Eurelectric Position Paper: Smart charging is indispensable to deliver the benefits of electric vehicles

April 12, 2011 | 00:00

Eurelectric Position Paper: Smart charging is indispensable to deliver the benefits of electric vehicles

Eurelectric is convinced that electricity is a solution for making transport more sustainable. Using low]carbon electricity in the transport sector can decrease greenhouse gas emissions, encourage energy]efficiency gains through the greater efficiency of electric drive]trains, decrease the EU’s oil dependence, improve the situation in cities with regard to air pollution and noise, and help to maintain the EU’s competitiveness by taking the lead in these new technological developments.

Cross]industry understanding and cooperation are needed to turn these opportunities into reality and foster the amalgam of conditions that will ensure the success of this new transport technology. Reaping the full benefits of electricity as a transport fuel will require the efficient integration of electric vehicles into the European electricity system, with regard to both generation and distribution.

The existing European electricity system already provides end]users with a very efficient infrastructure for generation, transmission, distribution and commercialisation of electricity. The equilibrium of this very complex system is managed in real time, across all borders of Europe. While EURELECTRIC is convinced that the existing European electricity system is a true asset for making transport more sustainable, general recommendations for an optimal integration of electric mobility are important in order to avoid technical bottlenecks and unnecessary investments in the electricity network.

The commercial success of electric transport will, of course, largely depend on the customer. Common standards will help to ensure that drivers enjoy a convenient recharging solution across Europe that avoids a multiplicity of different cables and adaptors and/or retrofit costs for adapting to new charging systems. Moreover consumers should be able to charge their vehicle at any publicly accessible charging station across Europe. A standardised interface between the distribution grid and electric vehicles will ensure the required safety and security level for the consumer.

Commonly agreed standards will generate cost benefits and help to create economies of scale for both electricity companies and the automobile industry. Standards for both hardware (connectors and cables) and communication software are a prerequisite for a secure investment climate for the required infrastructure. As well as encouraging the sharing of development costs, such standards will help to avoid the risk of stranded assets resulting from interim solutions. However, these new standards should not make charging from domestic plugs more difficult, as this charging method facilitates early market introduction of electric vehicles. In general, at the early stage of market development, it is important to leave room for further market improvements and refrain from overcomplicating market models and imposing a regulatory minefield.

To read the full paper, click here.

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