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As we have previously mentioned, smart charging has become a common part of everyday vocabulary if you are in any way interested in the future of the energy industry. As EV uptake rates continue to grow and the associated impact on the electricity grid becomes clearer, the conversation around smart charging has evolved from asking if smart charging is required to the more nuanced questions of how should smart charging be delivered to the customer and who should deliver it.
How should smart charging be delivered to the customer?
The Czech Republic is similar to many European EV markets: neighbour to some markets that are truly taking off, yet domestic adoption is more limited. After attending Elektromobilita 2019 in Prague last month, here are my thoughts on whether we are reaching a tipping point.
A small but ambitious market?
E-mobility and EVs. Smart charging and Vehicle-to-Grid. ACES*... I think it's fair to say that over the last 2-3 years, these terms have - to a greater or lesser extent - become a common part of everyday vocabulary if you are in any way interested in the future of the energy industry.
And for good reason. At the end of 2013, there were around 123,000 plug-in electric vehicles on Europe's roads. Today, that number is more than 1.5 million, rising all the time, and they all need charging up occasionally**.
A recent study from Imperial College London, in partnership with UK energy company Drax Group, investigated the green credentials of different types of vehicles, to put to bed the question “are EVs genuinely better for the environment?”
It concluded that, yes, going electric is definitely a win for reducing emissions. However, the premium electric models coming to market today have a considerably greater carbon footprint than the electric models of the past. I want to explore this market development further; could it be that customer desire for range will actually drive up carbon emissions?
The UK has an opportunity to incorporate smart technology and Internet of Things (IoT) into its physical, energy and transport infrastructure, to improve public services and the overall quality of life for its citizens. Over the past few years, the National Government and UK Local Authorities (LA) have been taking proactive steps to implement and support this smart city transition, with key cities such as Bristol, London and Manchester pledging carbon neutrality by 2050 or earlier.
City-wide and integrated approach
Matching supply with customer demand is a similar challenge for traditional electricity network players and those entering the world of eMobility.
Electricity grids are designed to accommodate peak electricity demand so that the lights stay on during that coldest of frosty evenings in mid-winter. At the same time, car companies are exploring how to bring their brand-new electric vehicles to a market where customers expect to drive that one long-distance journey to visit relatives each year without running out of fuel.
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