Page 19 - European Energy Innovation - autumn 2017 publication
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Autumn 2017 European Energy Innovation    19

                                                         ELECTRIC VEHICLES

be electric, this would only mean an          depends on many factors, first of which   fast leaps forward. MOBI’s Battery
additional demand for electricity of          of course the battery. In a Tesla you     Innovation Centre performs ground-
1,4%. We should not forget that the           can cover 400km today, but the typical    breaking research in collaboration with
introduction of renewable energy              autonomy of electric cars is more in      key European players.
sources is gearing up. Their share in         the range of 150km. However, things
the production of energy will only            are changing fast. More and more car      WILL EVERYONE DRIVE ELECTRIC
increase. It does create other issues         manufactures are bring electric cars on   VEHICLES IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
though. What if there is no wind and          the market with a driving distance of     No more combustion engines.
sun? At these moments we either need          around 400km and this at acceptable       Breathing clean air in our cities,
to rely on other sources or we need           prices ranges. Driving range is also      hearing birds instead of traffic. Is it an
to invest more in energy storage. The         dependent on driving style, weather       unrealistic vision for the future? The
battery of an electric vehicle can play       conditions and the desired comfort.       reality is that we cannot change an
an important role in energy storage.          If you would like a temperature of 22     entire fleet overnight. The average
                                              degrees in your car in the middle of      lifetime of a car is 14 years. In other
When too much electricity is                  winter, this demands a lot of energy      words, if you buy a diesel car today, it
produced, it can be stored in the             from your battery. Yet manufacturers      will still be on the road in 2030.
batteries of cars. When there is not          are looking into to tackling these
sufficient electricity, they give it back to  issues too.                               Nevertheless we are at a turning point.
the grid. This is what has been called                                                  It is not just diesel gate that drives
V2G or ‘vehicle to grid’. Furthermore         For the average consumer driving          the market. Tesla has opened the
second life batteries will makes              range is a key factor when considering    market by offering models that go way
electric vehicles more economically           a car. We call this ‘range anxiety’. Yet  beyond the small city car. A whole new
attractive. Will there be enough electric     more than 95% of our daily trips are      type of consumers is now interested
cars to envisage this? We do indeed           less than 100km. 30% of all our vehicles  in electric cars. All manufacturers are
need a large fleet of electric vehicles       never drive more than 100km per           working on electric models. So things
to realise this and those are entering        day. We could make a start replacing      are moving.
the market rather slowly. In anticipation     these 30% with electric vehicles. Yet
of this gradual introduction, we need         consumers have a tendency to upscale      On the basis of MOBI’s consumer
to rethink our electric supply system         their car for the occasional longer       behaviour models, we predict that
drastically if we want to increase the        trip. Most of the cars on our roads are   by 2020 about 5 to 10% of new cars
share of renewable energy sources.            oversized, with a large trunk for the     sold in Belgium will be electric. We
                                              annual summer holiday.                    also depend on policy makers and
In other words, our grid will need to be                                                the incentives they offer. As a result of
remodelled, even independent from             The need for public charging              fiscal policy, in Norway for example the
the introduction of electric vehicles,        infrastructure is dependent upon          best selling car is not petrol or diesel
purely because of the need to increase        families owning a garage. In cities this  but an electric car.
the share of renewable energy                 is a problem. Less then 11% of families
sources.                                      in Brussels for example have a private    But we still have not answered the
                                              garage. Apart from standard charging      question about the number of electric
V2G applications have an impact on            points, fast chargers will find their     cars in 2050. Or should we look at the
the life expectancy of the battery of an      place on motorways, in cities and in      issue from a different perspective?
electric car. It is therefore important       suburban areas. These fast chargers       How many electric cars do we need
to research how we can give batteries         can fully charge a battery in 15 to 25    by 2050 to generate additional
a ‘second life’ and how they can be           minutes.                                  employment, improve our health and
recycled. If the capacity of a vehicle                                                  quality of life and slow down climate
battery declines to 80%, we assume it         The development of batteries is taking    change? l
is no longer serviceable. Yet it still has
80% storage capacity. So it could be          Professor Joeri Van Mierlo is Director of MOBI: Mobility, Logistics and Automotive
used for other applications, such as          Technology Research Centre. He lectures at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and is an
to support the grid, for micro-grids or       internationally recognised expert in the field of electric vehicles.
home storage, etc.
                                              He is the Vice president of the European Electric vehicle association ( and the
HOW FAR CAN YOU GET IN AN                     scientific chairman of the International Electric Vehicle Symposium EVS30 (
Driving range is an important issue and
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