Electric cars: solution or new problem?

Battery car challenges

A little while ago, two of us visited Brussels for the Smart Energy Demand Coalition forum. The forum was held in one of the debating chambers of the EU parliament, where as well as considering the serious matters at hand, we enjoyed participating in a democratically-enabled debate by voting on our expected outcome for each topic.

At the summing-up we heard that 71 percent of car owners say that their next vehicle will be electrically powered. This represents both a huge opportunity for the flexible energy market. As well, of course, as a huge challenge.

The challenge is that the average electric car requires the daily power of a typical household for a full charge. And so balancing supply and this sudden increase in demand in such a short timeframe will not be straightforward. But the opportunities are immense too, as many households will instantly gain access to a battery with considerable storage potential. So the problem, as some are fond of saying, may turn out to be part of the solution.

Overcoming the key commercial, regulatory, technical, operational, and not least behavioural obstacles to delivering this new age of transport will require disrupting traditional approaches towards delivering energy to consumers. This in turn will require the incumbents to challenge themselves, and even cannibalise existing sources of revenue on occasion. Because if they don’t, someone else will.

The next meeting of the Smart Energy Forum – now renamed SmartEn – is next week on the 8th March. Watch this space for an update!