Navigant Research Blog

The UK Has Emerged as the Leader in V2G

— May 24, 2018

Over the past 2 years, the UK has emerged as the leader in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) innovation. With pilot programs, academic research, and engagement from utilities and automakers, the UK is a hotbed for V2G technology development and partnerships. Navigant expects the addressable capacity of global vehicle grid integration to reach over 20,000 MW by 2026, with roughly 2,500 MW in Western Europe. Given the recent uptick of UK V2G pilot programs, it is likely the country will account for a large portion of the forecast capacity.


VGI Addressable Capacity Potential by Region, World Markets: 2017-2026

(Source: Navigant Research)

Nissan at the Forefront

Nissan has been at the forefront of many V2G pilot programs around the world, especially in the UK. In March 2016, Nissan began searching for fleets and company car drivers to join a V2G trial that took place later in the year. The trial involved energy company Enel and enabled 100 Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 drivers to provide energy back to the grid via V2G.

In early 2017, the automaker began working with Newcastle University to create V2G charging points for National Grid. The project is ongoing, with the first 10 charging stations located at Newcastle’s Smart Grid Laboratory. The technology itself was born from another partnership between Nissan and Enel.

Nissan’s V2G R&D is now being implemented in a partnership with the UK government. In January 2018, it was announced that Nissan is working with the government to install 1,000 V2G charging points across the country over the next 3 years. The project is part of the Innovate UK program, and has received £9.8 million ($13.2 million) worth of funding from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles and the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategies. The project aims to determine whether customers have enough financially incentives to provide power back to the grid using their EVs, and whether any regulatory or policy changes are needed. Partners of the project include Nuvve, National Grid, UK Power Networks, and Northern Powergrid.

In April 2018, Bristol, England-based utility OVO Energy announced a new V2G charging station designed to sell surplus energy from EVs back to grid operators. The charger will have 6 kW of bidirectional capability, and was designed in partnership with Nissan. It is the first widely available charger of its kind, but is currently only available to Nissan LEAF customers. The stations will be used as part of the Innovate UK program.

Longer-term V2G programs are also being developed in the UK to develop large-scale, domestic V2G trials in the country. The PowerLoop consortium is one such program, and is developing a project that will install 135 V2G chargers. Over the course of 3 years, the project will collect data regarding cost reduction and gird support. The consortium includes Open Energi, Octopus Energy, UK Power Networks, ChargePoint, Energy Saving Trust, and Navigant.

The Larger Electrification Picture

The UK V2G demonstrations are part of a larger electrification effort throughout the country. For example, in January 2018, BP announced its investment in mobile charging unit provider FreeWire, which will run a fast charging research program in the UK. The country has also made a push to electrify its delivery fleet segment with a slew of programs, including a pilot with Nissan and BD Auto.

Reports of new EV-related programs in the UK seems to be a monthly occurrence now, with all signs pointing to a continued increase. Due to the number of V2G pilot programs and electrification programs, the UK is primed to hold onto its leading position in V2G innovation and technology expansion.


The Case for Electrified Delivery Fleets

— May 17, 2018

With the ever-growing global economy comes larger delivery fleets on the road, in the air, and on the seas. Short delivery times are expected by customers, thanks to shipping programs like Amazon Prime, but with more transport comes more pollution. In 2016, transportation made up 28% of US greenhouse gas emissions, and every package delivered to our doorstep represents a slew of emissions scattered throughout the supply chain.

The Emissions Case

To tackle growing emissions from the transportation sector, we will need to do more than electrify just the light duty vehicle segment. Delivery fleets, in particular medium duty vehicle fleets, may offer an optimal solution to curb emissions in the near term. In fact, to reduce emissions, new delivery alternatives like last mile logistics are being piloted to eliminate the need for a delivery truck to make multiple visits before actually delivering a package. Among these are Amazon Key and other home access options. These programs, in addition to electrifying delivery fleets, will aid in emissions reduction.

Due to the current battery size of Class 3-6 all-electric vehicle options (roughly 100 miles in range, for now), delivery fleets that make frequent stops throughout the day are primed for electric adoption. Class 3-6, or medium duty, vehicles range from 10,001 to 26,000 pounds. The electric delivery vehicles could be used during the day and charged at night, with no interruption to their driving patterns. With nighttime charging comes the potential to use wind energy to charge the vehicles, further reducing the emissions from the transportation sector and integrating renewables.

Workhorse All-Electric Walk-in Delivery Van

(Source: Green Car Reports)

The Cost Case

While electrified delivery fleets have many benefits, the lower cost of operation and maintenance over time helps make the economic case for these vehicles. According to one study, the average cost of gasoline over 300,000 miles at $3.00/gallon comes out to $150,000, while driving 300,000 miles on $0.12/kWh electricity would cost only $42,000. Electric delivery fleets require no oil or fuel filter changes and require fewer maintenance hours off the road, meaning the vehicles would be more reliably utilized. These factors help offset the initial heightened purchase price of electric medium duty vehicles (compared to internal combustion engine vehicles) and receive a ROI more quickly.

The Supply Case

Electric medium duty vehicles are slowly entering the US market (with companies such as Workhorse, Chanje, and Motiv), but are more prevalent across Europe and China. Several recent announcements indicate a larger variety of medium duty vehicles in the US market in the next 5 years. For example, in January 2018, Volvo announced it will sell battery electric delivery trucks in North America in 2020, following introduction in Europe next year. Given that supply constraints currently play a role in market actors’ electrification decisions, the increased market activity will likely spur electrification. Stakeholders—most notably utility companies—can also play a role in incentivizing delivery fleet electrification through subsidized vehicle costs, charging infrastructure incentives, or partnering with OEMs to electrify their own fleets. Stakeholder incentivization could help grow the demand and supply sides of the market, leading to more electrified delivery options and fewer transportation sector emissions.


