The road to a 100% green automotive future is through the slow but safe disappearance of internal combustion engines. Countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK have even gone so far as to declare that they will ban internal combustion engines by 2040. If this change were to happen, what would it mean for the European car industry?
The change in the automotive industry
Replacing traditional internal combustion engines with electric motors would eliminate the need to produce a large part of the vehicle parts. The markets for spark plugs, exhaust pipes and other automotive parts specific to internal combustion engines would experience a decline in production and demand. Due to the simpler nature of parts for electric vehicles and their design, the employees in the automotive supply chain involved in these production processes could experience a significant change in their working environment.
Countries like Britain have already recognized the need for this change and have begun to prepare for it in various ways. For example, Unite, the UK’s largest workers’ union, recently called on the British Government to develop a plan to protect workers’ skills and jobs, while encouraging the switch to electric vehicles. As electric vehicles enter new markets and regions of the world, many countries face similar industrial impacts and need to prepare accordingly.
Electric vehicles as an energy future
Electric vehicles can take us from point A to point B, but their energy potential does not stop there: they also have the ability to serve as a source of energy for our electricity grid. Currently, renewable energy sources are very rarely centralized and often spread over large areas such as mountains, roofs, buildings, and more. This distribution means that energy suppliers have less control oversupply, which can lead to grid instability in the event of excessive demand. To solve this problem, the technology of the vehicle-to-network system, Vehicle-2-Grid (V2G), is to be welcomed.
This V2G technology is able to turn parked electric vehicles into energy suppliers by storing the excess energy absorbed during charging to feed them back into the grid during periods of high energy consumption. This means that millions of electric vehicles in cities around the world have the ability to act as regulators of their electricity grids. In turn, this capacity facilitates the integration of renewable energy sources, brings stability to the electricity grid, and provides flexibility in billing for supply and demand. Who knew that electric vehicles have all these energy capacities?