On transport day at COP, we took a brief look at a recent policy development in the electric vehicle (EV) sector
Accelerating the EV transition
As part of the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, the UK Government has confirmed that a Zero Emissions mandate (ZEV) will be coming in from 2024. This will see car manufacturers subject to targets to produce a set number of EVs – something that has been introduced successfully in California and parts of Canada for example.
Why is this such a big deal?
Clearly, this policy will help accelerate the number of EVs produced by manufacturers which is vital to assist with our goal of reducing tailpipe emissions from the transport sector.
Whilst the Government has brought in a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 – it is hoped this policy will help spur manufacturers into action well before that date.
A major, and often overlooked, advantage of this policy is the certainty it will provide investors. Having a mandate provides confidence for investors to now direct much needed capital towards public charging infrastructure. With current assumptions reliant on estimates of EV numbers, the ZEV mandate will now provide much needed clarity so charging infrastructure receives the necessary capital support.
Finally, having mandated targets will create the regulatory environment for manufacturers to develop innovative solutions to deliver greater efficiencies in production and supply chains.
It is hoped that the success and learnings from this policy can be replicated worldwide – especially with interconnected global supply chains for the automotive sector.
What challenges remain?
Capacity – By 2050 it is predicted that the automotive sector will come to be dominated by EVs – with electricity supplying over 90% of the required energy.
In combination with the shift to electrify heat, electrifying transport will require significant more investment in electrical capacity to accommodate this increased demand.
To put this into some perspective, recent modelling has predicted that by 2050, the UK’s transport sectors’ electricity demand will reach 151 TWh, which is roughly half of the today’s total annual electricity demand.
Affordability – still seen by many as one of the biggest barriers to adoption, the upfront capital costs are yet to fully reach price parity with their ICE compatriots. The latest analysis suggests that EVs will reach price parity with ICE vehicles by 2024 – which will be a much welcome boost to consumers.
Consumer information – the lifestyle changes that come with owning an EV present is one that will need communicating effectively with consumers.
Moving from re-fuelling at a petrol station to charging at your own home for example, will present a new lifestyle switch for many but also an opportunity for consumers to play an active role in demand side management.
It is therefore vital that industry communicates with consumers to help navigate this new landscape, so we can fully optimise these new innovations (such as time of use tariffs, vehicle to home / grid charging) to support a fully flexible, decentralised energy system.
By Simon Shaw, Good Energy