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EV charging on both sides of the pond

What can the U.S. learn from EV charging in Europe and vice versa?

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Published
November 30, 2023
Listen to the episode on:
Catalyst podcast by Latitude Media
Catalyst podcast by Latitude Media

For those of us in the U.S., Europe’s strong electric vehicle market might offer a glimpse into the future of EV charging. In 2022, nearly 80% of new cars sold in Norway were EVs, which now make up around 21% of the country’s vehicle stock. Germany has Europe’s largest EV fleet and led the EU in the number of new EVs registered in 2022, landing at nearly 360,000, based on reporting by Euronews.

So it stands to reason that these countries must have insights into how to get all these vehicles charged. And Europe does indeed have a lot to teach the U.S. — but it turns out the lessons might actually go both ways.

In this episode, Shayle talks to Nick Woolley, CEO and co-founder of charging management company ev.energy, which operates in both the U.S. and Europe. (Shayle’s firm Energy Impact Partners is an investor in ev.energy.)

They discuss topics including:

  • EV adoption rates and charging patterns by region.
  • Europe’s fragmented charging networks and unique roaming programs that facilitate interoperability.
  • The differences between customers who have off-street parking and their own charging infrastructure, and those who instead have to scavenge for charging.
  • The pros and cons of Europe’s unbundled electricity markets compared with vertically integrated markets in the U.S.
  • Carrots, sticks and compliance for managed or smart charging, also known as V1G.
  • The challenges of implementing vehicle-to-grid charging (V2G).

Recommended resources:

  • Catalyst: Can the V2X dream become reality?
  • Catalyst: The journey to monetizing distributed energy resources
Listen to the episode on:

Transcript

Speaker 2: From the studios of Latitude Media and Canary Media.

Shayle Kann: I'm Shayle Kann and this is Catalyst. It's sort of easier to extract the full value from managed charging in a vertically integrated market like investor owned utilities are mostly in the US versus in Europe. Do you think that's true?

Nick Woolley: So yeah, I do actually. I think it is an advantage because what you do is you create clear line of sight all the way through to the value that's created.

Shayle Kann: So you get home, you sit back, you plug in your electric vehicle into your home charger, and it seamlessly integrates with the needs of the grid to deliver you both savings and reliability along with clean power. Are you more likely to be in North America or in Europe? I'm Shayle Kann. I invest in revolutionary climate technologies at Energy Impact Partners. Welcome.

So we at EIP are a global investment firm and for me, one of the more interesting benefits of that geographic reach is to be able to compare how markets are developing across countries and regions for the technologies that we care about. And one market where I think that's especially interesting is in electric vehicles and particularly electric vehicle charging.

From my vantage point in the United States, I sometimes look across the pond at Europe and especially certain countries in Europe like Norway and maybe see a window into the future. Some of them have much higher adoption rates of electric vehicles, which means they must have already answered all the questions we're going to face around grid interaction and managed charging, maybe even vehicle to grid. Right? Right?

But no, obviously it's never as simple as that. And interestingly, there are a lot of similarities between what's going on in Europe and what's going on in North America with EV charging, and I think both regions also have things to learn from each other as the market develops.

So I wanted to do some cross Atlantic comparison. Nick Woolley, our guest today is just the right person to help with that. His company, ev.energy where for full disclosure, EIP is an investor, is based in the UK but is active in helping utilities and retailers plan, manage charging programs both throughout Europe and in United States. So he sees both sides. With no further ado, here's Nick. Nick, welcome.

Nick Woolley: Delighted to be here, Shayle. Thanks for having me.

Shayle Kann: Let's talk about EV charging on both sides of the Atlantic. And you have visibility into both, which is what I'm excited to talk to you about. Let's start high level. What have you seen in terms of patterns of both EV adoption and I guess in particular charging patterns in Europe versus North America?

Nick Woolley: Yeah. Yeah, awesome. Let's dig in. So across Europe and North America, the interesting thing about both markets is they're roughly, roughly the same size, roughly, roughly, in terms of populations, in terms of numbers of vehicles on the road, in terms of numbers of utilities as well actually. So there's about, in Europe, Europe has traditionally been slightly ahead in terms of battery electric vehicle roll outs.

