For this video podcast, I spoke to Matteo Muratori, Team Lead – Integrated Transportation and Energy Systems Analysis at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) about the lab’s work on electrification. Following are several excerpts from our discussion, which you can view or download below, or listen to in ITunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts or TuneIn.
“We think that mobility is transitioning from being reliant on fossil fuels, which is what we use today for over 95% of our transportation energy needs, to something else. We want to explore what that something else is. That includes biofuels, that includes hydrogen, it includes e-fuels, and it includes electricity. We also want to explore how those future fuels will integrate with the rest of the power system, and the rest of the energy system in general.”
“It’s really going to reach the point where people are going to start realizing hey, this vehicle doesn’t need any gas, doesn’t emit any pollution, our grid is transforming and getting cleaner and cleaner, so even when we consider the emissions from electricity sector, this vehicle is really benefiting the environment. It provides great acceleration, it’s not noisy, it doesn’t smell. I don’t need to do oil changes. I can charge it at home. And look, it costs as much as buying a gasoline vehicle. So adoption is going to really ramp up. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact point in time, but we think the next decade is really when electric vehicles are going to start becoming the mainstream technology for light duty.”
“The electric industry has been experiencing stagnating demand for about two decades. Simply in the U.S., there hasn’t been growth in demand for electricity. We don’t need more than we did 20 years ago. From an industry perspective, it is really a unique opportunity to grow the demand. Growing the demand is surely something that is welcome by the utility industry. You’re basically selling more power.
This is also something that benefits the system in general. If we have higher demand for electricity, we can utilize our assets better. You have higher utilization, you use those power lines more constantly, you use those power plants more efficiently. Especially if you have a flexible load like EVs.
There have been a number of studies that show that EVs can actually reduce the cost of electricity. It doesn’t mean investments are not needed. We still need to build new power plants. But we’re using the overall system in a more efficient way. We all pay a little bit less for the electricity, the system is more efficient, and we think it’s a win/win situation.”