The electric vehicle (EV) charging market in the United Kingdom is in a state of rapid upheaval. New EV charging regulations, sky-high energy prices and a massive uptick in demand for sustainable electric cars are creating the perfect recipe for a mobility revolution. How can e-mobility players not only keep up with but actually leverage this heightened demand?
The race to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and for new cars and vans to reach zero tailpipe emissions by 2035 in the UK is changing the game for automotive manufacturers, charge point operators and energy service providers. As many cities become clean air zones, the need to rapidly adopt electric cars has never been clearer. In fact, of the UK’s stock of 600,000 fully electric vehicles, one-third (200,000) hit roads between January and November this year. The Climate Change Committee stipulated that to reach net zero, the UK will have to increase this to 23.2 million electric passenger vehicles and vans by 2032, an almost 39-fold increase in the next decade.
And of course, the charging infrastructure must follow suit. The UK government wants to see a 10-fold increase in public electric car chargers to reach 300,000 by 2030. The government recognizes that this is not only an important tool to decarbonize transport, but also to shield consumers from record-high fuel prices. A new EV charging regulation in the UK that requires all new or majorly renovated homes, workplaces, supermarkets and buildings to have electric car chargers installed should support this. The corresponding increase in electric car charging points, particularly as ultra rapid chargers (>100kW) are the fastest-growing segment, will have a huge impact on the grid.
To ensure that the surge in charging infrastructure doesn’t lead to grid overloads, it is vital to make EV charging solutions smart – a factor that the government is also acutely aware of. The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations, most of which became effective on June 30 2022, requires all EV chargers sold in British homes and workplaces to support a certain level of smart functionality – namely interoperability, privacy and security, off-peak charging, and phased charging times.
Dynamic load management to ease grid congestion
By increasing the number of charge points that can be installed on a site using existing grid capacities, dynamic load management (DLM) is an indispensable tool for enabling the necessary increase in charging infrastructure in the UK. In fact, XENON, combined with our Grid Protector module, helped E.ON, one of Europe’s largest energy providers, to increase charging capacity at sites by a factor of eight without grid extensions. On another project, our IoT platform and API enable the grid operator Westnetz to adjust power limits in response to the state of the grid, with an average response time of one second.
XENON also allows the Dutch fast charging operator Fastned to shave peaks, so that energy flows for EV charging are distributed in the most effective and cost-efficient manner. Finally, by combining EV charging and solar power, the manufacturer-independent solution allowed MAINGAU Energie GmbH to power 81% of all charging volume with local PV, while always ensuring that drivers reach their minimum desired state of charge.
Essentially, intelligent and holistic energy management significantly reduces upfront costs and ongoing grid fees, enhances scalability and speed of charging infrastructure installation, and enhances customer satisfaction with intuitive control and prioritization of vehicles. Smart charging solutions also provide the basis for future innovations, such as dynamic tariffs, making companies more agile and adaptable to changing requirements and market conditions – a vital tool as the UK demands more and smarter charge points.
The rest of this decade will see the EV market in the UK turned on its head, and the ambitious goals will only be reached if smart, holistic energy management solutions are leveraged. Similarly, only companies that add a layer of intelligence to EV charging will thrive – the sooner they’re applied, the sooner the benefits can be reaped.