry must ensure that charging is sustainable for the National Grid, rather than becoming an energy demand burden. Nobody desires a return to the blackouts of the past. Fortunately, through collaborative action, grid operators and manufacturers can leverage EVs to manage demand, reduce emissions, and lower energy costs. This is imperative to prevent the grid from becoming overwhelmed in the coming years.
Recently, the National Grid moved swiftly to launch the Demand Flexibility Scheme (DFS), a government-backed initiative aimed at encouraging consumers and businesses to adjust their electricity consumption patterns in order to maintain grid stability and minimise the risk of power outages during peak times.
Through collaborative action, grid operators and manufacturers can leverage EVs to manage demand, reduce emissions, and lower energy costs
Demand response programmes like this are vital for ensuring grid stability, particularly as EV adoption grows. By leveraging EV charging software, the UK has the potential to effectively balance electricity demand, reduce wholesale electricity prices, and integrate more renewable energy into the grid. This will foster the development of a clean, affordable, and secure energy infrastructure that benefits everyone.
Collaboration with government
Collaboration with the government is crucial in addressing the major challenges confronting the industry. This includes providing financial support for cross-collaboration programmes and offering education to electricians, who serve as the frontline gatekeepers of the industry, enabling the implementation of smart grid solutions.
While it is encouraging to witness the UK’s leadership in EV regulatory compliance, it is equally important to develop and implement practical solutions that meet the needs of consumers. By working in tandem with the government to achieve this objective, the EV industry can continue to thrive. The Inflation Reduction Act in the US serves as a noteworthy example of successful collaboration between the government and industry.
Bringing energy and transport together with software
The convergence of the energy and transport sectors is increasingly evident, both domestically and globally. Numerous car manufacturers are now viewed as energy companies as much as they are automotive organisations, with Tesla being a prominent example. This shift underscores the significance of cross-industry collaboration in facilitating the widespread adoption of EVs. This is where EV software plays a vital role by facilitating seamless communication between grid operators and vehicles, thereby delivering eco-friendly, cost-effective, and convenient solutions for EV drivers.
By taking joint action, it’s possible to establish a robust and secure energy system for the future, while also paving the way for a low-carbon economy in which the transition to EVs will play a pivotal role.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.
Nick Woolley is Chief Executive and Co-Founder at ev.energy
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