The UK is in the midst of an energy revolution that could see electric vehicles and batteries adopted far sooner than first expected, according to the National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios 2016 report.
Marcus Stewart, Head of Energy Insights, System Operator, says in the report that the “economic, technological and consumer landscapes are changing at an unprecedented rate”, and predictions are that up to 9.7 million EVs could be on UK roads by 2040.
The report works on four different scenarios – Gone Green, Slow Progression, No Progression, and Consumer Power – which see predictions made for different forces driving the market, such as an up-swell in environmental consciousness, allied or not to a wealthy consumer base.
Even should the markets stay as they are – the least optimistic forecast – the report predicts that 1.15 million electric vehicles will be on the road within 15 years, with that figure almost reaching 4 million units by 2040. The best case scenario sees 9.7 million electric vehicles by 2040, and around ten times the current figure by 2030.
Interestingly, the National Grid reckons that hybrid vehicles will exceed the number of EVs in all but one scenario. Only in Consumer Power – a “wealthy, market-driven world” – do EVs out sell hybrids between 2032 and 2040, as they are seen as more desirable models.
The figures are an improvement on last year’s predictions across the board, with estimate increases ranging from almost a quarter more, to more than double the previous expectations.
The report also sees a more significant role for smart energy use and energy storage. Developments in battery technology – and plans from EV focused manufacturers such as Tesla, Nissan, and BMW to provide vehicle batteries as home storage devices – will see this market become increasingly vital to the UKs energy use.
The cost of Lithium-Ion batteries is estimated to halve in price within the next three years or so, and then halve again in the following three years. This will have a dramatic effect on the cost of new EV models and make them more accessible for a grater number of drivers.Road map to Gone Green’s EV scenario – from the Future Energy Scenarios 2016 report, courtesy of the National Grid.