Electric cars are the key to the green revolution
On the journey to a zero-emission economy, electric cars will be playing an important role in reducing emissions from the transport sector, but also in ensuring security of electricity supply and enabling more renewable energy in the energy system.
- Two-way charging allows the owner to use electric car batteries usefully and safely as a public energy reserve
- The role of owners of electric cars and other large electrical appliances in our energy system and supply is becoming extremely important
- Owning an electric car will become even cheaper in the future thanks to the wise use of batteries
- Enefit Volt already offers smart charging solutions for both home and business customers
The most noticeable effect of electric cars on the environment is the lack of exhaust gases, but in the coming years it will impact people’s wallets in addition to providing cleaner city air. While we are used to the fact that when charging a battery, electricity enters the battery from the charger and it can only be discharged when the battery power is consumed, then two-way charging technology allows the owners to use the powerful batteries of modern electric cars beneficially and safely as our social energy reserve.
Electric car batteries are becoming part of the energy system
According to Margus Vals, Member of the Management Board of Eesti Energia, electric cars are important not only in the transport sector but also in the implementation of the green revolution as a whole.
“The batteries of today's mid-range electric cars hold the amount of energy that an average family consumes in a week. Two-way charging allows some of this energy to be used when there is little cheap renewable electricity in the network and thus earn additional income for the car owner,” Vals said. “It is clear that the number of electric cars and therefore the amount of large batteries will increase exponentially in the coming years. From the point of view of society as a whole, it makes sense to use these batteries as part of the energy system, because otherwise we would have to make huge investments in the power network and install huge and expensive batteries to stabilize the non-steerable wind and solar energy production for the entire system of electricity.”
The production of additional batteries would also place an additional burden on the environment, since twice as much minerals would also have to be mined and energy spent on the production, transport and maintenance of the batteries. Two-way charging has been made possible by the maturation of the technology over the last ten years, during which the capacity of the batteries has increased, the price has decreased and technology has been developed that allows them to be used in two directions without any effect on battery life.
Two-way charging capability for all Volkswagen Group cars
Toomas Pärna, Manager of Audi Tallinn, confirmed that the automotive world is moving towards two-way charging, a clear example of which is the decision of the Volkswagen Group in April to equip all their new cars to be manufactured with two-way charging technology. This means that the Volkswagen, Škoda, Audi, Seat and Porsche vehicles completed in 2022 will be ready for the future.
“The Volkswagen Group decided to solve a dilemma in the field of electric cars and not to wait for the implementation of two-way charging in common practice, the legislation and other related issues. All electric cars leaving the factory from 2022 will be able to operate as part of the power network, and as the possibility arises, they will be able to earn additional income for the owner,” Pärna said.
Two-way charging will not be a daily occurrence for Estonians in the distant future but already in four or five years, because when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania join the Central European power network, the three countries will have to deal with short-term stabilization of their electrical systems on their own as this has been provided by Russia so far.
The role of the owners of electric cars and other large electrical equipment in our energy system and in ensuring security of supply is becoming extremely important, because the alternative is to buy and maintain at least as large a battery fleet,” Vals noted. “We are all seeing what energy prices are doing these days. Our task at Eesti Energia is to develop affordable solutions for consumers. Owning an electric car will become even more affordable in the future due to the fact that batteries will be used wisely.”
Forecast: 100% electric cars sold in 2030
Electric cars become important for the power network already when they account for 5-10 percent of all vehicles. Although the number of electric cars has not reached one percent yet, the future is theirs, according to Toomas Pärna.
“It is safe to say that electric cars have come to stay, irreversibly,” Pärna confirmed. “Car manufacturers currently forecast that by 2025, the production and sale of electric cars will account for at least 50% of the total market, and it will be 100% in 2030. Irreversible changes are taking place in the current decade. Electric engines are more efficient than internal combustion engines, and given the climate requirements and international agreements, this process cannot be reversed.”
As for the launch of new models, Audi alone will be adding 20 new electric car models in the next four years. Pärna pointed out that all major car manufacturers were investing hundreds of billions in the development of electric cars.
“The turn towards clean transport is happening faster than we can imagine. While a total of 19,000 new cars were sold in Estonia over the first 9 months of this year, sales of electric cars accounted for only 1.97%, but it is growing strongly,” Pärna illustrated.
As electric cars are becoming more accessible, charging options are evolving at high speeds as well. If installing a charger in a private house or office is a familiar path, then from this autumn, Enefit Volt has also been providing smart solutions for apartment buildings. Apartment associations can create a charging readiness at reasonable expenses, meeting both current and future needs. More information about charging solutions for apartment associations is available on the Enefit Volt website.