The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) will facilitate the government’s new Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, which was announced as a part of the Road to Zero strategy.

Plans for the taskforce were discussed yesterday (11 September) at the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham, which was attended by the prime minister.

An expected growth in the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in vehicles over the coming years is expected to create challenges, as well as opportunities, for the rapidly evolving UK electricity supply system.

The objective of the taskforce is to “put engaging the electric vehicle user at the heart of preparing the electricity system for the mass take up of EVs”. It aims to ensure that costs and emissions are as low as possible, and opportunities for vehicles to provide grid services are capitalised upon for the benefit of the system, energy bill payers and electric vehicle owners.

Members of the taskforce include Ofgem, National Grid, Energy UK and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

For the first time the taskforce will bring together both the energy and automotive industries to plan for the changes that will take place as a result of rising electric vehicle use. It will be chaired by Phil New, chief executive of the Energy Systems Catapult.

New said: “Ensuring the electricity system captures the benefits from the rapid expansion of electric vehicles is a critical challenge for both the transport and energy sectors.

“Working with industry, Energy Systems Catapult technical expertise will help ensure the whole energy system – from charging points to how we balance the grid – works to make life straightforward for energy consumers and EV drivers.”

Electric vehicles made up 8 per cent of the 94,000 cars purchased during August. Their share of total sales grew by 2.8 percentage points year-on-year to reach its highest level ever.

The Road to Zero strategy, announced in July, confirmed the government’s commitment for all new cars and vans to be zero emission vehicles by 2040. The majority of these vehicles are expected to be fully or partly electrified.

Meanwhile the rollout of smart meters and EV charging infrastructure will, offer opportunities for the energy sector to work with consumers to level off electricity demand, the LowCVP said.

By 2050 it is expected the UK will be powered by low, or zero, carbon electricity generation and, increasingly, by distributed renewable sources.

Due to the intermittent nature of renewable generation – providing surpluses at some times of the day and deficits at others – creates a need and a significant business opportunity for new energy storage solutions.

The batteries in electric vehicles (as well as those in “second life”) could provide a key missing link in the UK’s future energy supply mix, according to the LowCVP.

Andy Eastlake, LowCVP’s managing director, said: “The Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce is a major initiative as we stand on the brink of dual transformations in the ways we generate and supply electricity and in the energy we use for transport.

“The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership will bring its considerable experience and expertise in facilitating multi-stakeholder agreements to help tackle this issue – one of the biggest challenges and greatest industrial opportunities of our time.”

The LowCVP was established in 2003 and is a public-private partnership that exists to accelerate a sustainable shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels and create opportunities for UK business.

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