As part of the modern Industrial Strategy’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, the UK government has given the go ahead for investment in the development of batteries for electric cars. The government will invest £23 million to keep the UK at the forefront of EV development. The investment is part of the Faraday Battery Challenge, that brings together leading stakeholders to enhance the research into development of key EV technologies. The £23 million is part of the £274 million that will be awarded through the Faraday Battery Challenge. Multiple companies across the UK are set to benefit. These include, a Jaguar Land Rover led project, mining consultancy firm, Wardell Armstrong and material technology company, Granta Design.
The above announcement is a positive step, in the country’s progress to a net zero emissions economy. However, to compete with heavy weight competitors, like China and the USA, far greater funding resources will need to be made available, to the private and academia sectors.
Vehicle-to-Grid charging is already being tested in the UK. However, a small Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean, is running a pilot scheme for using electric cars to feed the grid with power at night. The EVs are being charged during the day with solar power. At night, the spare power from the EV is fed back to the grid. The EV owner in return receives a financial compensation.
Vehicle-to-Grid, or more commonly known as V2G, will become a vital aspect to the future stability of the grid in any country. In the UK, the National Grid has taken significant steps to forecast EV rollout, and its implications on grid load, balance and stability. Most EV owners will eventually become contributors to the national grid, earning money in return. Charging technology is rapidly being developed to allow a ‘two way’ interaction with the grid infrastructure i.e. use the same charging point to charge the car and also to feed back to the grid.
As the EV market continues to develop and mature, automotive manufactures have been releasing new EV models with longer ranges. Existing EV models have also witnessed range improvements with new higher capacity batteries. Achieving a range over 200 miles is fast becoming the norm, with some electric car models able to achieve up to 300 miles on a single charge. The Hyundai Kona electric (259 miles), Jaguar I-PACE (253 miles) and Kia e-Niro (253 miles).
There is no doubt, that the market is witnessing a significant improvement in range. We certainly expect this trend to improve as battery technology further matures. However, we must qualify all range improvements in ‘real world’ driving conditions and not just laboratory conditions. There remains a healthy level of skepticism from consumers, on range data released by automotive manufacturers. EV manufactures need to work harder in releasing realistic range estimates to further gain the trust of consumers.