So there's about eight million vehicles, eight million plugin vehicles in the European market right now. And over 50% now are battery electric. And in the US it's around four and a half million. And again, over 50% now are battery electric. So across both those markets, we're seeing the shift towards fully battery electric vehicles and away from this concept of plugin hybrid vehicles. So that's one big shift.

In terms of electric vehicle charging, there's a lot of charging happening at home. That is the dominant place where people charge. That is common to both markets. The utilities themselves that are plugging in and powering the energy, roughly the market is about 150 utilities that serve around a hundred thousand residential customers. So again, roughly similar sizes in both of those markets.

Some of the key differences though, in terms of charging infrastructure, the networks tend to be much more concentrated in the United States, so we have big networks that span across the entirety of the US versus in Europe there is huge fragmentation.

If you go somewhere like Germany, there are literally hundreds of different charging networks you can plug into and that's created models like roaming that span above all of those charging networks. But the UK is more similar to the US, has a concentrated network of charging infrastructure. So some differences, a lot of similarities. Europe slightly ahead in terms of total numbers of EVs, but fundamentally people charging in similar ways in both of those markets.

Shayle Kann: Outside of the UK where you have literally hundreds of different charging point operators, how is interoperability? Is it pretty seamless? Is it a big challenge? I mean, you mentioned roaming, so what is the experience like as an EV owner if you're trying to charge outside the home in Germany?

Nick Woolley: Yeah, so it's quite complicated because there are so many different networks. So there are what we call roaming aggregators within the European market. So there's companies like Hubject and Gireve that allow for platforms on the other side to interface with a variety of different charging infrastructure networks and provide a single seamless service back to the end driver. In the US, that doesn't really happen. You can go a long way by charging on say, Electrify America or EVgo or just using say the Tesla network as an individual network in its own right.

Shayle Kann: And you mentioned that charging patterns, at least at home charging is pretty dominant both in Europe and in North America.

Nick Woolley: Yeah.

Shayle Kann: I would imagine, I think of at least parts of Europe as being more urban than North America than the US tends to be. And thus I would anticipate that there is more public charging, or at least relatively speaking, more public charging in Europe or at least in urban parts of Europe than there is in North America. The counterpoint I can imagine to that is that early adopters of electric vehicles are basically all homeowners who can charge at home. So is that kind of what we see going on and it's just that even if it's a more urbanized population, the ones who are buying electric vehicles so far have access to home charging?

Nick Woolley: Well, yeah. I mean, it's fascinating and you can sort of try to make generalizations, but I think personas exist in both markets where you get this typical persona of a customer who has access to off-street parking. When they get their electric vehicle, they install a home charger on their driveway and then for the majority of their time they charge using that off-street parking.

I was chatting to an Uber driver who was taking me to the airport the other day and he'd just bought an MG in the UK market. He'd done 11,000 miles over the last two months and I was like, "Oh gosh, how do you charge?" And he said to me, "Well, I do a hundred percent of my charging at home and I just come home and plug in after my shift every single day." He's got enough miles in the car to be able to charge up during the day and do everything that he needs to do and then he charges a hundred percent of the time at home.

So we see in both the North American and in the European markets, this persona that exists that does a lot of their charging at home. I think in parallel to that persona, there's often like, "Well, I need to have 20% of my time. I might need to do these long road trips, whether it be across the US or up and down the UK or from the UK to say France, to take the kids on their family holiday."

And in that situation you need access to this rapid charging infrastructure that can get you across the country or across multiple countries or states. Both of those personas exist in both markets. We also see people who are adopting electric vehicles who have no infrastructure at home. And it's amazingly people fall in love with the technology.

The technology's so awesome that they just get excited about having the technology and then they're like, "Oh my gosh, I need to charge this thing. I don't have any access to off-street parking. I'm just going to charge on the street in New York, or I'm just going to charge on the street in London." And in that situation they're using on street charging, for example, overnight to plug in their electric vehicle on an ongoing basis to ensure that they're charged up during the day, but then they graze at every other point in time to scavenge energy from wherever they can in other locations.

