The road to zero carbon net in Europe is well underway. With the EU’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, success will depend on one major shift: the mass adoption of electric vehicles. And as the production of electric vehicles increases, Europe is already making waves on the global stage.
In 2020 alone, the European EV fleet grew by over 70%. The clear market leader on the continent is Germany, which registered an unprecedented 390,000 electric vehicles last year. But the UK, with an estimated 10 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030, is looking for new opportunities. According to SMMT, sales in the UK rose sharply in 2020, securing electric vehicles a total market share of 10.7%. This is because the UK’s largest automaker, Jaguar Land Rover, recently announced that it would make Jaguar all-electric by 2025.
While the pace of EV production by European OEMs is admirable, production alone is not enough to handle the widespread transition to electricity
France also has bold plans. With one of the most generous incentive schemes in any country, the French government plans to offer electric vehicle buyers up to $ 13,150 to encourage adoption. Even emerging electric vehicle markets like Belgium are making real strides towards electrification, and opportunities for business partnerships with neighboring manufacturing giants will only help speed things up in the near future.
While the pace of EV production by European OEMs is admirable, production alone is not enough to handle the widespread transition to electricity. Europe must think holistically about the introduction of electric vehicles, taking into account not only production, but also the charging strategy.
If EV registrations in Europe continue to rise as they have before and all drivers choose to connect at the same time – for example right after work – the national grids will simply not be able to meet the electricity demand. Even Germany, which has the most modern electrical infrastructure in Europe, will find it difficult to bear the burden. Fortunately, the solution is already within reach: intelligent charging. The technology is equipped with measurement and billing functions and can lower the cost barrier for the introduction and at the same time make the existing infrastructure future-proof.
Smart charging solutions can bundle data with the national grid to intelligently balance the power channel, avoid overvoltages and ensure that every car is charged in good time before the time the driver needs it. At the same time, these types of charging solutions enable drivers to draw free energy from the grid at times when it is cheaper. In some cases where there is excess power on the grid, drivers can even be paid to charge their vehicles. This means that drivers will have another incentive to make the switch and that OEMs can take advantage of meeting that demand.
Europe must think holistically about the introduction of electric vehicles, taking into account not only production, but also the charging strategy
With the increasing spread of electric vehicles, an intelligent charging infrastructure will prove to be crucial. Car manufacturers are perfectly positioned to be leaders in Europe by combining their high production ambitions with a smart and well-considered charging strategy. In fact, OEMs are enjoying a unique opportunity to drive consumer behavior change on a massive scale by offering EV buyers smart charging as part of an integrated package. Not only does this save consumers money in the long run, but it also gives OEMs the ability to maintain a long-term connection with their customers and provide a better customer experience.
At the same time, by working with intelligent charging and data platforms, OEMs can gain powerful insights into driver behavior by accessing data such as usage, mileage, charging times and more. These insights can help shape an OEM’s strategy from vehicle design to other services like insurance and customer service. And for fleet providers, the benefits of data are amplified as it can be used to build a valuable management platform and become a real difference in the marketplace.
It is high time that smart charging didn’t become a secondary concern for OEMs, but a clear priority to enable faster and smoother mass adoption of electric vehicles.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd. contrary.
David Watson is the founder and CEO of Ohme
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