Utilities, Regulators Push Forward on EV and Infrastructure Plans

— May 3, 2018

Across America, utilities are beginning to take advantage of EVs as an electricity asset by investing in charging infrastructure. There is new motivation to install charging infrastructure as EV sales increased by over 20% in 2017 from 2016, despite overall vehicle sales decreasing. Business models for these charging programs and pilots vary widely, from rate-basing investments to leasing charging infrastructure and having a customer-owned and operated model. With several options, expanding infrastructure programs in all states is becoming more feasible, and many utilities are taking advantage of this momentum.

State by State, Charging Is Expanding

Baltimore Gas and Electric, Potomac Electric Power Company, Delmarva Power, and Potomac Edison Company have submitted a petition to spend $104 million to support charging infrastructure in Maryland. The program would build out 2,400 charging stations across Maryland in residential, workplace, and public charging areas. The Maryland Public Service Commission is expected to make a decision on the petition in the next few months. The state wants to expand the number of EVs on its roads to 300,000 by 2025, and these new proposed charging stations are a key step toward reaching its goal.

In Missouri, Ameren has proposed an $18 million charging program known as Charge Ahead that would install about 1,200 charging plugs (about 600 stations) in its territory. If approved, Ameren will partner with third-party charging companies to install the stations near interstate highway corridors, workplaces, multifamily housing, and other public areas. The chargers would be a mix of DC fast charging and Level 2. Prices for charging at these stations will be determined by the third-party operator.

Eversource was part of a rate case in the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, part of which passed on November 30, 2017. As part of the order, the utility received the green-light to invest $45 million in charging infrastructure, which will mean installation of around 4,000 Level 2 charging plugs at businesses and 67 DC fast charging stations along major roadways. Under this program, Eversource will cover the cost of installation and—in disadvantaged communities—it will offer a rebate for partial cost of the charger.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio recently approved American Electric Power’s (AEP’s) Electric Security Plan (ESP). The ESP allows AEP to expand access to EV charging and other renewable generation to ensure grid reliability. As part of the program and other partnerships, site owners will be able to apply to AEP to recoup a portion of their initial EV supply equipment construction costs.

Utilities in the Lead

Given the continuing EV market momentum and Volkswagen diesel-gate state settlement funding for charging infrastructure via Electrify America, utilities are well positioned to continue expanding charging infrastructure and offering educational support for prospective EV buyers. Increasing charging stations will decrease customer concerns around charging availability and range anxiety, leading to more EV sales nationwide. As new utility charging programs are announced monthly, it seems the trend of utility involvement in charging infrastructure installations will likely continue to quell consumer charging fears and prompt EV adoption.


Premium Auto Brands Lead the Way to 200+ Mile BEVs

— February 22, 2018

In the race to create long-range battery EVs (BEVs), premium brands are taking the lead. Navigant Research projects over 6 million BEV sales globally by 2026. Because range anxiety is a leading deterrent of consumers looking to purchase an EV, increasing the range of BEVs will be crucial to expanding the market.

Over the past few years, several premium brands have announced they would bring to market BEVs with capabilities of at least 200 miles, with many pushing that number to over 300 miles of range. Apart from Tesla’s Model S and Model X, no premium automaker has released these long-range BEVs. However, 2018 is anticipated to be the year we start to see these new models come to market.

Premium Automaker Electric Promises

The following timeline showcases the increase in announced/expected premium brand long-range BEVs:

Announced Premium Brand 200 + Mile Range BEVs

(Source: Navigant Research)

Audi and Jaguar will likely continue Tesla’s long-range trend in 2018 with the crossover style Jaguar i-Pace and Audi’s SUV e-tron Quattro. The i-Pace is expected to have a range of 220 miles, while the e-tron Quattro will have around 300 miles of range. Audi is also expected to release another all-electric SUV by 2019, along with Aston Martin’s RapidE, Mercedes Benz’s Concept EQ, Porsche’s Mission E, and the Fisker EMotion. Looking to 2020 and beyond, BMW, Tesla, Infinti, and Volvo are all anticipated to release long-range BEVs—in Tesla’s case, the revamped Roadster with 600 miles of range (and a hefty price tag).

Premium brand commitments to electrification comes in more than just the form of single vehicle announcements. Volvo, Aston Martin, and Jaguar Land Rover have announced plans to go all electric or hybrid over the next decade, with Volvo promising this lineup by 2019. In 2017, Porsche installed its first 350 kW charging station at its Berlin office. The ultrafast charger is being developed for the Mission E to allow customers to recharge quickly.

Affordable, Long-Range Vehicles Not Far Behind

More details of these long-range vehicles will be unveiled closer to the release dates, but it is already clear that premium automakers are committing to an electric future. As with many consumer markets, premium and luxury automakers are often early adopters of trends and technologies that are later picked up by economy brands.

While these premium brand long-range BEVs will have a hold of the market for the time being, economy brands like Ford and Hyundai are announcing their own long-range BEVs, which will likely have a substantially lower price tag. Some premium brands, like Tesla, have begun offering less expensive electric models to meet this demand for non-luxury long-range BEVs and to compete in both market segments. If automakers stick to their electric promises and all begin producing EVs, we will continue to reduce emissions from the transportation sector and move toward a greener, cleaner future.


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