On the 5th March, Political Intelligence hosted a breakfast roundtable that brought together 20 senior representatives from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to charging infrastructure providers and energy network operators, to discuss the future of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK. The agenda touched on various topics, including: the role of smart cars vs. smart charge points, the consumer experience of EVs and Government funding.
We were delighted to welcome Philip New, Chair of the EV Energy Taskforce, as guest speaker. The Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce was established in 2018 at the request of Government to make suggestions to Government and industry to ensure that the UK energy system is ready for and able to facilitate and exploit the mass take up of electric vehicles. Philip kicked off the discussion by asking about the aspirations of industry, the stumbling blocks industry has faced in terms of EV rollout and what needs to happen to enable smart and very rapid charging. Many interesting takeaways emerged during the session, including:
• There is no common definition of what ‘smart charging’ constitutes, with different manufacturers and organisations understanding different things by the term.
• Greater incentives are needed to encourage the take-up of smart charging amongst consumers. Furthermore, more information should be made available to consumers about what smart charging is and why it should be beneficial. In order to make this a success, lessons can be drawn from the rollout of smart metering.
• Grants, including infrastructure grants, may need to be reassessed to ensure that they are appropriately targeted. In this context, the public and private sectors must work together to ensure grants properly support a sustainable and reliable electric mobility system.
• Greater clarity is needed from the Government and Ofgem on the direction of grid reinforcement, network decentralisation and taxation. For example, energy storage will play an important role in negating the need for large-scale grid reinforcement to facilitate the electrification of transport; however, a great deal of uncertainty remains for storage operators around the future of policy.
• The consumer experience associated with EVs needs to be streamlined, with EVs offering enhanced options over traditional vehicles.
Whilst there is more to be done to facilitate the smooth and widespread rollout of EVs, the UK is on track to realise an electric future and we look forward to feeding into the work of the EV Energy Taskforce going forward.
Our next blog will address the Government’s Future of Mobility Strategy that was recently published – watch this space!