What is the future of EV charging and what impact will it have on the electricity network?
May 22, 2020
By 2035 the UK Government plans to ban new petrol and diesel car sales. Couple this with the dramatic year-on-year percentage growth in pure Electric Vehicles (EVs)s and it is clear to see an impending shift to electric.
Streets will be quieter and the air cleaner. There will be a much bigger shift in our driving habits which accompanies this: primarily, how we fuel. As the EV manufacturers and charging point networks help us overcome our ‘range anxiety’, we’ll be swapping out our petrol station pit stops for regular charges. Will it become second nature for us to just ‘plug in’ every time we ‘pull up’?
How will this impact the network?
If we all plug in at the same time, there will be higher peak loads in the electricity system which provides a challenge for the Distribution Network Operators who manage it. Surprisingly, the impact on the distribution network is anticipated to be minimal in the shorter 5 and 10 year projections. It is only in 20 years’ time, that the DNOs are envisaging that substations will hit capacity.
But there is a massive technological potential to offset this. EVs are effectively mobile storage devices with the flexibility to export load. When the handbrake is on, the industry term is a ‘stationary battery asset’ meaning that electricity can be imported, sorted and released from the EV to help balance the demands on the electricity network. This ‘vehicle to grid’ capability together with ‘smart charging’ – when an EV modulates the time or rate at which it charges – can relieve pressure on the electricity network.
EVs and Renewable Energy
Integration with renewable generation will also have a huge impact on the distribution network. Just think of how commonplace it is to see large arrays of solar PV (Photo Voltaic) panels on business roofs. If the excess generation can be stored in a battery and used to charge the company’s fleet of EVs, this will again reduce the demand load on the grid.
The creation of ‘micro grids’ is where the energy generated from renewable from renewable sources can be stored and shared for collective use. This development could scale to large business sites or shared between multiple organisations.
Wireless EV Charging
As for charging technology, wireless could also make a large impact on how and where we charge. Energy can be transferred between a pad on the ground and another on your EV through resonant magnetic induction. It is effectively the same as wireless mobile phone charging, but could be integrated into garage floors or even roads.
Next time you see (but don’t hear) an EV or spot a new installation of EV charging stations, be assured it won’t be long until you spot a change in the habits around you too
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