Energy storage could cut down on demand costs and surges at charging stations before economies of scale take the wheel
Last year marked the best year ever for electric vehicle sales in the U.S. EV sales were up 35 percent over 2016. And in 2016, EV sales jumped 37 percent over the previous year.
EVs currently make up only about 1 percent of all vehicles globally, but a recent spike in regulatory and ratemaking actions indicates that cities, states and utilities are preparing for a tipping point. McKinsey & Company noted in a February reportthat electric cars could account for 20 percent of the light-duty fleet by 2030. A separate report from Black & Veatch notes that EVs will eventually be the “most common and widespread” distributed energy resource on the grid, with plug-in cars projected to surpass internal combustion engine sales before 2040.
That creates both stresses and opportunities for utilities, which Black & Veatch said should sit “at the center of this new energy ecosystem.”
Transitioning customers from on-demand energy and quick-fueling to the realities of a more grid-tied transportation system will take not just building out infrastructure -- which many states and utilities are now confronting -- but also innovation. That innovation could come in the form of the energy industry's latest darling: battery storage.
“Accustomed to the ease of conventional cars, [consumers] want the same from EVs,” state the McKinsey authors. “For that to happen, charging must become cheaper and easier.”
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