EV Adoption – Why the Answer is in French Cheese

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) deal that went live in February may well turn out to be one of the biggest drivers of EV adoption – if you believe in the two following assumptions:

  1. EV adoption is primarily restrained by supply, not demand – I suggest that you spend 5 minutes with any Nissan Leaf salesman and you’ll be on-board with this.
  2.  EV supply will be dominated by Asian suppliers – I suggest that you spend 5 mins looking at current Japanese and Chinese production numbers and you’ll be on board with this also.

So, anything that fundamentally improves the supply of the EVs will dramatically increase adoption.

What the EPA does is balance Japan’s love of French cheese with our love of Japanese cars by removing the Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) from both (along with other products and services). A TRQ is the standard ratcheting system that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) uses to enable open trading between countries.
Crucially, its mechanism favours the exporting of high margin products – and as most EVs are low margin they are not encouraged. With the TRQ effectively gone, Japan will be encouraged to export as many EVs as it can build. We will buy them whenever we want, and adoption will surge as supply rises to match widespread demand.

This should mean that everything is fine, right? Well, it would be if it weren’t for two key challenges:

  1. The TRQs on cars will be tapered over 7 years, so the impact is buffered.
  2. Brexit. Assuming Brexit goes through, HM Government will have the unenviable choice of either trying to mirror the EPA, improving our environment but damaging our EV industry, OR putting back-up the trade barriers thereby protecting the UK’s EV industry, but slowing down EV adoption and guaranteeing additional investment requirements.


Article originally published on 04/03/2019 by Ben Allan via LinkedIn.

Will Home Battery Storage Kill-off V2G Before it Even Starts?

Vehicle to Grid (V2G) is a great concept. We could balance the increasing strains on the electricity network, not by building more expensive infrastructure, but by using the batteries that we already have in our electric vehicles (EVs). Only that might not make much sense, and there may be a much better solution available today.

The V2G model requires vehicles to load and unload at times convenient for the networkThat is, lots of spare capacity during the day to absorb electricity from solar panels and then full batteries in the evening to discharge to the network to reduce demand.

The trouble is business, and occasional drivers don’t match this profile. Their vehicles are full and empty at the wrong times and it will require careful planning to contribute – not something we can expect from most drivers. In addition, the chargers are expensive, the billing complex and the alignment to network hotspots is difficult.

What really might kill off V2G is home battery storage, as we are really close to a 5-6 year payoff period. This does require some assumptions:

  • An installed 20kWh battery needs to be around £6,000 – currently, a 13.5kWh battery costs about £6,500 but these costs have dropped 80% in the last 5 years, so this isn’t far away.
  • The peak / off-peak variance needs to be 15p per kWh – at the moment it is closer to 10 -11p however, the combination of strong upward pressure on peak electricity costs and the impact of innovative time based off-peak charging means that 15p variance is closer than many think.

Once home batteries become financially attractive than their other 2 key properties really start to make an impact – their fixed location and when they run out of power, nothing stops.

As home batteries don’t move they can be relied upon to make consistent impacts on an electricity network, and with the right incentivisation, networks can be strengthened quickly and cheaply at specific risk areas.

When home batteries are drained, the normal network seamlessly takes over – no cars stop, no-one is stranded. This means that with smart responsive billing, a home battery can become an incredibly flexible resource at all hours of the day.

So what should we put our future bets on? The thing that no-one has quite worked out how to make happen, or the thing that we are all most probably going to buy anyway?

Article originally published by Ben Allan on 27/02/2019 via LinkedIn.