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So the 2040 ban is going to break the energy grid...

Posted by Roseanne: Aug 10, 2017 3 min read

The UK recently declared all new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to be banned from 2040 onwards.

All over the world, governments are stepping forward and announcing legislative changes that publicly back the EV industry amidst the pressures to alleviate the effects of climate change.

Now 2040 seems very far in advance and many things can happen in the meantime. However, the news is still warmly welcomed by bringing the much-needed confidence to the EV market which should be enough to get more stakeholders on board.

The benefits of EVs are vast and many people recognise them, hence the rate of adoption in a short period. Yet, the media and many non-EV drivers are still circulating the same old arguments, often based on invalid data, that EVs cause more harm than good...

A recurring argument is that EVs will put too much pressure on the grid. This is bad. Everyone will be out of pocket from high energy prices. For example, the Financial Times stated the UK would need “20 new nuclear plants to cope with demand from EVs”, and then removed it. They also claimed that UK capacity would have to rise by 70%.

However, Cambridge Econometrics, an independent research body used by organisations such as the government, the European Commission and WWF, extensively analysed the UK’s electricity demand and supply. They concluded that a “wholesale move to EVs, in order to meet a ban on petrol and diesel cars, would add just 10% to the UK’s electricity grid in 2050.”

Cambridge Econometrics modelling showed an increase in electricity demand at 35-46TWh, a figure that is in line with future scenarios analysed by the National Grid. This, in turn, is significantly less than the Daily Mail’s reporting figure of a demand increase of 70TWh year on year.

Peak demand is an even hotter topic the press like to regurgitate. It is where the inflated claims are derived from that we will have to build “10 new nuke plants”, or that “the extra electricity needed will be the equivalent of almost 10x the total power output of the new Hinckley Point C nuclear power station being built in Somerset”.

What is Peak Demand?

It’s the maximum amount of electricity required at any one moment in a year. It is typically at its highest during winter around 17:30 on a weekday, when homes need heat and light before factories and offices have closed.

The reality of Peak Demand

The National Grid cleared up several misleading headlines in their story on EV myths. A key point to take away from this is that the additional peak demand from EVs is likely to only be an around 10% increase in today’s peak demand value, which is still less than our nation's peak demand in 2002.

The notion of a bigger increase in demand is derived from an extreme scenario such as “High EV sensitivity”. In this scenario all tailpipe emissions are to be banned by 2040, EV prices will have to fall dramatically, and there will be no petrol or diesel cars on the road by 2040 - including hybrid EVs too. This scenario is also based on the assumption that there is little concern for broader environmental issues, and that society is prosperous enough that 85% of people who could charge their cars at peak time, at peak prices, would do so… Thus, the increase thought of in this extreme scenario would come around by 2046.

As you can gather from the above, the 2040 ban and the adoption of EVs is going to break the grid. So let’s give up on saving the environment and stick to wallet-busting-high-polluting-vehicles.

Or... How about we acknowledge yet another highly-publicised EV myth, help transform the public perception, and continue supporting the adoption of a more sustainable and greener transport!

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