Batteries on wheels: the role of battery electric cars in the EU power system and beyond

June 4, 2019

Electrifying cars, vans, buses and trucks using rechargeable lithium-ion batteries offers an effective, scalable and, if combined with renewable power, zero emission solution for transport; Europe’s biggest climate problem. T&E has partnered with Enel, Iberdrola and Renault-Nissan to commission a report from Element Energy to understand the opportunities offered by electric vehicle integration, and how to turn these “batteries on wheels” into an asset, rather than a problem. 

European carmakers have jointly committed more than €130 billion to electrification in the coming years. This is a positive development, but if the rollout of electric vehicles is not properly managed – via uncontrolled grid connections or unsustainable use and sourcing of materials – challenges will arise, reducing the environmental benefits and creating new problems.

The report, published alongside T&E’s briefing:

• estimates the expected uptake of EVs and the volumes of batteries available for grid services during the vehicle life, as well as second-life applications and recycling at the end of vehicle life;

• studies the impact of EV integration on EU grids and renewables penetration, with case studies of France, Spain, Italy and the UK;

• analyses the economics around innovative second-life applications of batteries and presents a number of promising case studies; and

• assesses challenges and opportunities around battery recycling, as well as what is needed to spur circular economy markets in Europe.

T&E’s short briefing accompanies the Element Energy report; it provides additional analysis and policy recommendations in view of the new European Commission and upcoming legislative opportunities.


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