The growing popularity of ridesharing and other shared urban mobility services, combined with new low emission zones, is likely to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles (EVs).
According to a new report by ABI Research, although only 2% of all vehicles shipped in 2018 are expected to be electric, city governments are increasingly becoming aware of their benefits in terms of sustainability, reduced environmental impact, and improved air quality.
“The combined effect of the proportionally higher uptake of EVs in car-sharing fleets and their much higher utilisation rates will result in global electric mileage share to exceed 20% by 2030,” said Dominique Bonte, vice president of end markets at ABI Research.
At the same time, the widespread introduction of urban emission zones, initially aimed at banning older diesel vehicles, is likely to culminate in zero emission zones and city centres restricted to EVs only, the report suggests.
Cities will come to depend on electric vehicles and this has important consequences for both charging station and grid infrastructure requirements.
To meet the need for continuous operation and availability, fast charging and future wireless public charging stations will become necessary.
And the additional demand on the public grid will have to be mitigated by a range of measures including advanced demand-response and load balancing software solutions, EV charging management and Vehicle-to-Grid systems, widespread adoption of microgrids, and a more holistic, cross-vertical approach to energy management.
“Ultimately, the transportation electrification revolution will require a fundamental redesign of the grid itself, tailored to accommodate distributed and decentralised modes of renewable energy consumption and generation in urban contexts,” ABI Research says.
The report goes on to note that the electrification of transportation in smart cities will be multimodal, with EVs complemented by electric two-wheel vehicles (bikes, scooters and motorbikes), as well as shuttles, boats and future passenger-carrying drones.