Electric vehicle (EV) year-to-date (YTD) production surges to 71.6% but slow grid connections could delay the switch to electric.
Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 170,231 EV units – hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) including – were produced in the UK in the first six months reaching a new first half of the year production record.
Despite the promising increase in UK EV production SMMT’s chief executive, Mike Hawes warned that the electrification of the UK’s roads is still being held up by a lack of “affordable and fair and timely” grid-to-chargepoints connections in an article by the Financial Times.
In response to Hawes’ comments in the Financial Times Vincent Thornley, managing director at British engineering company Fundamentals ltd highlighted the importance of developing a grid able to adapt to a brand new energy system.
“Affordable charging infrastructure needs to be widespread. However, distribution networks are already operating with loads that they were not originally designed for,” said Thornley.
“The key challenge facing the electricity industry is how to adapt a transmission and distribution grid designed in a bygone era, for a future with very different demands upon it – and do so without the crippling expense of reinforcing or replacing large parts of it. As EVs introduce new patterns of energy generation and consumption, there needs to be a flexible and dynamic energy grid that has the capacity to reliably balance supply and demand at an affordable cost.
“Tools, like voltage control, can be used in a smarter way to balance loads on the grid more effectively and free up capacity to speed up new connections. With such tools we can take the infrastructure that we already have and allow it to deliver the electricity needed for widespread EV adoption.”
The UK’s EV landscape has been receiving welcome praise from the sector recently. Earlier this week Shell Recharge’s UK and Nordics regional manager Euan Moir told a Current± briefing that UK’s EV market was “moving in the right direction” as it transitions from its early growth phase to a mature market.
Moir’s sentiments were echoed by fellow panellist John Murray, head of EVs at LCP Delta, who pressed that collaboration will be imperative to sector growth:
“There’s so many different players and they need to work together as no single company can work across the value chain. They need to come together to make a proposition for customers. We are seeing new companies collaborating each day which shows the move to market maturity.”
EV charging costs have also improved significantly, with Fast and Rapid EV peak charging costs experiencing a 19% fall from June to July this year according to the AA.
To continue this moment the grid must be optimised to facilitate the growing number of EVs that will be present on UK roads.
One of the keys to this success was highlighted by Andrew McAleavey, founder and COO at energy storage developer and operator Penso Power in National Grid ESO’s webinar presenting its conclusions on investment policy for net zero as part of the organisation’s Net Zero Market Reform project.
McAleavey maintained that energy market upgrades must not stay “hung up” on delivering a perfect package warning “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”.
Current± publisher Solar Media is hosting its EV World Congress event in London this 10-11 October. The conference will focus on some of the key discussion points from across the EV sector including delivering coherent EV charging strategies, whether the UK is on course for its 2030 charging target, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology and more. More information, including how to attend, can be read here.