Carmakers are increasingly moving to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as they look to meet emission targets set out by the EU for 2021 and beyond. With the collapse of the diesel vehicle market and higher CO2 emissions from their petrol counterparts, Electric mobility seems like the answer.
Speaking to German publication Automobilwoche, manager at electricity provider Innogy, Hildegard Müller, says: ‘We are facing a mammoth task. The expansion of electromobility is manageable, but we must take action to ensure that now.’
The situation is similar to concerns in the UK, where the Nation Grid believes home charging is not the future for electric vehicles.
In the Handelsblatt newspaper, a report highlights a study from management consultancy firm Oliver Wyman, together with TU Munich, which shows how much action must be taken. ‘If the electric vehicle (EV) ration rises above 30%, measures must be taken to avoid power blackouts. In the coming five to ten years, supply bottlenecks will occasionally arise, for example in suburban areas with a higher affinity for electromobility.’
Another issue is the age of the country’s grid, with some supply cables up to 80-years-old. If a lot of people in one area decide to charge their vehicles at the same time, which could be a possibility, it leads to a scenario where the electricity supply in the area may collapse completely. Therefore, experts are calling on the German government to start upgrading the country’s electricity network now, especially as it may take some time to complete such a wide scale project.
However, the study also suggests that if 30% of EV owners charged their cars at different times to expected peak demand, the load on the network could be reduced. Therefore, should some form of flexible charging scheme be introduced, the need to upgrade may not be required, or at least can be carried out with less haste.