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Published on January 28th, 2018 | by James Ayre


Study: Germany’s Power Grid Could Absorb 40% EV Market Share (By 2035)

January 28th, 2018 by  

The electric grid and utility systems in Germany could absorb a market shift to ~40% plug-in electric vehicles by the year 2035 — without problems and while also generating extra income for power companies — according to a recent independent study released by Aurora Energy Research.

The new study found that a 40% electric vehicle (EV) market share in Germany by 2035 would translate to around 31 terawatt-hours (TWh) of additional electricity demand. That’s reportedly ~5% of the current annual consumption in the country. That makes for a manageable situation, according to the analysis, thanks especially to expanding renewables capacity.

“E-mobility will be the more economic choice by then and its impact on the German power market will tend to be moderate,” stated Benjamin Merle, a study author. “We don’t see any threat of significant price increases for households or industry.”

“Europe’s biggest economy had roughly 46 million small passenger cars on the road on January 1, 2017 when only 0.1% of them were powered by electricity, official figures showed,” Reuters reports. “However, around 10% of cars get replaced each year and Aurora’s Berlin office, the German arm of an Oxford-based parent company, assumes that falling battery costs and a far better climate record of electric cars versus the combustion engine will start supporting mass adoption in the next decade.

“Battery-powered cars should emit 40% less carbon dioxide in 2035 than those with traditional engines, it said. This assumes that the carbon efficiency of the latter will not be improved from today as less research goes into the old technology.”

I’ll note here before moving on that the likelihood that internal combustion engine (ICE) tech can even be notably improved at this point is pretty much nonexistent — it’s a mature technology, improved over a period of over 100 years now. All of the easy gains are now long gone.

Continuing: “Higher battery density will ensure that driving ranges expand due to more powerful batteries while charging infrastructures are built up to meet demand, it also assumed. It estimated that exchange-quoted power prices for the day-ahead will nearly double to an average around the mid-€60 a megawatt hour by 2035, as Germany is to phase out cheap nuclear and much coal-fired capacity by then.

“Within that price, the additional costs required to meet the 31 TWh were estimated at €2.7/MWh, Merle said. German utility companies stand to gain between €500 and €700 million a year in additional earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), if they exploit cross-selling opportunities with start-ups in the chargepoint sector that are springing up fast, the researchers estimated.”

Interesting findings, though not really in any way surprising. What should be remembered, of course, is that the success of electric vehicles in the German auto market will ultimately depend upon how serious German auto manufacturers eventually get … as Germans tend to buy only German cars, to a large degree anyway.



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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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