A new ap­proach to elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of trans­port is re­quired, says Jean-Pas­cal Tri­coire, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Sch­nei­der Elec­tric

Utilities Middle East - - FROM THE EXPERT -

Elec­tric mo­bil­ity is widely seen to­day as a way to im­prove air qual­ity and meet cli­mate goals, but rarely is it in­te­grated in a com­pre­hen­sive vi­sion for smarter cities. EVs con­tinue to be as­so­ci­ated to tra­di­tional own­er­ship and use mod­els, and still con­sid­ered as just cars: the in­no­va­tive uses and ser­vices as­so­ci­ated to bat­ter­ies or to the in­te­gra­tion with smart build­ings are ig­nored or at least not enough ex­plored. Charg­ing sta­tions are still de­vel­oped with lim­ited or no con­sid­er­a­tion of the en­ergy is­sues, or not ex­ploit­ing enough dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, over-com­pli­cat­ing the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. Their lo­ca­tion will also in­evitably change with the tran­si­tion to shared and au­ton­o­mous mo­bil­ity. “Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles for Smarter Cities: The Fu­ture of En­ergy and Mo­bil­ity”, a re­port from The World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, de­vel­oped in co­op­er­a­tion with Bain & Com­pany, sug­gests fol­low­ing three gen­eral prin­ci­ples: The in­vest­ment and in­fra­struc­ture re­quired to sup­port elec­tric mo­bil­ity will vary sig­nif­i­cantly from one place to an­other. Any roadmap to elec­tric mo­bil­ity should be adapted to three main char­ac­ter­is­tics of the spe­cific mar­ket: lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture and de­sign; en­ergy sys­tem; and mo­bil­ity cul­ture and pat­terns. All rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers should be en­gaged to col­lec­tively de­fine a new par­a­digm for cities that go be­yond the to­day’s in­dus­try di­vi­sions, in search for com­ple­men­tary mu­nic­i­pal, re­gional, and na­tional poli­cies. Elec­tric taxis and pub­lic trans­porta­tion will have a great im­pact in re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions. These types of ve­hi­cles are driven far more than per­sonal-use ve­hi­cles, so com­mer­cial and pub­lic EV fleet de­vel­op­ment should be en­cour­aged. For ex­am­ple, Sch­nei­der Elec­tric and BMW are part of a con­sor­tium of com­pa­nies in Bangkok that is part­ner­ing with King Mongkut’s Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy Thon­buri to spur the use of elec­tric ve­hi­cles across Thailand, ini­tially through car shar­ing and a cam­pus-based elec­tric bus. EV charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture should be de­vel­oped along high­ways, at des­ti­na­tion points, and close to pub­lic trans­porta­tion nodes. This is crit­i­cal for three rea­sons: first, to keep pace with cur­rent de­mand. Sec­ond, to ad­dress range anx­i­ety is­sues by mak­ing charg­ing sta­tions ac­ces­si­ble, con­ve­nient, and easy to lo­cate. And, lastly, to pro­mote the adop­tion of EVs in com­mer­cial and pri­vate mar­kets. In Hong Kong, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment in­cen­tivises EV in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ers by al­low­ing them to in­te­grate Oc­to­pus, a pop­u­lar smart pay­ment sys­tem also used to ac­cess pub­lic trans­porta­tion. This gives EV driv­ers a con­ve­nient and fa­mil­iar way to pur­chase en­ergy, and aims to en­cour­age more peo­ple to drive EVs by en­sur­ing the avail­abil­ity of a net­work of pub­lic charg­ing sta­tions. The in­fra­struc­ture should be de­ployed in com­bi­na­tion with grid edge tech­nolo­gies — such as de­cen­tral­ized gen­er­a­tion, stor­age, and smart build­ings — and in­te­grated in smart grids, while at the same time of­fer­ing a dig­i­tal end-to-end cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. This will mag­nify the ben­e­fits of grid edge tech­nolo­gies: in­creas­ing re­li­a­bil­ity, re­silience, ef­fi­ciency, and as­set util­i­sa­tion of the over­all sys­tem; re­duc­ing CO2 emis­sions; cre­at­ing new ser­vices for cus­tomers; and cre­at­ing new jobs. EVs can be used as a de­cen­tralised en­ergy re­source and pro­vide new, con­trol­lable stor­age ca­pac­ity and elec­tric­ity sup­ply that is use­ful for the sta­bil­ity of the en­ergy sys­tem. In mar­kets where reg­u­la­tion al­lows EVs to be used as a source of flex­i­bil­ity, en­ergy play­ers start bet­ting on this vi­sion, with cars work­ing as “bat­ter­ies on wheels.” For ex­am­ple, in a pi­lot project in Den­mark, Enel and Nis­san set up the first ve­hi­cle-to-grid (V2G) com­mer­cial hub: by sell­ing fre­quency reg­u­la­tion ser­vices for sys­tem bal­anc­ing pur­poses to the Dan­ish trans­mis­sion sys­tem op­er­a­tor (TSO), a car can gen­er­ate around €1,500 in an­nual rev­enue. New busi­ness mod­els are pos­si­ble, where the driv­ers and fleet op­er­a­tors of EVs could play as pro­ducer-con­sumers of en­ergy ser­vices, such as ve­hi­cle-to-ev­ery­thing (V2x) and smart charg­ing. These new en­ergy ser­vices will cre­ate ad­di­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for rev­enue shar­ing be­tween the ve­hi­cle own­ers and the en­ergy sup­pli­ers that would re­duce the to­tal cost of own­er­ship of the EVs and ac­cel­er­ate their mar­ket pen­e­tra­tion. The trans­for­ma­tions hap­pen­ing in the fields of en­ergy and mo­bil­ity are in­evitable, in­flu­enced by mar­ket fac­tors and mega­trends that are vir­tu­ally un­stop­pable. Their con­ver­gence is the op­por­tu­nity. Busi­nesses have the chance to spear­head it in cities. Pol­i­cy­mak­ers have the power to pro­mote in­no­va­tion and new ways of think­ing in lo­cal gov­ern­ments that will make it pos­si­ble. On both fronts, the con­ver­gence of en­ergy and mo­bil­ity must be strate­gic, in­ten­tional, and guided, if cities and cit­i­zens are to re­ceive the max­i­mum ben­e­fits.

Jean-Pas­cal Tri­coire CEO, Sch­nei­der Elec­tric

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