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Electrification of Transport at the Convergence of Mobility, Energy for the Future - Smarter City Transformations

Electric Car Maniac

JAN 25. 2020

Mobility is changing


As electric vehicles (EV) become more affordable, some are predicting that they will constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of the next decade. Ride-sharing continues to surge, with estimates that by 2030, it will account for more than 25% of all miles driven globally, up from 4% today. These changes are just the first hints of what is to come as we will soon see autonomous vehicles (AV) and commercial fleets of EVs integrated as parts of everyday life. In the future, AVs will also cost significantly less per mile than vehicles with internal combustion engines for personal-use — by as much as 40% — and could also reduce congestion and traffic incidents.


A new approach to electrification of transport is required. Here are two suggested general principles:


1. Prioritize high-use electric vehicles


Electric taxis and public transportation will have a great impact in reducing carbon emissions. These types of vehicles are driven far more than personal-use vehicles, so commercial and public EV fleet development should be encouraged. For example, Schneider Electric and BMW are part of a consortium of companies in Bangkok that is partnering with King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi to spur the use of electric vehicles across Thailand, initially through car sharing and a campus-based electric bus.


2. Deploy critical charging infrastructure today while anticipating the mobility transformation


EV charging infrastructure should be developed along highways, at destination points, and close to public transportation nodes. This is critical for three reasons: first, to keep pace with current demand. Second, to address range anxiety issues by making charging stations accessible, convenient, and easy to locate. And, lastly, to promote the adoption of EVs in commercial and private markets.

The convergence of energy and mobility


When these two general principles are followed, mobility assets and energy systems help each other.


EVs can be used as a decentralized energy resource and provide new, controllable storage capacity and electricity supply that is useful for the stability of the energy system. New business models are possible, where the drivers and fleet operators of EVs could play as producer-consumers of energy services, such as vehicle-to-everything (V2x) and smart charging. These new energy services will create additional opportunities for revenue sharing between the vehicle owners and the energy suppliers that would reduce the total cost of ownership of the EVs and accelerate their market penetration.


EV charging stations can be integrated into the local city micro smart grid with solar and wind generation to better manage energy efficiency. For example, at the EUREF Campus on the outskirts of Berlin, the micro grid’s artificial intelligence and machine-to-machine learning capacity actively optimizes EV charging. It controls the charging demands to match the network capacity and sends energy surplus back to the grid based on dynamic pricing. This creates a system where electricity is supplied, stored, and potentially sent back actively and intelligently. Indeed, this is a model sustainable solution which set examples for others to follow when meeting their climate targets.


Designing a better future


Different sectors and all stakeholders will be crucial toward designing a better future with EVs. The energy sector will have to continue to strive towards a cleaner, more digitalized and decentralized system, yet one that is more connected and customer centric. The mobility sector will have the opportunity to develop new business models based on service and sharing models, and the new uses and services associated with EVs as decentralized energy resources. Lastly, urban planners will need the support of energy and mobility-relevant stakeholders to define the optimal location of the publicly accessible charging infrastructure.


Even if we may not fall in the above sectors or stakeholders, we can still contribute towards a smarter city future by simply encouraging and adopting the use of electric vehicles. This small step will pave the direction for sectors and stakeholders to prioritize EVs and work towards designing a better future. 


So, why not consider using an electric sharing vehicle for your Chinese New Year Visitings this year?

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