Can UK Powergrid Handle Expected EV Surge?

Mon 22nd Feb 2021

With the nation committed to a 2030 date for banning all new petrol and diesel cars, there is likely to be increased pressure on the power infrastructure, with questions asked whether it will cope?

However, one of the National Grid’s leading experts on how the UK will cope with millions of cars plugging in at peak times has said that he has no worries about the surge in demand on the network.

Graeme Cooper, Project Director for transport decarbonisation at the National Grid has moved to allay in worries that there might be blackouts in the grid. Suggesting that the network will have more capacity in ten years time due to sustainable energy options such as wind and solar.

“By 2030, we will have 40Gw of offshore wind power in the UK, which is an additional 30Gw compared to today. We will need more smart consumption to support that, but the energy market will grow, because we’re electrifying more things, such as cars,” said Cooper at an Autocar live event this week.

“The government has a policy to ensure high-power on-route charging and has put £950 million of funding in place to make sure that every motorway service area in England will have adequate future-proof capacity for everyone to have clean transport.

“You need the comfort that you can charge on route at speed, so the challenge is the grid. The government has put funding aside and a policy in place. You’ll start to see future proof capacity going into motorway service areas in the next two or three years, in plenty of time for a hockey-stick uptake in electric car sales.”

The question remains, will the uptake on electric vehicles be as sharp as the government hopes? Cooper believes that some of the current limitations on purchasing, such as lack of a home charging point, is unlikely to halt demand, saying: “I would ask 'do they have a petrol pump on the street outside their house?' They will see lots of opportunities coming out, such as lamp-post chargers.”