Electric Vehicles - is the UK’s energy infrastructure ready?

Mark Stewart

Mark Stewart

Edinburgh Office Head & Corporate Finance Partner

18 August 2017

    The electric vehicle (EV) revolution may well be upon us, but is the UK’s energy infrastructure ready for the expected surge in EVs on our roads?

    Facilitating the switch to EV will require major investment in infrastructure up and down the country. With the average electric car only able to travel a certain distance (100-200 miles) before it needs to recharge, plug-in charging units will be required at more frequent points than petrol stations. This raises questions on current and future electric storage facilities and battery technology, where advancements will most definitely need to be made to service the predicted increase of EVs on our roads.

    The cost of upgrading UK infrastructure to support the electrification of the transport network will be in the billions and will come from a myriad of sources. It may be that a private finance solution along the lines of street lighting could pave the way for urban deployment with private and public sector collaboration to develop the infrastructure. 

    The question of cost and efficiency also comes into play – how will the power supply be priced and regulated? Will there be a benchmark, with maximum resale prices implemented? How will electricity supply and storage meet demand?

    While there are plenty of questions, there are also plenty of opportunities.  The commercial possibilities are varied and many; we’re likely to see EV and battery building plants and factories popping up all over the UK as demand increases. The growth of the EV market also heralds potential new opportunities for small scale producers such as farmers and communities to supply power.

    Perhaps we will eventually see a move towards the full democratisation of the power market, where we as individuals and communities will be responsible for generating our own electricity supplies.

    So what are the next steps? One thing is clear – the policy makers have a lot to get on with.  

    And so do we. We are extremely busy developing financial models and commercial solutions for our clients who are exploring opportunities to combine existing renewable energy generation with storage and charging facilities.

    Many believe that consumers in the future will not only want electricity as a fuel source, they will prefer and be willing to pay a premium for green power. It's all about connecting the dots.