CV Focus episode 15 – Russell Fowler

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Where are we going to get all the power from to charge electric vehicles?

Russell Fowler, Senior Project Manager Transport Decarbonisation, National Grid, answers the key questions as the nation’s electricity distributor gears up for the 2030 deadline.

Over the next nine years National Grid is preparing for all new cars and light vans to be electric, ready for the 2030 deadline.  Russell says that current forecasts are for around 10-11 million EVs on the road by 2030.

What does this mean for commercial vehicles?

Russell discusses speculation around the end-date for diesel-only new trucks. Will it be 2040? Could it be staggered by truck size, with lighter ones first? A consultation is expected soon, as part of the UK’s route to being net zero by 2050.

This will mean building more electricity distribution infrastructure and Russell explains how through National Grid’s ‘do it once, do it right’ approach, to upgrades this will be achieved.

EV growth will be steady, he points out, not all at once and National Grid has been planning network upgrades for EVs for more than over a decade.

He also explains how much electricity car/van EVs will consume. By 2030, it’s estimated to be around 100 terawatt-hours (TWh). Currently UK consumption is around 300 TWh, but this is falling due to improved energy efficiency in homes and commercial premises.

In a detailed conversation about matching supply and demand, Russell explains why we don’t need to find an extra 100 TWh, but also how PM Boris Johnson’s announcement of providing an extra 40 gigawatt (GW) of new offshore wind generation, roughly equals around 100 TWh, and the smart technology that glues together supply and demand.

They also discuss trucks looking at whether battery-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell electric will be the way forward, and how the government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan – due in next six months – will give a bit of a steer on trucks.

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