Shayle Kann: One thing I also wonder whether is similar, so if most of the charging is taking place at home, both in North America and in Europe, so we're going to talk a bunch about managed charging and sort of the similarities and differences in how to manage those programs in the two regions, but just in terms of the absence of managed charging, if you just do uncontrolled charging, the big problem that we face here is that a lot of that charging takes place when people get home from work.

That is early evening, that tends to be peak, that also if we're in a solar heavy grid like I am in California, is when the sun is setting, and so you have the ramp up in the evening and load and EVs contribute to that and make the peak even peak year. Is it basically in the absence of managed charging in Europe, is it the same pattern? You see the same sort of hours of the day of unmanaged charging that you see in North America or does that vary? I could imagine this is probably country specific, right? But I could imagine in Spain, right? Where you have a siesta and later evenings things look a little bit different. I'm curious how much you see the unmanaged charging patterns vary.

Nick Woolley: Yeah. It's a fascinating question. It's one that obviously the utilities on the other side of the equation worry about an awful lot, what is the load profile that's going to occur on their grid from electric vehicles? One of the things that we've learned across millions of charging sessions across all of these different countries is humans are incredibly predictable in terms of their behavior and actually the point at which you plug in across the globe is pretty similar whether you are in Texas or Spain or the UK or California, you basically, we see a massive spike around people plugging in around the early evening.

So between six to eight PM in the evening is when people plug in. And then unplugged times are even more correlated. They're around seven to eight AM in the morning. And there's just these two big spikes that occur when most home charging users come home and plug in on the system. And that is incredibly predictable and correlated across the globe. It does yeah, vary by the odd hour depending on the cultural differences between various parts of the globe, but essentially it is incredibly predictable and correlated.

Shayle Kann: Fascinating. All right, so we're going to talk about managed charging because obviously it's nice that you've got all this predictable load. It's unfortunate that it happens to be predictable, right? In the times when you don't want it necessarily. So there's a solution to that which is managed charging. And managed charging is a thing that you get homeowners to do or that you do on their behalf depending on the situation.

But how to get them to do that or how to incentivize them, how to mandate them, whatever it is, that's all very much dependent on market structure and who can do what. So this is where I know there are some differences between North America and Europe or at least parts of North America and parts of Europe. So talk through how you think about what are the archetypes of market structures and then how do we think about managed charging in those different archetypes?

Nick Woolley: Yeah. So one of the opportunities and challenges of something like managed charging or indeed any DERs providing VPP services is they can create value all the way along the value chain. So from distribution to transmission to retail and wholesale markets, and therefore the regulatory structure really, really does matter. So in the European markets, typically the markets are unbundled and what unbundled means is that the retail and generation assets are unbundled from the network and system operation.

And so the network companies in the European market, say in the UK market, they operate the network and they run the network and they ensure that it's incredibly reliable, but they do not interface with consumers and in fact told not to interface with consumers. The retailers interface with consumers and they craft and create wonderful products that then delight those consumers that then interface with the energy. And that's pretty universal across most European markets.

That's the unbundled way. That's what's happened since the liberalized energy markets, which the UK has really led the charge on. In the US, obviously most of the utilities in the US are vertically integrated, and so they're integrated utilities, which means that distribution, transmission, system operation is often all stacked together. Now there are some areas of the US that are different.

So for example, Texas resembles a lot more like the UK market where retail is separate. But a lot of that integration happens at once. And this plays a massive role in the way managed charging and VPPs can roll out because the value is created at different points along that value chain.

But if in an integrated market you can create value for the integrated player across distribution, transmission and then the consumer and retail side of the business, in an unbundled market, you have to split those all up. So you have to create value for the network company who may be one party, system operator who may be another party and a retailer who may be another party separately as well.

Shayle Kann: So that sounds like you're implying it's sort of easier to extract the full value from managed charging in a vertically integrated market like investor owned utilities are mostly in the US versus in Europe. Do you think that's true?

Nick Woolley: So yeah, I do actually. I think it is an advantage because what you do is you create clear line of sight all the way through to the value that's created. So if you are running a managed charging program, say in New York we work with Con Edison, in New York service territory, we can create value for the distribution company.

