The new rules will help households generate and store electricity and sell it back to the National Grid.
The first phase of a four-year £246m Government investment into battery technology has been launched in a move that could help bring down household electricity bills.
The long-term vision includes creating giant battery facilities around the National Grid to store excess wind and solar energy for when demand rises.
In addition, new rules will help households with solar panels to generate and store their own electricity with new battery technology and sell it back to the Grid when they do not need it. They will also reduce costs for people and businesses who power down appliances at peak times and use electricity at cheaper times.
The Government and Energy regulator Ofgem estimate that consumers could save between £17bn and £40bn by 2050.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark unveiled details of the first phase, known as the Faraday Challenge, on Monday.
This includes a £45m competition to establish a centre for battery research which he said would help make the UK a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries. This will be spearheaded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to bring the best minds and facilities together to create a ‘battery institute’ to make products more accessible and affordable.
It seems that electric vehicles (EVs) are finally coming of age as barriers to take up start to fall, costs decline, and range and performance improves.
Last December Morgan Stanley upped its forecast for EV penetration to potentially 10 to 15 per cent by 2025, as car makers accelerate plans to build EVs (think of the Jaguar E-Pace) and as tightening rules on traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) cars make them uncompetitive more quickly than expected.
One indication of the latter might be seen in the huge shift away from diesels underway across Europe, where its market share has fallen by 3.6% over the last year – more on that in my next blog.
Now, a research report by the from Dutch investment bank ING says that the European car market could be fully electric by 2035. It states that battery electric vehicles are on the way to a “breakthrough” by 2024 as barriers to their adoption – think charging infrastructure, range anxiety and pricing – fall, especially as electric batteries become cheaper and better.
The authors of the report believe that current developments in technology could set EVs on a growth path to a 100% share of new passenger car sales in Europe by 2035, posing a “threat to the automotive industry as we know it”.
Not surprisingly, though, the report highlights barriers to take up of EVs (something I’ve been researching with colleagues at Coventry University): limits to charging infrastructure (20%), limits to range on one charge (28%) and the high price of electric cars (40%) all being reasons cited by consumers in the report for not buying EVs.
Nevertheless, the report suggests that by 2024, the cost of ownership of a long-range EV is expected to match that of a similar ICE car in Europe’s largest market, Germany.
The UK’s first multi-brand, electric vehicle showroom has opened in central Milton Keynes, with the ambitious aim of trebling the national take-up of EVs and plug-ins in the local area over the next five years.
The showroom, operated by Chargemaster as part of the Milton Keynes’ £9m Go Ultra Low City programme, won’t sell cars directly, and its 11 EV “gurus” are not salesman. They concentrate instead on educating people about the capabilities and advantages of electric vehicles and on showing them a selection of the latest EVs from VW, BMW, Kia, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, Chargemaster’s partners in the venture.
Q&A, David Martell, chief executive, Chargemaster
Will you be looking to attract visitors who are serious about electric cars?
Not necessarily. We’d like to talk to people who are simply curious about them, and want to reach the truth for themselves. We can help with all kinds of facts and figures, impartially delivered because we’re not selling anything. Or we can take people on a familiarization drive.
How does Chargemaster gain from such an apparently philanthropic exercise?
We’re convinced electric cars will play a vital part in future motoring. If that happens, as the country’s leading provider of charging points we’ll benefit. In the meantime, we’re aware of a lack of general knowledge about electric cars and we want to help address that.
When the number of EVs sold is still so small, how can you be confident about their future?
Three things: they’re a great answer to some of the difficult problems we’re facing, the population of EVs is increasing fast (5000 to 100,000 in five years) and the best models are easy to own yet great to drive. Latest forecasts say EV sales will reach 150,000 a year by 2020.
Renault Zoe was the best selling plug-in car in Germany last month, keeping up with its sales trend this year and setting a new record for sales of plug-in (BEV and PHEV) vehicles on German market.
Zoe was followed by Audi A3 e-tron (535 units sold, best plugin-hybrid) in the second place, while BMW 225xe Active Tourer was third with 338 units sold. Renault Zoe was also the most successful plug-in car in the first half of 2017, racking up 2.429 sales.
Second ant third place again goes to Audi A3 e-tron and BMW 225xe Active Tourer. Bavarian PHEV edged out Mitsubishi Outlander plugin hybrid in the fight for third place. With 4.624 registrations in June German plug-in car market recorded 181% on year-on-year growth vs. June 2016, and total year to date sales for first six months are up 115%.
Cambridgeshire County Council has received planning permission for what it claims will be the UK’s largest solar carport.
The installation, which will be developed at the site of St Ives’ Park & Ride, is anticipated to be 948kW in size and combined with a battery storage system as part of a wider demonstrator project with collaboration from distribution network operator UK Power Networks (UKPN).
Planning documents associated with the proposals do not include any prospective size of the storage unit.
The council is combining with central government, St Ives town council, UKPN and local businesses in a bid to turn the scheme into a replicable model for future smart grid deployment. Should it prove successful, it is hoped that further systems of similar size and scope could be deployed elsewhere.
The £3 million cost of the project is to be supported by European Regional Development funds, which will provide half, while the council will invest the remaining funds.
The car park will be covered by three main canopies fitted with solar modules. Generated electricity will be used first and foremost to power LED lighting and adjacent electric vehicle charging points.
Any surplus will be stored using the battery system and sold to local customers, helping to finance the project’s development.
In June, Renault set a new all-time record for electric vehicles sales. The month saw sales of 4,498 EVs, which was 56% higher than a year ago, and 350+ units higher than the previous all-time record set in March.
For the Renault brand, EVs (not including the city Twizy) stand at 1.65% share of all sales in June, and 1.4% for the first half of 2017.
Renault electric vehicle sales in June:
Renault ZOE – 4,251 (up 73%)
Renault Kangoo Z.E. – 245 (down 42%)
In the first six months, Renault has sold total nearly 18,900 electric cars (up 34%), including nearly 17,300 ZOE.
“Renault maintained its lead in the electric vehicle segment with a market share of 26.8%. Sales volumes increased 34%. Registrations of ZOE, Europe’s top-selling electric vehicle, rose 44%.”
“ZOE remains the clear leader in the electric vehicle market, accounting for almost 70% of electric passenger car sales in France with over 9,200 registrations – a year-on-year increase of over 42%.”
The Kangoo Z.E. doesn’t account for many sales, but the new longer-range version maybe will enable higher sales.
It seems like most major car retailers are jumping into the electric vehicle game.
Let’s talk about one of our favourite things: cars. And more specifically, how the internal combustion engine is on the verge of extinction.
Not only that, but we’re also being told that in five years we’re going to be driving self-driving cars. OK, that’s not accurate. They will be driving us — or at least a lot of us.
Unless you were at the beach and had your head buried in the sand because of worries about Russia’s determination to wipe out democracy on the planet, you undoubtedly heard that Volvo will stop making cars that run solely on gasoline.
Volvo announced that starting in 2019 all new models it introduces will be either hybrids or vehicles powered solely by batteries. While the new electric cars will initially be made in China, where air pollution is critically dangerous, a new plant is being built near Charleston, S.C., and some will be built in Europe.
Tesla, the posh electric car maker, plans to sell hundreds of thousands of new electric models priced at “only” $35,000, which is substantially less expensive than most of the flashy vehicles it currently sells. The new cars will be serviced at 250 centers that don’t charge service fees! If you live too far from a service center, Tesla will send one of its 350 special vans to your home or office to repair your vehicle on site! The vans will have toys for children, espresso machines and, you won’t believe this, replacement parts. I know. I know. Except for the sticker shock, it seems like heaven.