The International Energy Agency estimates more than 10 million electric vehicles are currently in use globally; representing a mere 1% of the total car stock. However, people continue to embrace electric vehicles with a significant increase recorded over the past two years. Forecasts indicate over the next decade, 60% of new car sales will be electric. Of course, most could use without the theatrics ongoing at Tesla but this doesn’t disqualify the need to keep promoting electric vehicles as a way of ensuring environmental sustainability.
Due to “consumer interest in environmentally friendly vehicles, tax incentives, fuel economy standards, lower maintenance and fuel costs, a larger range of more affordable vehicles, and the increasing availability of charging infrastructure” leads to a positive trajectory forecast for electric vehicles.
There exists to build utilities and capacity to anticipate the obvious need for charging ports and other support needed to keep the electric vehicles running. For instance, the number of charging stations is expected to grow exponentially. In the United States, there are currently more than 20,000 electric vehicle charging stations, and this number is projected to reach over 45,000 by 2025. This expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure will help support the growth of electric vehicles over the coming years.
Additional factors such as government support in the form of tax credits and other incentives will most likely keep propelling this trend. A drop in battery costs and electric vehicle technology improvement implies that electric vehicles are becoming more affordable. This affordability and growing public awareness about electric vehicles will contribute to the further adoption of electric cars in the coming years.
The Future of Electric Vehicles
Indisputably, expert forecasts indicate by 2050, electric vehicles will outnumber gasoline-powered cars, and this underscores the meticulous planning of government agencies and international bodies to realise this aspiration. The United Kingdom government has a Homecharge Scheme for all cars deemed as ultra-low emission by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). The power needs for electric vehicles raise questions about the capacity of the national grid to withstand the demand. Normally, charging stations must be situated 50 miles apart on the highway, and not more than a mile from the exit, with 150 kilowatts output per charge.
Can UK National Grid Support Electric Vehicles?
Climate change is primarily driving the switch to electric and hybrid vehicles in the UK and most other countries. With the transport sector accounting for 27% of total carbon emissions in the UK, overreliance on fossil fuels is simply unacceptable. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) says the country must 23.2 million EVs must be in use by 2032 for the UK to meet its climate goals. Though well behind schedule, the government set the tone by banning the sale of fossil-powered vehicles in the UK after 2030.
The National Grid needs to power the EVs and most people wonder whether this is rational and sustainable in the long term due to factors such as population increase and rapid industrialization. Research shows if the entire UK population overnight started to use EVs, the National Grid would experience a 10% surge in electricity demand. Luckily, the UK population’s continued exploration for alternative energy sources such as solar panels has seen a 16% reduction in power demand from the National Grid for the past two decades. In short, the UK seems prepared to handle the expected shift towards electric vehicles.
The good news is even if the whole country used EVs daily, there would be less strain on the National Grid compared to the past decades!
It’s absurd to imagine the whole of the UK charging at the same time. However, plans have been made to guarantee all charging ports are connected to smart devices to allow management of demand to avoid overloads.
Roads of the Future
Electric vehicles could represent the roads of the future and will be a crucial part of achieving sustainable transportation goals. With electric cars now playing an important role in reducing carbon emissions and improving environmental sustainability, forecasts suggest a positive outlook for some time to come. It’s safe to say that electric vehicles are here to stay. Under this aspect, it also means that there could be some highways and infrastructure dedicated to consumer convenience. Take a moment and think about the possibility of your car being charged while waiting at a traffic light or even while driving rather than waiting in a queue.
The EU-funded FABRIC project headed by Dr. Amditis aims to explore the feasibility of inductive, or wireless, charging for electric vehicles. In one of the experiments, the scientists buried the charging port in asphalt and then added a coil on the underside of the vehicle. Whenever the car is in the proximity of the port, it wirelessly connects and starts charging. This will be different from stationary charging which occurs for longer periods. Dynamic charging would occur while on the move, and the roads will be the main facilitator. The FABRIC project wants to create lanes that electric vehicles charge while on the move especially on highways while stationary charging mainly applies in cities.
Race to Full Electrification
An Israeli startup known as Electreon is developing technology that allows electric vehicles to recharge while on the move. It’s an interesting trend backed by the palpable excitement and race by automakers to patent and pioneer the next phase of electric vehicles.
The race to full electrification is on, with electric car manufacturers competing to bring the latest and greatest electric cars to market. Governments around the world have also taken steps towards encouraging electric vehicles by providing incentives such as tax exemptions and rebates on electric cars. In the US, the government set a goal for all car sales to be EVs by 2030. Analysts oppose the practicality of this directive unless a total ban on carbon-fueled vehicles is implemented. China, the US, and Europe lead the rest of the world in electric vehicle sales, accounting for 95% of all global sales. It further highlights the disparity between ideals for a carbon-free environment and the drastic steps required. The tax breaks and rare political goodwill has made electric vehicles more attractive to consumers.
Buzz will Continue
Over the next decades, the demand for electric vehicles will keep increasing. As the world grapples with the impacts of climate change such as inexplicable heatwaves and wildfires, the psychological torture and mass consensus on conservation efforts will fuel the EV buzz.
China leads the pack due to the entry of more brands into the manufacturing segment, and if this is replicated globally, electric vehicles can beat the unaffordability and unsustainability tags often associated with their limited uptake.
Expert take; you’ll likely drive an EV vehicle soon!