The upcoming 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars will transform UK motoring on a scale never seen before. This story is part of a wider analysis of the challenges faced by consumers, government and the automotive industry, what needs to happen, and how such drastic changes can be achieved over the next decade.
Read the rest of this series here: Countdown to year zero - what needs to happen by 2030?
There’s no doubt we will need extra power; it’s hardly a controversial statement to say that more electric cars will necessitate more electricity to power them. In broad terms, and focusing on just EVs, the National Grid is estimating that we will need around 100 terawatt-hours if we electrified all the cars on the road today. “Total demand for the country is around 300TWh at the moment, so you’re looking at an additional third,” according to Russell Fowler, senior project manager at the National Grid. “That would be all of transport being decarbonised. Of course, that’s not going to happen overnight – more like the next 15, 20 years or so. But that’s our estimation of what we can see electrifying credibly.”
With this figure, Fowler is careful to talk about just cars and vans. He sees those as attainable right now, whereas a full roll-out of electric lorries is more up for debate.
Still, a third more power just for cars and vans sounds like a lot. But as with most questions regarding national infrastructure, there’s far more to it than a single, simple number. For starters, remember that in the macro world of national infrastructure, electricity is just one part of the energy matrix. Oil usage in transport will fall dramatically, so the overall energy requirements of the UK will be lower.
That’s why people like Fowler aren’t too worried about the figures we’re talking about: looking at the bigger picture, they think we’re covered.