Cost is ‘biggest barrier’ for vehicle-to-grid electrification

23 January 2020

The London based ‘Vehicle-to-grid’ (V2G) demonstrator project, E-Flex, on 21 January reported findings that over four in five (86%) fleet managers plan to deploy electric vehicles (EVs) within the next five years. The research, conducted by Opinium in partnership with E-Flex, surveyed 500 fleet managers across the UK on their attitudes to fleet electrification.

Whilst over a quarter (27%) of fleet managers are already deploying EVs, almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents said they are concerned about rising energy costs. Over half (55%) cited the high initial purchase price as the main barrier to EV adoption, with almost half (48%) identifying worries about battery life. Despite these concerns, over half (53%) agree that V2G technology could help with the transition to electric fleets.

Most EVs are fitted with uni-directional chargers, meaning that when a battery is charged, the power is stored until it is used. This could prove an inefficient model for fleets deploying EVs at scale in terms of cost and energy consumption unless the charge times and charge rates are smartly managed.

Over half (54%) of fleet managers recognise that V2G could reduce their energy costs by enabling bi-directional energy transfers that turn EV batteries into energy sources. More than two in five (43%) agree that additional revenue could be generated from sales of unused power back to the grid. And more than three quarters of fleet managers (79%) said meeting their sustainability and environmental targets is a priority. With the UK government’s Road to Zero current 2040 deadline for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission, any organisation running a fleet of vehicles needs to consider electrification as part of its strategy.

EV deployment is expected to change dramatically over the next five years, with the majority (86%) of fleet managers planning to roll-out EVs to reduce business-wide energy usage. Yet, senior decision-makers working across other business units harbour scepticism about EVs.

More than two thirds of fleet managers say that this scepticism is unlikely to be overcome without a financial incentive. In fact, as many as two-thirds (67%) argue that being able to offer these is essential for EV rollout to occur.

“V2G has the potential to bring fleets greater energy independence, new revenue streams, and an opportunity to significantly lower carbon emissions,” commented Maria Hernandez, head of Innovation, Cisco UK and Ireland. “The real-life benefits of the technology are yet to be comprehensively demonstrated in the UK with E-Flex, but further evidence of its ability to reduce costs and drive revenue could accelerate the electrification of fleets.”

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