A report by the Eurelectric association and EY Consultancy projects an explosion in the number of electric vehicles in Europe and points to the need to take care of network management to deal with the increase in energy consumption. The study focuses on the anticipated surge in EV sales across Europe (the EU27, plus Norway, Switzerland and the U.K.) and the charging infrastructure that is required to support it.
The scenario is outlined by the consultancy firm EY and the European association of electric companies, Eurelectric: in 2035 Europe should have 130 million electric cars on the roads, compared to about 3.3 million vehicles today. The weight of electric cars should rise from the current 1% of the vehicle fleet to nearly 50%. But will the electric grid be able to cope? A report published this Tuesday by Eurelectric and EY argues that active supply and demand management will be needed to avoid problems when the electric fleet reaches 50%.
Electrification is now an irreversible mega-trend in road transport. The challenge ahead is to accelerate infrastructure development in a well-coordinated way to meet growing charging needs while ensuring optimal use of the electricity gridEurelectric president Jean-Bernard Lévy
The study estimates that 65 million charging points will be needed by 2035, of which 56 million will be residential and 9 million public. The document stresses that the charging network in Europe presents many regional differences. Of the points that exist today, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom concentrate 66% of the current capacity, with regional disparities and a tendency for rural areas to have less coverage.
EV public charge point growth in Europe
Business models are being rewritten to accelerate electrification with 18 of the 20 largest automakers (in terms of vehicles sold in 2020) have announced intentions to increase the number of electric models available and boost production of electric light commercial vehicles (LCVs).
When it comes to the Charging Network, Netherlands is the country with the most chargers per km of road — 47.5 — and Poland, which is eight times bigger, is the last on the list with only one charging point for every 250 kilometres.
The Polish Government has made many ambitious remarks about the drive to electrify the national car fleet. In 2016 the government planned to boast 1 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030, however, it modified this figure to 600,000 electric and hybrid vehicles in the Strategy for Sustainable Transport Development. Several strategic frameworks and regulations to spur electric car adoption were also introduced: the Electromobility Development Plan passed in March 2017; the Law on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels in February 2018 and the Law on Bio-components and Liquid Biofuels, which was revised and introduced the Low Emission Transport Fund to promote the development of alternative fuel vehicles — according to Euromonitor International.
The Netherlands had its second-best month ever for passenger plug-in electric car sales in December with 23,150 new registrations. The top-10 cars for the month were all-electric. Last year, 95,464 new passenger plug-in cars were registered in the country, over 7% more than in 2020.
Only 3% of charging will be done at the gas station in future. Most of the charging will be done at home, at work, in parking lots.Doron Frenkel, Founder and CEO, Driivz
Annual vehicle market share by fuel in Europe (2021, Q1–Q3)
The magnitude of this impact depends on the number of electric vehicles and the characteristics of the network and charging points, as well as the existence of batteries, for example. But the problem could be more serious if electric mobility extends to trucks.
“In an unmanaged charging situation, when electric vehicle penetration reaches 50% in an urban distribution network, voltage deviations in the network will exceed normal standards,” the report states.
The analysis by EY and Eurelectric indicates that peak-hour electricity consumption (usually late afternoon, early evening) will increase between 21% and 90%, and transformer usage will also rise 19% to 80%.
According to the report, smart grids will help mitigate this impact, as demand-side management solutions will allow non-emergency charging of electric vehicles to be distributed, avoiding the simultaneous use of the grid by too many consumers.