Technology defines potential, but geography determines speed
Rapid developments in battery capabilities are bringing down EV costs, improving efficiency and mitigating driver anxiety about driving range limits. Over time, distributed ledger technology (blockchain) will support digital payments and shared driver resources. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence and vehicle-to-everything connectivity is sparking a move toward autonomous vehicles that will be the building blocks of future smart cities.
These technologies and others, the tightening of emission standards, new EV strategies from auto manufacturers, the shift to car-sharing and vehicle-as-a-service, and the expansion of charging infrastructure, are accelerating EV adoption. In fact, the IEA goes as far as to predict that EV ownership will balloon to 125 million by 2030.
However, the rate of adoption is occurring at different speeds. In developed countries, growth in renewable generation is expected to provide enough capacity to accommodate the additional load from EVs. However, the risk that power may not be available when needed could warrant a massive redesign of the grid.
Developing countries, meanwhile, will have to rapidly expand their generation capacity to accommodate increased demand. According to recent EY research, by 2050, around 10.2% of India’s total electricity demand will come from an expected 550 million EVs.
Irrespective of geography, large numbers of EVs plugging in to the grid simultaneously will create considerable extra load. Energy companies need to figure out how they will manage this in conjunction with the additional load that will also come from the electrification of buildings, heat and industry.