We can also create value for consumers in New York as well. And then we can also provide services to the system operator too. And the value is all aggregating all the way through and there's clear line of sight to that value from one particular player. That is the big pro I suppose, of an integrated system.

Perhaps the pro of an unbundled system like the European markets is you can get very consumer focused propositions arising because the retailers really, really care about having a relationship with people like you or I with their energy. And that can create some really interesting propositions and really consumer focused energy companies. And I think it's no coincidence that companies like OVO and Octopus and energy retailers like that have emerged in the UK market from a very competitive space that is really now focusing heavily on end consumers.

Shayle Kann: Can you give an example of a prototype of a managed charging program in a vertically integrated US market versus a managed charging program or whatever you want to call it in one of those, say from Octopus or OVO or somebody like that? It'd be interesting to talk through what do they actually look like.

Nick Woolley: Yeah. I mean, there's lots of different types of programs. Are we talking about programs run by the utility or are we going to get into rates and... Because I think they're almost like programs, right?

Shayle Kann: Yeah, that's a good point. Yeah, I didn't mean exclusively programs run by utility. I guess, maybe I'll put this in a different way. What do you think of as the prototype of a way to get managed charging done in a vertically integrated utility territory versus in an unbundled market?

Nick Woolley: Yeah. So I think the prototypes can be similar, but say let's talk in a vertically integrated market first. The way that typically programs are run is that a program is set up that can ride on top of a set of rates. So the program could include a time of use rate or it might not include a time of use rate. So to give a tangible example of a program, the SmartCharge New York in Con Edison service territory, what that incentivizes customers to do is it incentivizes customers to charge during off-peak windows.

If you charge during an off-peak window, you get a rebate back on your energy bill. And so that is a carrot that is provided by the utility for you doing something that the utility wants, which is you managing charging for the utility. That actually looks quite similar to some of the propositions that are being rolled out in competitive markets.

The propositions that are being rolled out in competitive markets like the UK are tariffs, which have now become known as what's called type of use tariffs. So a type of use tariff is a tariff that applies to a specific device within your home like an electric vehicle. And it then incentivizes the electric vehicle owner to charge at certain points in time. And it is differentiated from the rest of your energy bill and it then gives you a rebate back on your energy for consuming energy at the right times for the grid.

And they go even one step further where they don't just say, "You just consume energy at these points in time, but if you seed control to the retailer in this case for managing your energy, we will just give you a flat rate, well discounted from the standard rate of energy because you are giving us control for your energy at those times." So those two types of programs look quite similar, but what they're doing is they're providing a carrot to the end consumer to charge their electric vehicle at the right points in time for the energy grid and for society as a whole.

Shayle Kann: You sort of alluded to one of the sort of key differences in different programs that I think of which is one is you provide a carrot to the customer and let the customer do it and they can decide on a day-to-day basis whether or not they want to comply. The other is you give them a deal and say, "In exchange for this deal, we're going to control your EV charger on your behalf."

Do you see more of that second category in one market versus the other? And I guess relatedly, how much more visibility does it give you if you're the grid operator? Or you're guaranteed to be able to get the charging in the off-peak hours if you control it, how much less guaranteed are you, what's the compliance rate I guess if it's just a carrot that you're providing?

Nick Woolley: Yeah. So I think, I mean, we think about this in terms of a level. I think what you've just described is levels of smart charging and we've walked around this, but there's a first level which is unmanaged, which is really bad for the grid. We just get load happening at peak times and that is going to be really, really bad for the grid. Some estimates say that that's going to be an increase of peak load by 50%.

The next level is maybe you provide a time of use rate and obviously in markets like California, we've provided time of use rates. The big con to that is what you get is you get this massive secondary peak, get what's called a timer peak. So you get this massive peak that comes on at 11:00 PM because surprise, surprise, everybody sets their vehicle to come on at about 11:00 PM when the time of use rate kicks in.

The next level is like this, what we've just described, which is like a passive incentive, which is you provide some level of incentive and then you let people manage the charging and they sort of come to it. And then on top of that, you can then actively manage the charging. The beauty of actively managing the charging is you can then reduce that.

