According to the IEA's Global EV Outlook 2021,the global EV fleet in 2020 consumed more than 80 TWh of electricity and the electricity demand from EVs accounts for only about 1% of current electricity total final consumption worldwide. By 2030, electricity demand for EVs will account for at least 2% of global electricity total final consumption. While the higher uptake in EV sales is unlikely to cause a significant increase in total power demand, what it will require is a surge in charging infrastructure through which power supply will be fed to the EVs.
Leading the charge
Charging Infrastructure is the backbone of the EV revolution. Parul Chhabra explains how the transformation in road transportation brought about by a shift towards E-mobility is causing pathbreaking changes along the value chain.
estimated private chargers in 2020
In 2020, 10 million electric cars were on the world’s roads and it is estimated that by 2025, EV’s will contribute close to 14 million vehicle sales annually, implying a 15% penetration rate. According to IEA, the estimated number of private chargers in 2020 was 9.5 million, of which more than 70% were at residences and the remainder at workplaces. By contrast, the total stock of slow and fast publicly accessible chargers for electric light duty vehicles was 1.3 million in 2020, with most chargers being classified as slow. There is a clear need for more EV charging stations and infrastructure as the number of EVs grow.
More and more fast chargers will be desirable for the benefit of EV drivers’ peace of mind as these will enable long distance trips and empower consumers who do not have access to private or home-charging to keep their EVs in a ready- to- go condition. Readily available and easily accessible charging infrastructure adds to the allure of EVs even though it lies beyond the realms of range, cost and safety triad.
Preference for the offerings associated with charging infrastructure adds another dimension to the diverse nature of consumers whose needs will have to be met. A large majority of consumers will demand the same sort of convenience that comes with re-fuelling an ICE vehicle. These are the consumers who would run to the nearest charging station as soon as or just before the low battery charge warning indicator appears on the dashboard. There will be consumers who are price sensitive or those who value benefits associated with customer loyalty in order to collect and redeem points, especially if charging service is provided by retailers. Then there will be consumers who are concerned about their own carbon footprint and give importance to the ‘quality’ of charge and additives that are fed into the EVs.
EV consumers will demand the same sort of convenience that comes with re-fuelling an ICE vehicle
While EVs will grow at a different pace across different regions, public EV charging demand and availability also varies and is influenced by a number of market participants besides the governments and consumers. The value chain is intricate with utilities, oil and gas majors, automotive companies, retailers, e-mobility service providers, EV charging station providers, charging point operators, charging app developers – all emerging as key stakeholders who are recognizing the market potential, adapting their core businesses to the e-mobility landscape, and investing extensively in the EV market to find solutions that will help them compete in the EV charging ecosystem.
Government’s role will be critical in facilitating an accelerated deployment of charging infrastructure
Government’s role will be to provide an overarching support to these market participants in form of policies; regulations; incentive programs, thereby playing a critical role in facilitating an accelerated deployment of charging infrastructure. The idea will be to make charging infrastructure self-sustaining and competitive which fits the needs of a diverse group of consumers.
As the conventional charging infrastructure is laid out to fuel the millions of EVs, quirky innovations herald easy and fast charging future. In a classic example of science-fiction translating into reality, an Israeli company, ElectReon Wireless, is building a 0.6-mile-long (1 km) stretch of wireless EV-charging highway, between Milan and Brescia in Italy, to test the technology for widespread adoption. Though, Sweden recently opened its first electric road, which charges cars and trucks on a 1.2-mile (1.9-km) route between Stockholm Arlanda airport and a logistics site, the Italian trial is the first of its kind to involve a highway.
We may be miles away from the mass-scale adoption of electric vehicle-charging highways and roads but a comfortable ride on the highway without scouting for the next EV charging point is every EV drivers dream come true.