New national network of residential and work-place electricity re-charging points needed for BPVs to de-carbonise road transport

MPs on the Commons business and energy committee have launched an inquiry into the impact BPVs (battery powered vehicles) will have on the UK grid.

Building on the work of the Electric Vehicles: Developing the Market inquiry that was interrupted by the general election in June, the new inquiry will additionally look at the added pressures that electric vehicles will create for the electricity grid and existing energy infrastructure.

Matthew Trevaskis, Head of BPVs at the Renewable Energy Association, commented: “Electric vehicles represent a massive industrial opportunity for the UK post-Brexit and there are a range of countries vying to become industrial leaders in this sector.

 “We are going through a global transportation transformation but a domestic market for BPVs is critical if the UK is to secure a large share of new manufacturing capacity in the coming years. Therefore a strategic network of charge infrastructure is essential to making these vehicles the logical choice for individuals and businesses looking to buy their next car.

“We call on the Government to develop a clear strategy for BPV roll-out in the coming years. This strategy should include smart charging and the incorporation of renewable power and energy storage systems to reduce grid stress.”

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set a target for new petrol and diesel vehicles to be phased out by 2032.

At present, there is a national network of thousands of fuelling stations for petrol and diesel vehicles. Whilst many of these may be able and willing to install electricity re-charging points for BPVs, many won’t.

Which means that BPV re-charging points will be needed where cars spend most their time, either parked at worked during the day or parked at night near peoples’ homes.

The National Grid infrastructure and electricity power supply needed to re-charge what could be some 30 million BPVs (about the number of fossil-fuelled vehicles presently on the road in the UK) will have to change radically.

Rachel Reeves MP, Chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:” The arrival of BPVs on the mass market creates substantial challenges for the electricity grid, which must balance the additional energy demand created by electric vehicles whilst providing secure and reliable electricity supplies for the country.

“It is understood that BPVs will require substantial investment in new infrastructure, but there is a lack of evidence on the extent and type of developments required, as well as how and by whom they should be funded.

“So our inquiry will examine the barriers to the development of the BPV market, look at how it can be better supported, and explore the huge challenges which the electricity grid faces in meeting this additional demand.

“We also want to investigate concerns that there is a ‘postcode lottery’ in charging infrastructure with considerable variation in the availability of charge points across the country, which must inevitably discourage people from buying BPVs.”

Four years ago, there were just 3,500 electric vehicles in the UK. As of August 2017, there are almost 113,000.

MPs also want evidence in written submissions in relation to the additional points below:

  • How will increased uptake of BPVs to help meet the Brit-Govt 2040 target to end the sale of new diesel and petrol car, affect the electricity grid? What action is needed to manage impacts, and to make the most of opportunities afforded by vehicle-to-grid technologies?
  • How do charging infrastructure requirements differ for alternative types of vehicle, journey, and user (including fleets)?
  • How should new infrastructure for BPVs and associated grid reinforcements be sustainably funded?

The closing date for submissions is Friday 3 November 2017 at midday.

Evidence can be submitted via the inquiry page

22 Sept 2017

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