The secondary timer peak doesn't have to happen because you can individually manage every single electric vehicle independently. And you can also do things as well, for example, in California where time of use rates aren't coincident with when the solar energy is available on the grid, you can flex those.

You can flex the rates dynamically and according to the weather conditions and the patterns that exist within the local market because you are actively controlling EV load. And that gives the utilities loads more benefits. But the key things on the consumer side is you don't want to make the proposition to complex. Because I mean, I hear a lot about like, "Well, let's just roll out dynamic rates to everybody within markets."

And I'm personally not necessarily a fan of doing that. I think some consumers will like that, but I'm not a fan of doing that because it's very complicated, right? For consumers to understand. And that complexity manifests itself in a big externality, which is a huge cost for consumers to be able to really understand exactly what's going on with their energy bill and how much it's going to cost you to charge your vehicle at any one point in time.

Shayle Kann: I embedded this within a bigger question that you answered very well, but I want to come back to it. Do we know, I mean I'm sure it's variable depending on the level of the carrot, the type, but high level, what do you typically see as compliance? If it's not fully managed charging, if the utility is not controlling the battery and you just say either, "Here's the time of use rate" or "I'll give you a rebate on your bill if you charge at these hours," what portion of the population is going to comply with that?

Nick Woolley: Yeah, so that's a great question because that's obviously really, really important within this. I mean, again, coming back to personas, it really depends. Some people actively as soon as they're being set told that they're going on a time of use rate, will respond to it. However, what we see in California with some of our partners that we're working with, what they've done is they've rolled out time of use rates and they've sort of forced that on consumers and some of those consumers have not changed their behavior at all.

And so they're now being charged punitive rates for charging their electric vehicle, but they haven't shifted their behavior, which is what we all want. Right? We want behavior to shift and us to actually manage electric vehicle charging for the times that are good for the grid and good for society. And so I think people are different and so some consumers adapt to this and take to the next best thing and will opt into a new proposition that's raised to them. And some consumers will just do nothing because energy is quite complicated and actually the mind space to think about those things, it's just too much.

Shayle Kann: Is there anywhere that you think of as doing it the best? Right? Either it's a utility and a vertically integrated market or it's some retailer who figured out some innovative program in a unbundled market, but who do you look at as the Scion of success here?

Nick Woolley: Yeah. So I think we always go back to when you first get involved in the electric vehicle market. So as an individual, I think when you buy that electric vehicle, you get very excited about the purchase. The purchase is super exciting, right? In my opinion, the product is fundamentally better than an internal combustion engine vehicle. It's usually got loads of technology inside it.

And so the best point to enroll a customer on a program is the point at which they're purchasing an electric vehicle. Because I think at that stage they have this huge problem, right? Which is, "Okay, this vehicle's really cool, it's fast, it's quiet, it's got loads of tech, but I need to figure out how to charge it." And they don't actually know how to charge that electric vehicle at that point in time.

And if you say to them, "Yeah, you can charge using this cheap rate with this program, it manages your electric vehicle charging every single day and in the future that'll be V2X and other things added onto it and you get fully charged for the time you need it and all you have to do is come home and plug in and it takes five seconds and you get feedback via the utility on how much your energy is costing you, regular intervals."

That's actually helping the consumer to solve a fundamental problem they have, which is how do they recharge their electric vehicle? So I think the gold standard is to get the electric vehicle owner doing the right thing from day one and then they can then start doing and managing their energy in the right way for the grid and for society from the point at which they purchase that electric vehicle and put the charger in their home.

In the UK, they rolled out a regulation called the Smart Charging Regulations, which actually mandates every charger that goes into somebody's home now has to be smart and has to be controllable by the grid. I think that's a great piece of regulation to support that where now every single electric vehicle owner has to be charging their electric vehicle the right way from day one. Obviously they can opt out if they want to, but it's their choice to opt out. And in theory, if you deliver an awesome experience, then they should just do it every single day, day in, day out. And that's what we see. That's what see.

Shayle Kann: Does the amount of money... I mean, there's a couple ways in which there's different amounts of money here. There's just the question of overall rates. And rates in some places are very high and in other places are very low. And so if you're going to give an economic incentive to do managed charging to the consumer, presumably the cost of their electricity has some impact there.

