New research from Cornwall Insight has revealed that electric vehicles (EVs) could contribute an additional 71.6TWh of electricity demand in the UK by 2040.
This is 31 times higher than the current level of demand for electrified transport, and equivalent to 25% of current annual demand which stands at 299TWh excluding losses.
These findings come as part of Cornwall Insight’s latest Benchmark power curve report, which offers long-term price forecasts and regulatory market and policy expertise.
It uses scenario-based Central, High and Low 20-year projections of electricity prices in Great Britain, with coverage including baseload and peak prices at market-level to capture the difference in value between typical wholesale markets.
This most recent edition is forecasting that electrification of the economy i.e. electric vehicles and heat pumps alongside the use of green hydrogen as an energy carrier all increase demand from 298TWh in 2021-22 to 628.4TWh in the Central Scenario by 2040 and up to 668.2TWh in the High Scenario.
Tom Edwards, senior modeller at Cornwall Insight, said that the impact of EVs on the electricity system shouldn't be underestimated.
“However, EVs have the potential to offer the system considerable flexible vehicle-to-grid discharging and smart charging, which reduces the level of investment needed in flexible power supply," he said.
A recent report from the Transport Committee raised concerns that unless charging habits change or the national grid is strengthened, the charging needs from millions of new EVs will cause blackouts to parts of the country.
It therefore recommended that the government works with National Grid to map national coverage to identify locations where the grid won’t cope with additional usage.
“The electrification of transport remains a significant challenge, particularly if the current market design remains the same. However, to sustain such a growth in demand, it is likely that the market design will need to change to better support the net zero objectives," Edwards added.