Integrate EV charging
- Support multiple charging points
- Avoid grid capacity constraints
- Facilitate urban charge stations
- Use on-site renewables to charge EVs
Electrical Vehicle Charging
Electrical vehicles (EVs) are set to revolutionise our transport systems over the coming decade and account for 35% of all vehicles by 2040. As with all forecasts in the cleantech sector this prediction will most likely turn out to be pessimistic. What is certain is that battery prices are dropping fast, and the benefits over petrol and diesel are already significant and will only increase. Already an electric car will accelerate faster than all but the latest supercars, it’s simple physics. The two shortcomings of EVs are the range and the time to charge. This is not such a problem when you consider that the average car journey is 7 miles. Charging is already in the process of getting faster.
EVs are coming fast. The real issue is not the vehicle but the infrastructure in the energy network to service these EVs. Petrol stations will inexorably decline and electricity charging stations will evolve. Eventually we will see new means of contactless inductive charging. Currently, the major issue is the capacity of the grid network to get this power to where it is needed.
Imagine parking your EV on the street alongside all your neighbours and their EVs. Everyone comes home at a similar time and will plug in. That is potentially a massive surge in demand on the grid. Several things will probably happen to cope with this. First not everyone will be able to charge when they want to or recharging will be delayed until a time during the night when it can be scheduled. Second, some cars will have enough charge that they can in fact be used to recharge other vehicles.
EVs will require smarter grids and energy will be traded by more and more people in a nationwide micro-trading network, backed up by the grid locally and centrally. However in order to build a robust system, certain levels of redundancy need to be allowed for and worst case scenarios must be envisaged. National Grid and the DNOs can’t easily add more cables, it’s expensive and disruptive. What if the grid could swap time for intensity? If you trickle charge a battery that is located close to the demand, then when all those EVs connect to recharge, the grid can cope because the battery takes the burden, recharging over the day when spare capacity is available and discharging over a few hours when required.
Firefly’s Energy Storage Systems can today plug in to the grid to support EV charge stations without the need for expensive and disruptive infrastructure upgrades. This is likely to mean a mixture of fixed storage and moveable storage (the vehicles themselves) being called upon to assist with the smooth running of the grid.