Opinion - 09/September/2020

An EV future is in our hands

On World EV Day, the stage is set for electric vehicles to become the mainstream mobility choice, as long as the main actors play their part, says Frank Mühlon, head of ABB’s Global E-Mobility Infrastructure Solutions

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of FORESIGHT Climate & Energy


Electric vehicles are close to becoming the primary choice of transport

 

As we continue to face new challenges, there is no doubt that we are more aware than ever of our impact on the environment and our planet. Recent events have demonstrated the earth’s power of recovery and have also shown that we have to take responsibility for our actions on climate change and global emissions.

According to the Global Carbon Project, 2020 could see a 5% fall in global carbon emissions (or 2.5 billion tons), while some experts believe we could witness the largest short-term decrease in emissions caused by human activity this century.

That is why World EV Day (September 9) is so important. It is a chance to recognise how far we have come on our EV journey and a powerful opportunity to shine a light on the need to maintain momentum around emissions reduction so we safeguard future generations.

 

DRIVING THE CHANGE

With over 600 new EV models set to be launched by 2025, and governments mandating transitions to electric fleets, World EV Day is a positive platform to increase awareness of the benefits of driving electric vehicles and celebrate people and organisations that have already embraced the commitment for cleaner transportation.

While transportation accounted for 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 there is still widespread scepticism and more work needs to be done to educate consumers on the benefits of driving an EV versus a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE).

We recognise that electrification is the main lever for the decarbonisation of road transport.

We must therefore take decisive action to ensure that the positive climate performance of EVs can be realised. The facts speak for themselves; over a full life cycle, including vehicle production, driving an EV produces on average 50% less greenhouse gases than the average ICE vehicle. As more and more renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, replace traditional fossil fuel power generation resources such as coal, this statistic will only improve.

Most greenhouse gases produced by EVs come from the manufacturing process. However, these manufacturing emissions will be paid back within two years of driving, compared to that of a typical vehicle. And, as EV production volumes continue to increase, we will see more automated processes, similar to those already in place for ICE production, which will bring emissions down even further.

In addition to improving the air quality of our towns and cities of the future, broader adoption of EVs will also reduce noise pollution, so that we make our spaces more enjoyable and sustainable.

 

 

INNOVATING FOR THE FUTURE

ABB’s new e-mobility headquarters and laboratory on the university campus in Delft, the Netherlands, is designed in such a way that we can test pantograph charging of a bus or truck inside the building.

Working closely with vehicle manufacturers to advance vehicle-to-charger communications and increase charging speeds will improve the charging experience for drivers.

In addition, the development of bi-directional charging solutions will further justify EV adoption through new revenue streams, enabling drivers to sell power stored in vehicle batteries back to utilities during peak energy rates. This will all have a huge impact on adoption rates; when cost parity is met, consumers are much more likely to pick an EV over an ICE model.

As an industry, we must also focus on charging innovation so that we make the process more seamless and improve the overall user experience. This will drive autonomy in mobility, and we predict we will see a marked shift, where everything is connected electrically, and shared mobility becomes the norm.

Ultimately, the road to an EV future is in our hands. We have the evidence to support a cleaner future; we now need to use the will of governments and consumers to make sure that we leave our planet as a safer, smarter and more sustainable place for future generations to come.


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