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UK’s Road to Zero Strategy: Reality or Piped Dream?

The strategy of Road to Zero has the goal to become the world’s leading technology with zero-emission vehicles. In fact, the government has targeted to produce 50% of the new cars with ultra-low emission by the end of 2030 with the target of zero-emission by 2040. 

The business select committee of the parliament believes this to be a great step for preserving nature. However, it will have an adverse effect on the cuts to subsidies with a few numbers of charging points and over-ambitious plan. Therefore the MPs are looking forward to banning the sales of the latest petrol and diesel cars which are about to release in 2032, 8 years earlier than the execution of the initial plan. 

The transition from the fuel-run cars to the all-electric approach not only needs intense planning but also a huge investment. Along with the capital restricted for the R&D, the planning will need a huge infrastructure for the vehicle charging stations and proper legislation to install charging points in the new homes. 

In spite of the adversities, the endeavor in the new change is gaining momentum. Currently, 4 million electric vehicles are running on the roads against one billion fuelled cars. However, the transition is gaining a faster pace, which is evident from the sales statistics. The first million electric cars took 20 years to sell out while the second million took only four to five months. 

Even the policies are moving at a faster pace, setting the higher expectation. Oxford has planned to launch the first-ever zero-emission zone in the city center while the ultra-low emission zone will be introduced in London in the upcoming year. This means the drivers will have to pay more if they fail to change their cars from the conventional to the electric ones. Also, the facilities offered like the instant vehicle registration is also contributing to the hiked sales of the electric vehicles. 

The behavioral scientists in the UK believe the vehicles that bear green number plates will help spread awareness and promote the cause for the change. In fact, the pilot projects are gaining popularity in Norway, China, and Canada. The projects include distinct looking hydrogen and electric cars, which will attract the attention of the passersby.

Empowering the Future

Electronic vehicles are the most environment-friendly and cleaner path to empower the environment. However, Road to zero technology will impose several challenges on the infrastructure, which will be expensive to overcome. Let us check the challenges that need addressing urgently to bring about the necessary change:

  • The distribution and transmission networks in the UK along with the other countries demand elaboration, which will complement the increasing number of electronic vehicles on the road. In fact, the techniques of innovative load balancing will prove to be beneficial to meet the elevating demands.
  • Presently, energy is created on a large scale but used only in demand. However, renewable sources of energy are unpredictable.
  • The energy grid is continuing to become less stable while the energy demand is becoming less predictable as the world is continuing to develop the electrified technologies. 
  • The battery size of the electronic vehicles is increasing while the sales are also sky-rocketing. Meanwhile, the energy management charging systems in the latest infrastructures will encounter difficulties in meeting the demand of the latest endeavor in just three years. 
  • Difficulties regarding the development of the latest battery technology and storage challenges will be difficult to meet in a short span. 

Electric Vehicles- A Perfect Example of the Readymade Energy Source

As the households are investing more in the electric vehicles, the homes will need large devices for electricity storage in their garages, which will have the potential to power the homes for several days. 

In fact, one can easily speculate the activities of the future, in which consumers will become prosumers as they will store and resell the energy back to the grid with the help of the batteries in the electronic vehicles as a distributed and mobile system for energy storage. A plentiful energy can be obtained from the grid when the battery will charge without having to spend a fortune. However, the battery will have the potential to feed the generated energy back to the grid depending on the demand.

The smart building management technology is phenomenal with a potential to divert the preserved energy from the buildings of a large residential complex to the electric vehicle charging points. Usually, this attribute will come into play during the daytime of weekdays and late nights. This will significantly reduce the need for power at the charging points during the peak hours like evenings and weekends. The road to zero will also contribute to power saving of the other buildings where the un-used electricity can be redirected. 

To be precise, the electric vehicles have the capability to help the demand and supply model of the future overcome the challenging hurdles.

Currently, the electricity flows in a linear path, which is a single-way communication from the power station to the diversified sources. However, the new model of power flow will transform the present system as power will come from diversified sources and renewable generation resources, which also involve prosumers and micro-producers. 

How to support laying the road to zero, when the energy supply is concerned?

In order to support the upcoming cause, it is important to understand the rate at which the adoption procedure is executing along with deploying smart legislates and meters. Currently, the consumers pay for the energy consumed. When the electric vehicles, storage technology of home battery, and micro-generation will be a part of the power supply of the future, the power grids must pay the energy houses as well as the consumers.   

Smart meters allow the operators to get a clear idea of the electricity consumption by the consumers. The smart meters from the second generation have the potential to measure the power generation and usage while offering visibility of pricing movements. However, UK doesn’t have such plans to roll these plans. 

Later, the smart meters may understand the amount of energy utilized for running the daily chores, the intensity of power used, and sell the excess energy preserved in the battery to the grid during the peak demand.

The government needs to act proactively in this scenario to get the most from the endeavor to develop a smarter technology. The authority also needs to design the legislation and regulations that promote the positive behavior of the consumers through alluring incentive plans. This will encourage the development of bi-directional grid and micro-power generation as well. 

Now, the smart meter rollout doesn’t include the electric vehicle battery storage and charge points on the private, public, and commercial spaces. However, an individual or a company can buy a smart meter from the second generation for personal use. Therefore, the positive step, which will promote the positive endeavor, is to offer incentives to the users for returning energy to the grid.

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