Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming an increasingly attractive option for UK drivers as the cost of gas continues to skyrocket.
The growing public appetite for EVs can be seen in their 60% year-on-year growth, as revealed by the latest data released by New Automotive.
This growth is forecast to continue as the comparison company, Comparethemarket, expects new EV registrations to increase by 13% in 2023.
To accommodate the growing number of EVs, the UK has also seen “unprecedented” levels of EV chargepoint installation, with 2,000 installed in March and April this year, according to Zapmap.
Despite these promising figures, industry members have expressed concern over whether the UK is prepared to accommodate the number of EVs required to help the nation’s roads become fully electrified.
Earlier this year for example, the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warned of “softened demand” for EVs due to a lack of charging infrastructure. A concern echoed by the RAC who said the UK was not on track to meet its ‘six rapid/ultra-rapid chargepoints on every motorway service area in England’ target.
Responding to the growing EV market and its emerging obstacles, the AI-powered energy services provider, GridBeyond, is releasing its EV whitepaper this week..
In an interview with Current±, GridBeyond offers an exclusive insight into the company’s EV whitepaper.
Turning UK roads electric
“EV fleets are expanding at a fast pace in several of the world’s largest markets. This is being driven by governments and automakers who are promoting electricity powered vehicles as a key technology to curb oil use, whilst fighting climate change and air pollution. With significant potential to mitigate emissions and decarbonise energy supply chains, electrification is an important strategy to reach net zero goals,” said a GridBeyond’s EV and storage manager Michael Kent.
“The aim of this paper was to explore the current landscape across key global markets and explore the policies and incentives sitting behind the drive towards EV adoption.”
The report details the results of a poll conducted by GridBeyond which saw respondents highlight energy costs and poor chargepoint connections as main barriers to the uptake of EVs.
Other challenges highlight by the poll include:
- Vehicle and charging costs – although cheaper to run, EVs are generally more expensive to buy than their fossil-fuelled equivalent. The cost of charging is also dependent on when and where it is done, for example, using a public chargepoint is significantly more expensive than using a domestic one.
- Battery technology – Despite significant improvements in the technology, battery range and charge times are still limited compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
- Consumer awareness – Many drivers may still be unaware of the significant cost savings offered by EVs. GridBeyond referenced an EV education campaign in Australia as a good example of remedying this challenge.
- Government policies – Government-backing through creating new or updating existing policies could significantly bolster the uptake of EVs.
“Addressing these challenges will require a collaborative effort from automakers, governments, and other stakeholders to make EVs more affordable, increase charging infrastructure, improve battery technology, educate consumers, and create supportive policies and incentives,” continues Kent.
“The UK has committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and transport is currently the largest emitting sector of the economy –– responsible for 25% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions.
“Ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) – which includes EVs under the UK government definition – represent a small percentage of the overall vehicle fleet but is fast growing. The number of ULEV vehicles in the UK has increased from just under 9,000 at the end of Q1 2010 to 991,000 at the end of Q3 2022.”
GridBeyond’s whitepaper notes that the UK Government has used a variety of strategies to encourage the uptake of EVs including: the transport decarbonisation plan; the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate; grant schemes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and Taking charge: the electric vehicle infrastructure strategy released in March 2022.
The V2X revolution
The potential V2X (vehicle-to-everything) offers to decarbonising the UK’s roads as well as its energy system features heavily in the whitepaper.
“V2X technologies, including vehicle-to-grid (V2G), vehicle-to-home (V2H), and vehicle-to-load (V2L), have the potential to revolutionise the way we use and manage energy in transportation, homes and businesses,” explains the whitepaper.
“V2X is the overall term for different forms of bi-directional charging and discharging of the EV battery, including vehicle-to-grid (V2G), vehicle-to-building (V2H), and vehicle-to-load (V2L). This means that when power supply is low and demand high, connected EVs can instead release power back into the electricity network or the site on which they are parked.”
The whitepaper highlights the consumer benefits of V2H and V2L as a smaller-scaled version of V2G, suppling homes or site power networks with cheap energy during peak times.
“For end users, V2X technology can provide an additional revenue stream. EV owners can sell the stored energy in their vehicle’s battery back to the grid during peak demand periods, earning credits or cash payments. This can help offset the cost of owning an EV and make it more affordable for more people to adopt this clean energy technology,” says the whitepaper.
With the electrification of transportation, EVs – especially fleet EVs with centralised charging depots or office buildings and campuses with centralised charging infrastructure – could potentially become part of the decarbonisation of the grid and earn fleet owner’s new revenues.”
V2G as a specific technology is receiving an increasing amount of interest from the sector as industry experts highlight it’s potential to support the grid, decarbonisation, as well as cutting costs.
In April 2023, the research institute The Faraday Institution, stated that V2G technology could provide 445GWh of energy storage capacity by 2030. At the same time, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) indicated if V2G technology is slow, the UK could miss out on £6.5 billion savings on energy bills.
Published this week, GridBeyond’s EV whitepaper can be found here.