And then the second way in which it matters is if you're doing something like time of use rates or even a rebate like the amount of the delta and the time of use rate between off-peak and peak, it can be very large or it can be pretty small. Similarly, the rebate could be pretty small or pretty large. And I guess, my question is how much do we know at this point about the price elasticity of compliance from consumers? Is it that if you offered $20 a month versus $15 a month of benefit, is that going to move the needle for consumers or is it very much more like a binary, either they will or they won't?

Nick Woolley: Yeah. So I think, I mean, we are still learning about exactly what the price elasticity is. I think I would say that what we know for sure is that it varies depending on the point at which you're trying to convince that consumer to get involved in something. So if when you buy that first electric vehicle charger and you're charging up using managed charging from day one and you don't know any different, the amount of incentive that you have to give is less than if you then have already had somebody charging using a different system and then you have to go to them and say, "Hey, there's this new fancy system that you can use that's called managed charging, and it will benefit you like this."

So I think that is definitely something we know that varies. Right? The point at which you get involved in those conversations really, really matters, which is why we feel like if you can solve the problem for the consumer at the point at which they have the problem, i.e., the point at which they're buying that electric vehicle, that's the best time to engage because the customer's just wide open to like, "Well, I've got a problem.

Help me solve this. Oh great, I can get paid to charge my electric vehicle. That's amazing. Right. I'll do that. I'll opt in. I'll do it every single day. And I never knew that I shouldn't be charging my electric vehicle to benefit the grid and charge as much low carbon energy into my vehicle because that's just the right thing to do."

I think there are other points on the journey that are interesting as well. For example, when you buy an EV, you often buy solar panels as well, or you get other DERs that are associated with your home because you start to become very aware about the whole home and the ecosystem and how you're managing your energy. And so at the point at which you buy solar as well is another touch point that you can get that customer involved in using stuff like managed charging to engage in control and optimize their energy flow.

Shayle Kann: You mentioned this briefly before, but I want to ask you about V2G or V2X, whatever it is. So we've been talking predominantly about managed charging here, which is V1G or I don't know, whatever people want to call it.

There's some debate about this, but you could argue the next evolution of the world after this is going to be not just using the vehicle, not just charging the vehicle at the right times and the wrong times, but also using the battery that's in the vehicle to discharge either into the grid or into the home or whatever it might be. How much of that, in terms of all that, you see all these managed charging programs and approaches popping up all over the world pretty quickly. Are many of them already contemplating some version of V2G or is that mostly just a future scenario?

Nick Woolley: Yeah. I can share some thoughts and opinions on this. I think firstly, maybe dialing back to what we've been talking about a lot is the consumer experience. I think if you think about the consumer experience for something like V2X or vehicle to home or vehicle to grid, whatever it may be, I actually think it's actually very similar to V1G.

You come home, you plug in your electric vehicle and then you unplug when you need to use your electric vehicle. It's just that during that period while you're plugged in, you might discharge the electric vehicle and help support the grid or you might discharge the electric vehicle and help support your home. So I think the consumer experience is very, very similar to V1G. I think then you get to the specific use cases about where it will roll out.

I am super excited about the potential for this to happen as an energy geek. I mean, it's absolutely fascinating to think that you could get like five X the capacity from V1G to V2G on the grid. That is just, it's a phenomenal amount of capacity that you could have under management in virtual power plants across the globe. We see some real interesting use cases that are emerging straight away, like I think vehicle to home to provide resiliency in North America is a thing.

I was struck by, I mean, I've done some time in the United States and when I first went out there from the energy perspective, I was fascinated by this thing where people used to go to Home Depot to buy backup diesel gen sets. And I was like, "Wow, is that a thing? Because that doesn't happen in Europe at all. And then people were saying, "Well, you could use batteries, home batteries to provide an alternative service to buying a diesel generator."

And I think electric vehicles and vehicle to home could be an alternative to that because when you have extreme weather events, which you do in North America, perhaps more so than say a pretty benign country like the United Kingdom, that is really, really important to consumers. So I think that use case will emerge and definitely roll out.

