Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), an industry research firm focused on helping the energy sector generate opportunities, recently announced its annual long-term forecast for global electric vehicle (EV) adoption to 2040 in Bangkok.
According to the firm, the transport sector worldwide is going through a period of profound transformation impacting a variety of sectors. EV battery prices, raw material prices, national policies, automaker plans, mobility as a service, charging infrastructure and other forces are all changing rapidly.
These will have a profound impact on oil resources, electricity and automotive markets over the next 20 years, it stated.
Thailand is deeply embedded in the global auto supply chain as the sixth largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the world.
Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport, answered questions regarding EV technology for use in this part of the world.
Q: From your findings, do you think customers are ready for EV technology? In 10 years, would the number of EVs rise significantly in this region?
A: Interest in electric vehicles is rising around the world and automakers are responding by launching many new models across almost all vehicle segments. We expect there to be almost 300 different EV models available globally by 2022 and we expect EV sales to rise significantly in all regions over the next 10 years. In Thailand specifically, much of the near-term opportunities will be around electrifying buses, two-wheelers and three-wheelers, we think the four-wheeled passenger EVs segment will take a bit longer to get going here than in markets like the US, China and Europe.
Q: Since EVs are intended to be charged at home while the owner is sleeping, how important is it to have a network of public charging stations?
A: For many EV owners, home charging will be all they need. But not everybody has easy access to home charging points, and for these people a robust network of public charging infrastructure is still important. At the end of 2017 there were over 500,000 public charging points globally, but the distribution is very uneven. Some regions like China, California and parts of Western Europe have jumped ahead, but others will take longer to build up their networks. In our long term EV adoption outlook, we view access to charging infrastructure as one of the biggest barriers that holds back faster adoption of EVs in the longer term.
Q: With increased EV use, how would the power industry handle the significantly increased demand for electricity?
A: Despite our forecast of rapid growth, EVs add just 6 per cent to total global power demand in 2040 because of their high efficiency. This can be accommodated easily by the power system, but there is some risk of localised grid issues in cases where EV charging is clustered in a certain areas. To mitigate this, we expect energy suppliers to push more time-of-use EV charging tariffs and other smart charging tools. Done right, EVs are an opportunity, not a threat, to the power system.