9th December, 2021

Ready or Not, the Electric Vehicle World is Here

By:

OD

Ophilino DaCosta, General Manager Global C&I Business Unit

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Charging stations that supply electrical power to plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) are on the rise. Today, transportation is responsible for 24% of direct global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. Decarbonizing energy systems is front and center of all major climate policy initiatives. The climate crisis has underscored the need for governments worldwide to urgently develop the solutions that can move the planet to a net-zero emissions economy. Electric mobility — including electric vehicles — will play a huge role in the transformation of the energy system. And EVs are a prerequisite for that transformation.

EVs are continuing to gain traction, supported by major commitments from industries including automotive and energy. In the next 10 to 15 years, over 20 countries will ban internal-combustion-engine (ICE) vehicles, while more than eight countries and the EU have made pledges to transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Against the backdrop of the climate crisis, enabling government policies and regulations, and growing consumer acceptance of EVs, the industry is poised to grow exponentially. Demand for EVs is expected to increase 30 per cent per year between 2020 and 2025 in the U.S. and Europe. Annual global sales of EVs are expected to reach double digit millions between 2026 and 2030. In a business-as-usual scenario, according to Bloomberg NEF, at least two-thirds of global car sales will be electric by 2040. In a world where we transition to net-zero emissions by 2050, however, EVs would comprise 100 per cent of passenger vehicle sales just 15 years from now. These forecasts reflect dramatic improvements in battery performance as well as lower battery costs.

In the past year, the auto industry’s investments in electric vehicles soared 41 per cent globally. EVs are also becoming more affordable, with some industry experts predicting EVs to reach price parity with ICE vehicles as soon as 2024.

Given these trends, the outlook for EVs is promising. But that’s only if we overcome one of the largest stumbling blocks to large-scale EV adoption: robust infrastructure that can handle the demand for fast and convenient charging, anywhere, any time.

Tackling the Three Main Bottlenecks to Scaling EV Charging

As the world increasingly adopts electric transportation, being able to quickly charge the vehicles will be critical. That means overcoming the three main bottlenecks to scaling EV charging:

1: Increasing availability of charging stations

EV charging stations are still scarce and unevenly distributed. Currently, 10 European countries do not have a charger every 100 kilometers of key roads, and just four countries have more than 10 chargers every 100 kilometers. Less than 10 per cent of U.S. households have access to a public charging station within half a kilometer from home. With 230 million electric cars and trucks expected to hit the road worldwide by 2030, charging infrastructure will have to expand quickly to meet demand. A range of players, from oil and gas companies and utilities to automakers and charging operators, have their eyes on the growing global EV-charging market.

2: Improving charging speed and convenience to assuage range anxiety

While increasing the volume of chargers meets part of the need, another key consideration is the speed of charging. Charging times vary based on how depleted the battery is, how much energy it holds, the type of battery, and the type of charging equipment (e.g. charging level and power output). Depending on these factors, the charging time can range from less than 20 minutes to 20 hours or more.

Making fast (and especially ultra-fast) charging more readily available is essential to addressing range anxiety, a top concern of current and prospective EV owners. While the earliest wave of EV buyers has mostly been homeowners who can plug in overnight, the massive scale-up of EVs means more urban residents will be buying EVs, needing access to public charging. To meet the convenience needed for rapid EV adoption, charging stations will have to be located at, for example, retail locations, gas stations, parking garages, and businesses across the country, from rural to suburban to urban areas. Yet the real estate available to host these charging stations is limited and in high demand.

3: Overcoming grid limitations and boosting grid capabilities

Power grids are not designed to provide the power needed for fast charging. Insufficient grid capacity will lead to brownouts and blackouts. While some grid expansion will be desirable and necessary, in most markets it is unlikely that the grid will be upgraded widely enough to provide the power needed for the growing EV market demand.

Future EV batteries will allow faster charging, which will increase the demand for ultra-fast charging. However, the EV charging speed is entirely dependent on the power input from the charger. As long as the available grid infrastructure is limited, ultra-fast EV charging will be stunted. So, what’s the solution?

This is Where Polarium Comes In

We deliver a fully integrated battery storage system which feeds power from complementary renewable assets, solar or wind, or from the grid during low demand and releases power to charge an EV during peak demand time.

Managing the transition to an electric energy system will be driven by regenerative energy sources such as solar, wind and water. The main constraint is that renewable energy sources put pressure on the electricity load as they are highly dependent on weather conditions, which leads to fluctuating energy demand. The Polarium ecosystem platform contributes to a stable energy supply by providing the necessary flexibility to adapt to changing electricity demand patterns of consumers, daily peaks in electricity consumption, and enables a self-sufficient, alternative-grid energy supply.

By implementing an integrated combination of BESS, power-electronics, controls and state-of-the-art security, energy providers can easily manage these decentralized platforms as a virtual power plant. The future Energy providers might be utility companies, charging point operators or oil and gas companies—in a world of clean distributed energy resources, these are all power companies of the future. In short, Polarium’s global scalable and powerful storage solutions and energy management platforms provide solutions that will enable the net zero emissions-energy transition.

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