Liam Walker from myenergi offers his view on home charging.
The rEVolution isn’t approaching – it’s here now. The notion of an electric vehicle charge point on the side of a U.K domestic property or concealed within an on-site garage is becoming less unusual as more Britons take the leap of faith and abandon their dependency on an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle. Whilst it’s perhaps still a rarity to see one within your local neighbourhood for now, the sight of an EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) isn’t just reserved for the motorway service stations or as a car dealership gimmick any longer.
Like the development of the Electric Vehicle market itself, the choice on offer for homeowners and EV or Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) owners has also grown considerably. The EV/PHEV fraternity no longer have little choice but to go with what’s deemed a ‘dumb’ charge point – one that simply allows the vehicle to charge using electricity from the grid with little to no monitoring capabilities. Nevertheless, the development of myenergi’s ‘zappi’ smart EV charge point allows the homeowner to use surplus green energy generated from a solar array and/or wind turbine to increase self-consumption and reduce the amount of reliance upon the grid. Furthermore, the zappi is capable of serving the wider community of homeowners who do not have micro-generation (solar or wind) on their property: it can access economy tariffs to ensure any power provided from the grid is accessed at its cheapest rate; can have grid supply limits set to ensure it doesn’t use too much power from the grid and boasts load-balancing capability to safeguard the property whilst other domestic appliances are being used simultaneously – a further sign of its intelligence and future-proofing capabilities. It’s possible to remotely control and monitor the zappi via a forthcoming app – a further nod towards the progress of the charge point market in a relatively short space of time.
The evidence of the rEVolution happening now is overwhelming. The government’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy, announced back in July 2018, highlighted several key targets:
• Reaffirmation of ending sales for new conventional petrol & diesel cars & vans by 2040
• A minimum of 50% of new car and 40% of new van sales to be low-emission by 2030
• To have almost all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050
• Continue to offer grants for the purchase of plug-in cars until at least 2020
• Future housing development plans to ensure all new homes are Electric Vehicle-ready
In addition to this, an announcement in December 2018 confirmed that more than 60,000 applications for the Electric Vehicle Homecharging Scheme (EVHS) £500 grant, provided by the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), towards the purchase of a suitable charge point had been processed to date. Originally planned for a March 2019 cut-off, the government have subsequently extended this until March 2020 or when 30,000 installs throughout 2019-2020 have occurred. In Scotland, eligible patrons can access a further £300 grant provided by the Energy Saving Trust in addition to the OLEV grant – further indication that the commitment to support the transition to an EV or PHEV from the government is strong. The December 2018 declaration also insists that all charge points that qualify for the grant must be ‘smart’ by July 2019. This means they must have the capacity to be remotely accessed by a virtual power plant for monitoring and control purposes as the demand on the grid increases with each new adoptee to the rEVolution.
In terms of the recognition and importance that EVs play, the all-electric Jaguar iPace, Jaguar’s first foray into the EV market, has just been announced as ‘World Car of the Year’ for 2019 – Jaguar’s first ever 1st place finish. Nissan’s Leaf, the leading EV in terms of worldwide sales to date, won the 2011 event. Volvo, winners of the 2018 competition and recognised developers of Plug-In Hybrid vehicles, have committed to having a fully electric-only range by 2025 and likewise Jaguar are aiming for a similar 2025 deadline. Big automotive players such as BMW, Nissan and Porsche are also rumoured to be considered making the transition to electric-only by 2028 and we haven’t touched upon Elon Musk’s ground-breaking Tesla range, currently the only mainstream car manufacturer that offers EVs alone. The Tesla Model 3, their entry-level model, took over half a million pre-orders worldwide and will be heading to the U.K by Q3 2019. Don’t be surprised to see a growing trend of car dealerships employing an ‘EV specialist’ in both the show room and the workshop in the very near future.
With the number of plug-in electric vehicles now exceeding 150,000 in the U.K, coupled with the government’s commitment to provide up to £3,500 towards the purchase of an electric vehicle, this demonstrates the clear growth in popularity as people seek the benefits of going electric in terms of reducing their carbon footprint and potential savings. Customers can save over £1,000 a year on both tax and reduced fuel costs – even more if they are able charge at home using a zappi to access surplus green energy.
So, what lies next for both the EV industry and its charge points? With regards to the homeowner and coupled with the announcement of the Feed-In-Tariff payment scheme ending on 31st March 2019, this may present an interesting opportunity. There are rumours abound of a storage tariff being introduced whereby a consumer is rewarded for using their electric vehicle and associated charge point to provide some respite to the over-indulged National Grid as the number of EV/PHEV owners increases. Bi-directional charging – Vehicle-2-Home (V2H) or Vehicle-2-Grid (V2G) - is perhaps the next advancement in charge point functionality whereby the proprietor can use their car battery to provide power to their property (V2H) or to send some power back to the grid (V2G). In addition to this, the possibility of adding your home charge point to an online network to allow Joe Public to use your charge point for a fee is a genuinely feasible possibility in the very near future. This is on top of increased investment in the general infrastructure of the industry from both the public and private sector, with more communal/destination charge points installed in frequented settings such as local high streets, car parks, supermarkets, hotels, schools, hospitals, service stations, petrol forecourts and even built within lamp posts or bollards in the local neighbourhood.
The home of tomorrow is very much becoming the home of today, with homeowners now having increased choice and freedom on how best to play their own part in joining the rEVolution.