Just like Energy Storage Europe in Dusseldorf, this is a show which has grown in stature and numbers, reflecting the increased interest and developments in low carbon transport. Tesla always brings some interest and glamour to any event these days, but the show was far more than just EV’s, let alone Tesla. For example our client ULEMCo had two vehicles on display, a Ford Transit and a refuse truck, both converted to run as diesel/hydrogen hybrids.
Our good friends at Sunamp were also there, demonstrating how their heat/cooling batteries can extend EV range in buses and cars, improving efficiency as well as range.
There were many electric cars, buses and plug in Hybrids on display, with even manufacturers like BYD, Volkeswagen, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Aston Martin, BMW with a presence, and of course Tesla. But of course for us the big area of interest is in EV charging and charging infrastructure. With the huge interest, and growing demand for EV vehicles then the ability to have access to fast and regular EV charge points is critical. ‘Range anxiety’ needs to become a thing of the past. We see in the news this week that even Shell are talking about having EV charging at their retail forecourts in the near future.
The obvious play is to have EV charge stations powered by wind and solar, where possible, with the assistance of energy storage. Only in this way can we truly get fossil fuels out of the system. EVs of course bring clean air (remove pollution) from our cities, but if we’re still charging from electricity made from fossils we’re not addressing climate change. Not a revolutionary idea of course. In 2011 my solar installation business was installing Solar PV on Nissan dealerships to power the newly launched Leaf.
Fuel cells, biofuels and hydrogen of course will all have a part to play in decarbonising our transport infrastructure. Perhaps even more so than EVs. An area that Hyperion is increasing being drawn into. Just as Energy Storage doesn’t just mean batteries, Low Carbon Transport isn’t just about EVs. Though both light a path for others to follow. The show had a good number of research and consultancy businesses and an interesting set of seminars around all aspects of the Low Carbon Vehicle from air quality to smart cities and alternative fuels.
Speaking of Smart Cities, that’s my next events main topic. I’ll be hosting the Energy Storage session at Smart Energy Wales this week in Cardiff. For more details check http://smartenergy.wales/programme/
© David Hunt
David Hunt is Managing Partner of one of the leading global executive search firms in the clean energy sector. He is also Chair of the Decentralised Energy Forum and a policy board member of the UK Renewable Energy Association (REA) and the Energy Storage Alliance.