Britain’s Electric Car Revolution: Smart But at What Cost?

(DGIwire) – In July 2017, the British government announced a ban on the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans in that country starting in 2040. The aim, according to a Reuters report, is to reduce air pollution and to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. However, this will come at a cost: Reuters says Britain must plow billions into new power plants, grid networks and electric vehicle (EV) charging points if it is to avoid local power outages.

Local networks particularly face problems, notes Reuters, so the country will need a range of technologies for managing consumption to meet an estimated rise of up to 15 percent in overall demand and prevent spikes of up to 40 percent at peak times. Capacity problems could also start at home: British utility National Grid says that drivers charging their cars at home might not be able to use items such as kettles, ovens and immersion heaters at the same time without tripping their house’s main fuse.

“With an expected increase of EVs on the road in Britain from around 90,000 today to 20 million by 2040—all of which will require electricity—the search is on for new solutions to avoid overstraining the grid,” says Stephen Voller, CEO of ZapGo Ltd., the developer of Carbon-Ion™ (C-Ion®) cells, a fast-charging and safe alternative to lithium-ion batteries. “An additional challenge is ensuring that it doesn’t take longer to fully charge an EV than it currently does to fill up a conventional car with gasoline at the filling station.”

ZapGo is working toward this goal with its development of Carbon-Ion cell technology could one day provide the solution. ZapGo’s platform technology is planned to be incorporated initially into products such as electric bikes, cordless power tools and robotic cleaners—available for sale starting in late 2017—where the recharge time will be reduced from hours to sub-five minutes.

The smart energy storage in Carbon-Ion cells can provide a much more energy-efficient charging solution for drivers while potentially saving local utilities billions of dollars in infrastructure costs. A bank of ZapGo Carbon-Ion cells could be integrated into electric charging stations across Britain—and ensure sufficient power to charge up electric vehicles in a quick and timely manner. To achieve almost instant charging, the company’s Carbon-Ion cells could be built into both a charging station and an EV so that the energy transfer occurs directly from one to the other. With this technology, the charge rate is not dependent on how much energy the EV can take in, or on the output of the electrical grid, as it is with conventional lithium-ion batteries.

“Whether or not Britain ultimately succeeds in its goal regarding EVs depends first on overcoming critical problems of infrastructure involving the electric grid—problems that Carbon-Ion cells could play an instrumental role in helping to resolve,” Voller adds.