The open question in my mind, and it'd be interesting to hear your thoughts, Shayle, on it, but the open question in my mind is how much we get to vehicle to grid and it fully exporting back to the grid providing advanced services in the future. That's the open question because regulations have to change, car batteries have to be cyclable for much more cycles. Both these things will probably happen, but I'm just not sure, I don't know what you think.

Shayle Kann: I sort of agree. I do agree that it's important. I think the point about the consumer experience is pretty similar is true. I do think there's something to the, you got to get over the hump of consumers being concerned that yes, most nights I'm going to plug in at 6:00 PM and unplug at 7:00 AM and I don't care what happens in between. But if I really needed to drive out of the house at midnight, I should be able to, and you sort of just need to get them over that.

It's more of a psychological hump than anything else, which I think you can solve by explaining that we're never going to discharge your battery down to beneath 50% or something like that. And I also agree with you that I think the difference between vehicle to home as a resiliency thing and vehicle to grid is important to make.

Because vehicle to home as a resiliency thing, you're rarely going to use it, and but when you do, it's high value. And so why wouldn't you do that? I actually don't know why anyone wouldn't do that. It seems really, really logical to me. Vehicle to grid and particularly daily interoperability with the grid is just a much more thorny challenge. As you said, there's lots more regulatory and market driven change that's going to need to happen.

I think in the long arc of history, it probably does happen because at some point you just look at the total capacity that's going to be sitting in batteries at people's homes overnight and the notion that we would never use it to support the needs of the grid seems illogical.

But I've been in this industry long enough to know that we don't do the logical thing quickly. If we do the logical thing, it takes us a long time often. So I wouldn't bet on V2G being a huge thing tomorrow, but as EVs really scale up, those numbers are just going to become staggering, I think.

Nick Woolley: Yeah, I agree. I think there's a pathway to it as well. So like vehicle to home we mentioned would be the first thing to provide resiliency benefits. I think on top of that, you could start providing resiliency benefits to the grid, to the wider grid before you start cycling the battery every single day. So there's a pathway to it. I'm super excited for the potential for that to happen because like you say, the capacity available will just be so significant to the grid that we can't really ignore it.

Shayle Kann: I mean, I just mentioned it's going to be a staggering amount of total capacity, but how big do you think it could be? How big a power plant will the world's collective electric vehicles become?

Nick Woolley: Well, right now, so if there's about 13 million electric vehicles across Europe and the US, so eight million and about five million in the US. And so that's about 13 gigawatts at peak of load, which is probably in the US right now, untapped capacity is about equivalent to the Palo Verde generating station, which is the biggest nuclear power station in the US and probably about two Palo Verde generating stations in Europe.

So that's pretty big, right? In terms of overall capacity. But I think what's even more interesting is it takes, what? About 10, 15 years to build a nuclear power station. We'll probably hit that capacity again in the next two years. So we could be basically adding capacity at the rates of a new nuclear power station on the grid every couple of years.

And of course, that growth is accelerating vastly. If you wind in vehicle to grid onto that, you're probably five Xing, the total number of Palo Verde generating stations. So if we had a hundred percent V2G right now, we'd probably have equivalent to five of the biggest nuclear power stations available to us on the USA grid, which is pretty colossal in terms of the overall size of a virtual power plant.

Shayle Kann: Yeah, it's wild. Well, Nick, this was fun. Thank you for chatting to me from the other side of the pond. I appreciate it. And we'll have you back again to catch up at some point.

Nick Woolley: Thank you, Shayle.

Shayle Kann: Nick Woolley is the co-founder and CEO of ev.energy. This show is a co-production of Latitude Media and Canary Media. You can head over to canarymedia.com for links to today's topics. Latitude Media is supported by Prelude Ventures. Prelude backs visionaries accelerating climate innovation that will reshape the global economy for the betterment of people and planet. Learn more about their portfolio and investment strategy at preludeventures.com. This episode was produced by Daniel Woldorff, mixing by Roy Campanella and Sean Marquand, theme song by Sean Marquand. I'm Shayle Kann and this is Catalyst.

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electric vehicles
energy
energy transition
local policy