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EV transition 'well under way' but the pace must increase, says taskforce

29 January 2020


The Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce (EVET) has this month made 21 key proposals to government and industry – following an unprecedented collaboration including more than 350 organisations – to effectively manage integration of electric vehicles with the energy system.

The EVET was jointly established by energy and transport ministers at the Prime Minister’s Zero Emission Vehicle Summit, in September 2018. The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership was asked to convene and facilitate the work of the Taskforce, chaired by Energy Systems Catapult chief executive Philip New. It brings together key players in the energy, infrastructure and transport sectors and has demonstrated that an effectively managed integration of electric vehicles with the energy system can significantly improve electricity network efficiency, increase system resilience and limit the requirement to build costly new infrastructure to meet growing electricity demand.

The proposals set out in this latest report are the result of the engagement, cooperation and goodwill of hundreds of organisations, spanning electricity distribution and supply, transport, energy retailers and charge point operators, the automotive industry, investors, local authorities, data and tech companies, consumer advocacy organisations, equipment manufacturers, regulators and central and local government. Attention has been paid to international developments, prior research and the work of other related task forces.

The Taskforce states that ‘the transition to electric motoring is now well under way’, but that the pace must increase. Road transport accounts for 28% of the UK’s total energy consumption and 25% of carbon emissions.

Philip New, Chief Executive, Energy Systems Catapult and the EV Energy Taskforce Chair said: ‘Ensuring that the mass roll-out of electric vehicles delivers benefits for both drivers and the wider energy system requires actions from industry, Government and the regulator, including creating the new markets and policies that can unlock EVs’ huge potential.’

Key points

In its formal report to the Government, the EVET sets out a range of proposals to enable the efficient integration of electric vehicles with the energy system during the electrification transition. Three key priorities have emerged:

  • The urgency of developing standards and codes of practice to enable interoperability and the sharing of data within the Electric Vehicle sector and with the electricity system

  • The need for effective local and national planning and coordination to enable efficient investment, mediating the balance between future-proofing and asset stranding

  • The criticality of smart charging; underpinned by a resilient network and clear market signals, to reduce the cost of supplying millions of EVs

These three priorities run through the 21 proposals made by the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce under five themes:

Theme one: Delivering consumer benefits through interoperability

Theme two: Rewarding consumers for charging smartly

Theme three: Utilising and protecting data for better consumer outcomes

Theme four: Winning consumers’ trust and confidence

Theme five: Developing and maintaining the charging infrastructure consumers need.

Underpinning the proposals is a key defining principle: the EV transition is best served by always aligning with the best outcome for the consumer – typically the EV driver. The most important question used to test the proposals has always been “is this in the best interest of the EV driver?” Our belief is that if a positive experience cannot be provided to the EV driver, the potential development of this new market and its ability to contribute to our ‘Net Zero’ ambition will be compromised. This focus on the best customer outcome supports our determination to ensure the electricity system is not a blocker to the rapid EV uptake required to achieve ‘Net Zero’. We have also been concerned to boost innovation and participation, taken economic equity and social impact seriously and adopted a whole system view over both the long and the short term.

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