European Union (EU) member states are developing national policies that the EU has required to ensure that they have an adequate number of alternative transport recharging and refuelling stations by 2020. This is deemed necessary to boost demand for vehicles running on alternative fuels in Europe.

The number of electrical (battery and plug-in) and hybrid vehicles in Europe remains low for most countries: according to European Vehicle Market Statistics from the International Council for Clean Transportation 2014, 13% of vehicles in Norway comprises these e-vehicles, and 11% in the Netherlands. These are easily the most impressive figures.

Electric vehicles help to balance grid usage

A large uptake of electric vehicles on European roads would not only decrease greenhouse gas emissions and help the EU move away from fossil fuel imports, but also help balance the grid by contributing to the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid.

However, this would require encouraging people to charge their electric vehicles overnight, when there is excess capacity from renewable. If they are charged overnight, the development of electric vehicles provides a fantastic possibility to make use of the volume of renewable generated overnight, for which at the moment there is no significant demand.

It has been estimated that if charging did happen during the day and every automobile in the EU was an electric one, electricity demand would rise by 25%.

If things are done cleverly and electric vehicles are charged overnight, electric vehicles can become a good forward storage for renewable electricity at peak hours. What we need to see is electric vehicles introduced with smart grids, and in doing this you can determine when it is charged.

Electric vehicles reducing carbon emissions

Electric Vehicles (EVs) have the potential to unlock up to 1.5bn tonnes of carbon dioxide savings per year by 2050, according to the research form the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT).

An ICCT paper, Global climate change mitigation potential from a transition to electric vehicles, says that climate benefits from EVs could increase rapidly over time- from a 125mn tonnes saving in 2030 to the 1.5bn figures in 2050- compared to business as usual.

The carbon mitigation potential would come from an increasing penetration of EVs combined with a growing share of low carbon electricity in worldwide energy mixes. EV technology allows the global fleet to achieve around 40% lower emissions than a highly efficient conventional combustion fleet (and 70% lower carbon than a business-as-usual fleet) in 2050, says the report.

Europe and the US will first fleet the benefits of EVs, followed by china in longer term, says the report, which comes as the EV industry has broke the milestone of cumulatively selling 1mn vehicles worldwide. EV sales have grown rapidly in the last five years from very modest beginnings in 2010.

Source: Energy World News June 2015