Are We Ready for the Electric Future?

Description

Electromobility is the mobility of the future and will affect the lives of billions of people. But one question remains – how do we get from where we are now to where we need to be in the future?  

We have invited experts in the field of e-mobility to give their perspective on this topic. The panel discussion “Future views on e-mobility” took place on June 15 at our online conference Etrel Re-Charging Days 2021. The following people took part in the discussion:  

Sara Fink, E- Mobility Project Coordinator at Porsche Slovenija   

Peter Badik, CEO of GreenWay  

Tao Krauspe, Head of Product Management & Technology for E-Mobility at Repower  

Fabian Heck, E-Mobility & Fleet Consultant at Mer  

The panelists believe that in order to make e-mobility accessible to everyone, all stakeholders, from government to businesses, need to work together to understand and solve the challenges. Currently, we face technical and organizational challenges. Starting with the lack of EVs and charging infrastructure to understanding the importance of power/load management to ensure energy availability in the future.

Introduction

We are witnessing an expansion of charging infrastructure at a record pace, where existing players in the e-mobility market or new entrants can reap great economic benefits. According to Business Wire ‘s forecast for 2021-2026, the electric vehicle charging infrastructure market will be worth $14 billion, with an expected revenue growth of over 30% (CAGR).

E-mobility will be the future of personal transportation, perhaps even for the transportation of goods and commodities. However, the biggest challenge we face is how to manage the massive uptake of electric car production and the development of charging infrastructure.

How do we scale to get from today to where we need to be in the future? 

Panelists at Etrel Re-Charging Days 2021 agreed that to make e-mobility accessible to everybody, the following issues need to be addressed:

  • Affordability and availability of electric cars
  • Availability of the charging infrastructure
  • Availability of energy/load management

1. Affordability and availability of electric cars

On the one hand, there is a high demand for electric cars; on the other, the high price needs to be addressed to make electric vehicles available to everyone.

As we have witnessed, some countries have offered incentives in subsidies and others tax incentives. For example, Norway has the highest share of registered BEVs and PHEVs (almost 70% share in 2020). Besides investing heavily in the infrastructure, they offer many tax benefits when buying or owning an EV. There is no purchase tax and VAT on new or pre-owned EVs when purchasing or leasing. For companies, they offer discounts on company car tax. Moreover, EV drivers are also excused from paying the annual road traffic insurance tax.

“I think we need to see the bigger picture of electric mobility altogether. What will this bring at the end? The overall goal is to reduce CO2. So, I think this is something we need to consider, not that we save money with the electric car,” said Sara Fink, E-Mobility Project Coordinator at Porsche Slovenija

2. Availability of charging infrastructure

While most charging takes place at home and at work, the adoption of public access charging stations is still ongoing. Public access chargers reached 1.3 million units in 2020, of which 30% DC chargers. Installation of public access chargers increased by 45%, a slower pace than 2019, due to the pandemic. China leads the world in the availability of both slow and fast public chargers, accounting for more than half of the world’s chargers.

Europe is second with around 250,000 AC charging stations, with installations increasing by 30% in 2020. The Netherlands leads Europe with more than 63,000 AC charging stations, followed by Sweden, Finland and Iceland. DC charging stations are being rolled out at a higher rate than slow charging stations. There are now more than 38,000 DC chargers, with a 55% increase in 2020. European countries are still mostly missing the public charger targets per connexion recommended by Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive.

The average ratio of EVs per connector ratio was 11 EVs per connector at the end of 2020, just below the recommendation of 10EV per plug, but there are strong differences between countries. The Netherlands and Italy are above target (at 5 EVs per EVSE and 7.5 EVs per EVSE respectively), while countries with the highest EV penetration such as Norway (30/1), Iceland (30/1) and Denmark (20/1) tend to have the lowest ratios.

The EU Green Deal has raised the bar with a target of 1 million publicly available chargers installed by 2025 (for an EV fleet of 40 million vehicles) and set out a roadmap of key actions to achieve this target. With Fit 55 Legislative train in place, calls are already being made to revise the ratio of 1 plug per 10 electric cars, to give EU citizens the right to demand the installation of charging points (“right to plug”), regardless of location, and to include provisions for Heavy Duty Vehicles.

EU member states are implementing the revised European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD III), which sets requirements for residential and non-residential buildings to improve access to charging points. The Recovery and Resilience Facility, fund also includes support for the installation of charging station.

“Switzerland, as an example, has now reached a 20 % share of electric cars in new registrations and 8,000 charging stations in the public sector. When we talk about the challenges, we have calculated that we need 1.3 million charging points by 2035 and Switzerland. So that’s a massive infrastructure rollout.” Tao Krauspe, Head of Product Management & Technology, Repower.

3. Availability of energy / load management

“The topic of load management on various stages will be a main issue. So not only at company premises where you have sites with a lot of chargers, but also in the bigger and smaller scale. If we reach our goals with this tremendous number of electric cars, there will be a huge demand for the whole grid.” Fabian Heck, E-Mobility & Fleet Consultant at Mer

According to a study by Eurelectric and E.DSO, conducted by Monitor Deloitte, European distribution grids will need to invest EUR 25-35 billion by 2030 to support the planned expansion of EV infrastructure. However, the amount of investment is marginal (only 8% of total investment) compared to the overall investment required in grid modernisation (25% of total investment) and electrification of buildings and industry (19%). When planning grid expansion, DSOs assess the following parameters:

  • Location and number of charge points at the location,
  • Technical characteristics of the chargers (1- or 3-phase), charging speed (AC or DC ) and power quality use,
  • Use of smart charging solutions (power management, etc.),
  • The required power of the charger(s) compared to the capacity of the power lines and transformers in the region and at the connection point.

The ultimate goal is, of course, to avoid overloading and to ensure the safety and quality of the power supply. Thanks to smart charging solutions that provide energy management (e.g. Etrel INCH interactive charging stations & Etrel OCEAN charge point management software), grid reinforcement can be avoided. Take Germany as an example, which aims to install 1 million charge points by 2030. Due to the ambitious plan, only a partial reinforcement of the network will be possible. Due to the limited capacity, the reinforcement of the grid cannot be done simultaneously. Therefore, peak compensation payments for private charging stations are being discussed in order to speed up the connection of the chargers and optimize the necessary reinforcement. Customers can decide how much capacity they want to control and therefore receive lower network charges for the part they control. In addition, the flexibility of charging stations could be sufficient to reduce peak demand and help distribution system operators defer investment in the grid. In addition, installing a group of charging stations at a single connection to the distribution network would also help reduce investment. However, there are countries or regions with older grids where grid reinforcement at higher loads cannot be avoided. In such cases, battery storage is a good alternative before investing in the grid.

Key takeaways

“The future is electric. Without any doubt. But the way how we deliver this future is going to be challenging.”  Peter Badik, CEO of GreenWay.

Electromobility is the mobility of the future, and it will affect the lives of billions of people. The massive rollout is happening as we speak, but there is still no holistic thinking from all stakeholders. We need to understand the challenges we face and work together to overcome them, explains Peter Badik. He sees the challenges on the technical and organizational side. In his opinion, they are manageable and it is important to understand that we are building this infrastructure for the long term – for the next hundred years. To ensure e-mobility for everyone, but also to make this massive infrastructure expansion sustainable and profitable, all stakeholders need to work together. This includes the government and local authorities, property owners and businesses, from SMEs to multinationals.

Want to learn more about Etrel’s intelligent charging solutions? Contact our sales team.

 
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