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That’s the claim made by European electricity lobby group Eurelectric, which published a paper on 24 March entitled Smart Charging: steering the charge, driving the change. It suggests that if motorists with e-cars are given discounts for charging their vehicles at times when demand for electricity is lower than at peak hours, it could maximise existing power generation and also potential for renewable energy, helping to decarbonise road transport.
Eurelectric’s paper recommends that the EU should promote a pricing structure that would encourage e-vehicle owners to charge them off-peak, thereby levelling out demand ‘spikes’ and offering a storage solution for the increasing amounts of intermittent renewable energy in the system. If the potential is maximised, the paper says consumers could save up to 23% of the ‘total cost of ownership’ of an electric car. This would achieve additional annual savings of €1.86 billion by 2050 as a result of avoided costs on CO2 emissions.
Eurelectric, which represents around 3,500 power companies, also wants the EU to set targets for the number of e-vehicles in public fleets and for recharging points, in order to accelerate the take-up of electric transport. It wants ‘ambitious’ targets for recharging points for 2020, and recommends that 30% of the fleets of local, regional and national authorities should be electrically powered.
Europe’s current road transport fleet accounts for around 33% of total energy consumption, whereas if all road vehicles were electric, the energy requirement would fall to 14% of the total.