Electric Vehicles: Developing the Market and Infrastructure inquiry launched

21 September 2017

The Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Committee has today launched an inquiry into electric vehicles, the challenges they represent for the energy infrastructure and the actions needed to support the development of this market.

This inquiry will build on the written evidence received for the former BEIS Committee's inquiry Electric Vehicles: Developing the Market, which was interrupted by the General Election.

This new inquiry brings an added focus to the challenges electric vehicles create for the electricity grid and energy infrastructure and builds on the previous Electric Vehicles: Developing the Market inquiry.

Chair's comments

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:

"Ensuring the UK is a flourishing market for electric vehicles is important both for the future of our automotive industry and in UK efforts to decarbonise and build a successful low-carbon economy.

Our inquiry will examine the barriers to the development of the electric car market, look at how it can be better supported, and explore the huge challenges which the electricity grid faces in meeting this additional demand. We also want to investigate concerns that there is a 'postcode lottery' in charging infrastructure with considerable variation in the availability of charge points across the country, which must inevitably discourage people from buying electric cars."

The arrival of electric vehicles on the mass market creates substantial challenges for the electricity grid, which must balance the additional energy demand created by electric vehicles whilst providing secure and reliable electricity supplies for the country. It is understood that electric vehicles will require substantial investment in new infrastructure, but there is a lack of evidence on the extent and type of developments required, as well as how and by whom they should be funded.

The Government's recent Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan provides an overview of options to exploit smart technology in the integration of electric vehicles, but does not cover these broader issues. Evidence submitted for the previous Committee's inquiry Electric Vehicles: Developing the Market highlighted the pressing need for the Government, National Grid and the distribution network operators to collaborate on network reinforcement. It also indicated that electric vehicles can only be accessible to all if charging points are widespread, accessible, rapid and compatible with differing vehicle models.

Submitting written evidence - terms of reference

The Committee will be calling witnesses to provide oral evidence based on the written submissions received by the former BEIS Committee for its curtailed inquiry Electric Vehicles: Developing the Market. We also invite written submissions in relation to the additional points below:

  • How will increased uptake of electric vehicles, to meet the Government's 2040 target to end the sale of new diesel and petrol cars, affect the electricity grid? What action is needed to manage impacts, and to make the most of opportunities afforded by vehicle-to-grid technologies?
  • How do charging infrastructure requirements differ for alternative types of vehicle, journey, and user (including fleets)?
  • How should new infrastructure for electric vehicles and associated grid reinforcements be sustainably funded?

Evidence can be submitted via the inquiry page

The closing date for submissions is Friday 3 November 2017 at midday.

Further information

Image: Creative Commons

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