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I.C.Electrical prepares for "All Electrical" future

Preparing for an all-electric future

Consumer demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is on the rise around the world, and they are key to the UK achieving its net-zero target. However, for EVs to become the norm, the UK must put in place the correct charging infrastructure to support the largescale adoption of the technology.

A new approach to grid connections and other relevant technologies will be needed in order to accommodate localised power generation, vehicle-to-grid technology and general charging infrastructure. So, what needs to be done to facilitate the rollout?

 

Installing charging infrastructure

Without the correct charging infrastructure, it will be difficult for the majority of consumers to choose to make the shift to EVs. Currently, electricity distribution networks are not adapted to meet the charging requirements large numbers of EVs, and work must be undertaken to ensure that both the number of public EV charging points is increased in line with rising demand, as well as improvement made to local distribution levels to allow home-based charging.

 

Lowering vehicle charging times

Unless EVs become as quick to charge as conventional cars are to fill up, it will be hard to persuade people to use them as a primary car. As a result, motorway service stations will need to invest in ultra-rapid EV chargers to reduce queues at peak times.

 

Addressing grid capacity complaints

Grid capacity complaints must be urgently addressed. The Committee on Climate Change’s May report into a net zero future recognised this potential problem, which recommends prioritising the improvement of the network’s sustainability and resilience. The Energy Systems Catapult also made recommendations for improving demand forecasting and network price controls in its July 2018 report, including the need to make better use of existing EV charging infrastructure data.

 

Research investment

The Government has already begun research into battery storage developments and other technological innovations, with the £426 million Faraday Battery Challenge fund already up and running. However, for EV adoption to become widespread over the next few years, further investment in areas such as flexible charging is essential. This would allow EV owners to sell energy stored within EVs back to the grid when not in use, reducing the negative impact of ‘surge charging’.

Battery disposal is another area that must be investigated, with automotive and battery manufacturers considering the recycling and re-using opportunities available.

In order to achieve the Government’s net-zero by 2050 target, it must become feasible for most UK consumers to own EVs. This will require a large amount of investment and change, but through embracing a new approach to the setup of the electricity grid, it can be done.