12 July 2018

There could be 36 million electric vehicles on Britain’s roads by 2040

The growth in electric vehicles goes hand-in-hand with reducing the carbon intensity of Britain’s economy.

And it’s fair to say that the company which runs Britain’s intricate energy network sees a bright future for EVs.

National Grid’s latest Future Energy Scenarios report details the evolving nature of Britain’s energy mix and the disruptive role that decarbonisation is playing on the system.

The document is the latest report to highlight the technology’s potential to positively transform our way of life. Under one of its ambitious scenarios, there could be 11 million new electric vehicles by 2030 and a further 36 million by 2040. This is equal to the number of all cars currently on the road, and a considerable increase on the modest 150,000 number of ultra-low emission vehicles.

While millions more EVs on the streets will do wonders for air pollution and climate change, it will inevitably mean a spike in electricity demand. National Grid argues that this could see a comparatively modest rise of 8 gigawatts by 2040, if consumers charge their vehicles at the different times and harness the benefits of new ‘vehicle-to-grid’ technology. This innovation allows EVs to feed electricity stored inside their batteries back to the grid when they aren’t being used.

Fintan Slye, Director at National Grid, said: “The continued growth in electric vehicles, a greater volume of low carbon generation and the advancement of storage technology, are among the major trends that have emerged from this year’s report…This means balancing energy supply and demand will become increasingly complex between now and 2050.”

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “As we move towards a low carbon economy, we want to position the UK as a leader in clean and efficient power for transport and heating. Earlier this week we announced significant investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including £30 million R&D investment in smart charging points.”

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