28. June 2023 By Ellen Szczepaniak and Felix Magdeburg
Mobility: Getting ready for 2050
Climate change, digitalisation and the increasing prevalence of crises caused by war or global pandemics are forcing companies, organisations and the governments to act more often.
The EU Commission’s ambitious goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 has set a first major signal. However, this must first be implemented step by step and continuously. There is not much time left to achieve the goals. What’s more, the tasks for climate protection are comprehensive and diverse and some aspects are mutually dependent. The inertia of existing systems and path dependencies prevent radical upheavals to a certain extent. So what should we do?
Many factors from a wide variety of industries, such as the energy or automotive industries, play a role here. Many players are calling above all for a transition in the power, heat and transport sectors. Sector coupling and electrification, which we are seeing now more often, can be used for this purpose. This blog post is dedicated to the topic of mobility and deals with electromobility, in particular.
Or should we shoot for 2035? – The EU’s decision to no longer allow internal combustion vehicles from 2035 onwards has met with great approval by lawmakers in Brussels. This has prompted many OEMs and companies to focus more on electromobility and to steer production in the direction of electromobility at an earlier stage.
From electricity supplier to mobility service provider
However, the shift from the internal combustion engine to much lower-emission electric cars also brings with it some changes. People used to see energy providers as electricity suppliers for private households only, whereas now some are temporarily repositioning themselves as mobility service providers. For example, the value chains of the automotive and the energy industries are merging more and more. Electric vehicles require electricity, so public utility companies and suppliers are expanding their market position in some places in order to attract new customers with services related to electromobility. Some examples are the provision of public charging infrastructure, apps, cooperation with hardware service providers for the installation of charging stations or end-to-end package deals comprised of a photovoltaic system, charging station and storage solution.
The energy industry and the transformation of the mobility sector
It is worth mentioning once again at this point the omnipresent goal of climate neutrality by 2050, of which the conversion to electromobility is only a small part. So it is only logical that the additional electricity generation required for this is increasingly based on renewable energies, since according to the German Environment Agency [available in German only], the share of renewable energies in the EU is to increase to 40 per cent by 2030.
The higher the share, the greater the challenges for grid operators, electricity suppliers and producers. On the one hand, the increasing demand for electricity due to the increased use of electric vehicles (including drones, etc.) is to be covered by renewable energies; yet on the other hand, the load peaks of electric vehicles when they are charging lead to challenges in the energy grids. The electricity supply will increasingly fluctuate due to the rising share of renewable energies. This is where electromobility offers an advantage in terms of demand, as the time when electric vehicles are charging can be shifted and adapted to the supply side or to grid bottlenecks, for example.
The journey is the reward
60 per cent of people who own an electric car charge their vehicle at home. Charging at home is a good option, especially as it is usually cheaper than charging at public stations, since most people use their car for the daily commute or to go grocery shopping nearby. In any case, longer journeys should be well planned and you should try to use fast charging stations, which are usually located near motorways.
But it is not only the expansion of the charging infrastructure that is important. The focus for suppliers is on maintenance and operation, with asset and billing management being just two main keywords. What is needed is a uniform technical solution that can be used to control (charging-related) processes in order to enable long-term scaling and consolidate the currently fragmented market.
Other exciting areas include the electrification of fleets. These can be the private fleets of companies, but it can also include the electrification of city buses, for example. Intelligent charging management can help manage the utilisation, prioritisation and the fields of application for users, while enabling energy suppliers to receive the necessary information regarding consumption and load profile.
Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-load (V2L) solutions are available to compensate for load peaks in future. This means that owners of electric vehicles are no longer just electricity consumers, but are also able to feed in electricity. When there is increased demand (for balancing power to maintain frequency, for example), they can feed electricity into the grid; when there is an increased (renewable) supply of electricity, they absorb it by charging. There are numerous possible fields of application for electromobility options.
Is it still a long way off or can we have it already today?
Electromobility cannot be seen as a separate business model, but rather as part of the solution to the challenges of the energy and climate transition. Topics such as the smart city, virtual power plants or hydrogen technologies play an important role here sometimes. Electromobility will enable us to build the energy ecosystem of the future.
Our goal still remains the year 2050. Let us tackle the issues together. Feel free to contact our experts if you want to learn more. We support you with innovative and future-oriented solutions.
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