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27 Aug 2019, 13:30
Freja Eriksen

Intelligent charging would make fully electric car fleet in Germany economically feasible – study

Clean Energy Wire

Intelligent charging of electric vehicles that smoothes out electricity demand would make a mass introduction of e-cars in Germany feasible without requiring overwhelming investment, shows a study by think tanks Agora Verkehrswende, Agora Energiewende* and the Regulatory Assistance Project. They estimate that advancing cables and power converters for 30 million e-cars would cost about 1.5 billion euros annually until 2050. As electricity demand is set to rise with the number of e-vehicles, these investments would however not lead to higher electricity prices, they calculate. Currently, about 47 million passenger cars are registered in Germany, but the think tanks expect that a mobility transition will lead to a lower total number of vehicles. In the scenario of a fully electrified vehicle fleet of 45 million cars by 2050 annual grid expansion costs would amount to 2.1 billion euros, they estimate. The study proposes making it more expensive to charge e-cars at times with a high load on the power grid in order to reduce peak loads. Director of Agora Verkehrswende Christian Hochfeld says "the necessary steps must be taken quickly" to ensure that "standards for controlling the charging stations" and "the necessary software and tools" to forecast the load on the electricity grid very precisely exist.

Germany had aimed to have a million electric vehicles on its roads by 2020, but the government has said this target will likely only be reached by 2021 or 2022. The swift expansion of charging infrastructure is seen as a key condition for the success of electric mobility, but according to a recent study by the influential ADAC automobile association, most residents of German apartment buildings are unable to charge an electric car at home. The number of public charging points in the country has however increased over the last year.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende and Agora Energiewende are projects funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

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