Challenges facing EV deployment in 2019

Impact of millions of vehicles charging simultaneously on the electric power grid, and the timing of such events

Especially impact on transformer life. There are currently 275.1 million vehicles on U.S. roads, of which only 800,000 are EVs. But within the next 30 years, some automotive industry experts expect EVs could make up the majority of U.S. and global car sales. California might require nearly 50 % more electricity than it currently consumes if passenger vehicles in the state were fully electrified. That means California would need to generate an additional 120 terawatt-hours of electricity per year.

110 more terawatt-hours of electricity per year in the case of Texas—the average annual electricity consumption of 11 million homes. The spare capacity during off-peak hours — on hot summer afternoons, Texas uses about half of the electricity it generates to keep buildings cool — could make it easier for Texas to meet future electricity demands of EVs.

California’s more temperate climate means the Golden State needs less electricity on summer days, and less demand variability on the grid overall.

Many US regions already have sufficient generation capacity if vehicles are charged during off-peak hours.

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Shorter life of EVs, as a result of a battery lifespan (less than 10 years)

Significant battery degradation begins at five years. Battery replacements could potentially cost a high multiple of the current value of the car itself, whereas the average ICE vehicle lasts 16 years.

Some market analysts expect EVs to be cheaper than conventional vehicles by 2026.

Policy turnarounds and patchy EV charger infrastructure deployment

According to May 2018 estimates, California needed 229,000 to 279,000 chargers in public locations and multi-unit dwellings to accommodate 1.3 million EVs. This range did not account for chargers at single-family homes.

55% of the charging stations that were supposed to be constructed by March 2017 as part of the Electric Vehicle Chargers Ontario program, a 2016 Liberal program to spend $20 million on a network of 500 EV charging stations across the Canadian province, have been built and, reportedly, these charging stations frequently sit unused, the government lacks the capacity to track how often or whether they are used and — some users complain — those chargers in service are frequently broken and in disrepair.

For 2018, the total EV sales in Canada may exceed the previous three years combined. By the end of the third quarter of 2018, there were 34,357 total Canadian EV sales (as opposed to 2017’s total 19,200 sales): 17,700 PHEVs and 16,657 BEVs. British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario are EV sales leaders — each experienced over a 100% increase in EV sales compared with the same quarter in 2017.

Since Texas and California consume more electricity than any other US states, they provide a good snapshot of what a future filled with electric vehicles might look like. California has less generation capacity available than Texas to meet future charging demands from electric vehicles. The Texas grid could theoretically charge a fully electrified personal vehicle fleet today if EVs were charged during off-peak hours, with charging requirements being some 290 gigawatt-hours per day.

As of July 11, 2018, Ontario’s Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program — providing pricing breaks to consumers if they bought an electric vehicle — was terminated by the new provincial government in Canada.

Canadian federal government committed over $180 million to support electric and alternative fuel infrastructure across Canada to expand the coast-to-coast network of EV fast chargers on the national highway system. But the federal elections in fall 2019 may alter that policy just like what happened in Ontario.

EV charging infrastructure in Africa still rudimentary, as well as overall EV adoption

Some two million new vehicles were registered last year in Africa, a continent of almost two billion people, with 70% of the market split between South Africa, Algeria, and Egypt.

According to Clean Technica, EVs landed in South Africa in 2014 with the Nissan Leaf. BMW arrived one year later, introducing its i3 & i8 models. While the Leaf hasn’t really caught on, delivering 43 units in its best year (2014), both of BMW’s i models have been delivered in relatively significant volumes, with the total figure now being some 600 units.

Jaguar has invested $2 million in a public EV charging network of 82 EV stations co-developed with a South African EV charging service provider, Grid Cars, that will cover such major routes as Johannesburg–Durban and Johannesburg–Cape Town. In South Africa, BMW service centers host EV charging stations, and some large shopping centers have EV facilities.

The total number of plug-ins in Madagascar is said to be at over 40 units. 2017 saw the installation of EV charging infrastructure at Total gas stations.

Nopia, a ride-sharing service, aims to expand its fleet in Kenya to about 1,500 EVs by the end of 2021.