Good Energy Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Randall Bowen, outlines how electric vehicles can play a key enabling role in a cleaner economy, and what businesses planning their transition should consider now.
In the fight against climate change, electric vehicles “are the next battleground,” says Dr. Randall Bowen, Chief Commercial Officer at Good Energy.
But, he says, EVs are also the enabler for whole-system decarbonisation, providing a network of distributed flexibility for an economy that will be primarily powered by renewables.
Electric vehicles, says Bowen, can not only take power when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, but also give back power when the system is short.
While there are technical and commercial challenges to enable electric vehicles to become bi-directional power sources, Good Energy and others, including National Grid and a growing number of carmakers, are working towards a vehicle-to-grid future.
Demand picking up
Bowen says the first step is to collaborate with customers to help drive that shift through Good Energy’s EV charge point for businesses solution, One Point. As the name implies, One Point covers everything EV under one roof.
While the business works to install charge points with its partners RAW Charging and Swarco eVolt, he underlines that the approach is “technology agnostic, which means we can focus on providing businesses with the best EV charge point solution for them, in order to be ready for what is coming”.
Because Good Energy customers “have already bought into the climate challenge and the urgent need to tackle it,” Bowen says it makes sense for the company to focus efforts on existing customers. While demand is increasing across business verticals, he suggests the hotel and leisure sector appears is leading the charge.
While some businesses within leisure and retail sectors will likely provide free EV charging as a way to attract customers, in the medium term it also presents a revenue stream as EV penetration increases. In that regard, Good Energy’s investment in Zap-Map, which can direct EV drivers to charging points along their route, will help drive footfall – literally putting businesses on the map.
“So now is the time to consider and act,” suggests Bowen.
Smart charging: Shift happening
Smart charging delivers multiple benefits: lowering charging costs to owners, reducing stress on the local and national power networks and enabling people to charge when clean energy is most abundant.
“Smart charging will revolutionise many things,” suggests Bowen, especially when the smart meter rollout is complete. When that happens, and everyone is billed for their power on a half-hourly basis, there will be a strong incentive for people to react to larger price differentials, or time of use tariffs.
The cost of smart chargers is more than ‘dumb’ chargers, which Bowen says can be a “pinch point”. However, he says smart chargers will ultimately become ubiquitous, so that grids are not overloaded and EV drivers are incentivised to help – rather than hinder – the power system.
If businesses do one thing…
The UK’s transition to electric vehicles is pointless without renewable power. As such, Bowen urges all businesses to switch to 100 per cent renewable power.
In tandem, he encourages people to “really understand energy consumption and examine all ways to reduce demand. That will help us reduce the overall cost of decarbonisation – and come out of the current situation in better shape”.
Where to start: Key considerations
For businesses considering EV charging infrastructure, Bowen outlines a checklist:
Numbers: how many chargers you will need?
Location: where will you put the chargers?
Dwell time: which determines the required speed of chargers.
Grid capacity: are there constraints and cost implications?
Billing and metering: do you want to charge employees/visitors and if so, how much?
Control: choosing the right software package to optimise multiple car charging and flexibility.
To discover how One Point can benefit your business, visit goodenergy.co.uk/onepoint
Free report: EVs and charging infrastructure for businesses
To learn more about EVs, charging infrastructure, and how other businesses are tackling the road ahead, download your free copy of Good Energy’s latest EV white paper here.