The United Kingdom’s 2018 Road to Zero Strategy outlines how it will support the transition to zero-emission road transport and reduce emissions from conventional vehicles during the transition. Since the Strategy was published, the Government has increased its ambitions, by announcing plans to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and hybrids by 2035. This is in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) recommendation that the market for electric vehicles (EVs) by 100% by 2035 at the latest meet the 2050 net-zero target.
Despite the rise in the number of licensed ultra-low emission vehicles cars (ULEVs) on UK roads, they still only represent a small proportion of the total number of cars licensed. In 2019 around 58.5% of licensed cars were petrol, 39.1% diesel and 0.8% were either a plug-in-hybrid, battery-electric, range-extended electric, or fuel cell EV.
According to the International Energy Agency’s 2017 EV outlook, the UK is placed fourth worldwide by market share, and seventh by volume. The EV market is going mass market by 2030 which would result in two major impacts for Great Britain which are.
- Increase in electrical demand at peak times
- Car manufacturing in the UK can only be protected by ‘making’ batteries too. The UK can only stay relevant by investing in UK Battery manufacturing too
We met with our friends at Calisen to discuss how Battery Storage is a key factor in supporting the UK in its rollout of EVs. Batteries are energy storage technology that uses chemicals to absorb and release energy on demand. Lithium-ion is the most common battery chemistry used to store electricity. Coupling batteries with renewable energy generation allows energy to be stored during times of low demand and released (or dispatched) at times of peak demand to facilitate load shifting.
Unlike many other forms of energy storage and generation, batteries are particularly valuable because they provide flexibility. They can respond faster than other energy storage or generation technologies and help maintain grid stability by turning on and off in fractions of a second.
For the government to meet the demands of the EV rollout, there needs to be an integration of battery energy storage into EV charging stations. Integrating battery energy storage into EV charging stations is one solution to the need for faster charging and a push to avoid peak demand charges. The desire for cost-effective charging technology is driving commercial & industrial adoption of energy storage for EV. By keeping demand charges low, energy storage for EVs (ESEV) can make fleet electrification more attractive for the commercial & industrial market.
Battery storage technologies can also support the development of charging infrastructures by alleviating their impact on the grid, providing additional revenues to the charging facility operator, and enabling greater penetration of variable renewable energy sources in the transport sector by coupling renewable energy sources (RES) plants and charging infrastructures.
Vehicle-to-grid integration technologies and processes, including smart charging, will enable mitigating peaks created by a high number of EVs charging simultaneously. EV batteries could actively work as storage systems and solve this issue by managing electricity loads across infrastructure assets and time.
EV batteries can be repurposed for other applications than their original ones, thereby maximising the value of the battery and providing new applications such as stationary storage applications to the grid.
In theory, the technology is available and can facilitate things. But there are so many moving parts in all of this. We need to get the energy storage infrastructure. The grid needs to have the additional capacity to handle the demand to fuel these EVs, which is where battery storage is so vital. But if we want to hit net-zero, the energy that fuels these EVs needs to come from renewable sources. Otherwise, it is essentially greenwashing – it’s great having cars not emitting emissions, but if we are forced to burn coal to provide this electricity then it sort of defeats the purpose of it all.
Additionally, batteries in cars need to be bi-directional for fleets and business. They need to power hones from the car and they need to be made in the UK to stay relevant in the Giga economy.
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