Ohme is the preferred charging partner of the Volkswagen Group in the UK
Founder of major charging manufacturer Ohme says investment and incentives can fix cost and supply crisis
Recent investment in renewable energy will ensure the current supply and price crisis can be overcome within a couple of years, founder of intelligent charging provider Ohme, Dave Watson, has told Autocar.
Reflecting on the energy issues currently dominating headlines, Watson said: “Green energy is coming on tap fast. The investment began years ago and the implementation is just around the corner. That investment is just the start, too. The incentives to build more onshore wind and solar have never been greater.
“Yes, of course in the short-term it is very painful. Paying double what you were a year ago cannot be anything other than terrible. The trouble we’re in now is a massive pinch – but it will only last a couple of years because the investment has already gone into creating the renewable energy sources that will solve the crisis.”
Ohme is the preferred charging partner of the Volkswagen Group and Motability in the UK, with its hardware and software uniquely able to activate charging when energy is at its most abundant, and therefore, cheapest at any time of day, ensuring excess energy is stored and – in conjunction with a flexible tariff – saving customers money.
Talking about the energy crisis’s likely impact on electric car sales, Watson said: “Today’s situation is a double-edged sword. The downside is that people are paying more for their energy, so one of the big savings has been undermined. The price cap has been critical, because there was a risk that charging an EV could have become more expensive than filling with petrol or diesel.
“But the higher energy prices and higher volatility also makes the services we provide more valuable to customers and suppliers. We’re not just about energy supply, but managing that supply to best effect, and that’s never been more important. There’s now more value to smart tech.”
Watson also highlighted the importance of selling more electric cars in order to take advantage of their energy storage capacity. “A nuclear power station generates a gigawatt of energy,” he said. “Around 150,000-200,000 electric cars would have the equivalent storage, but of course they won’t all be plugged in at the same time – so let’s say that every 350,000 electric cars equals a nuclear power station of storage.
“Today, in the UK, there have been a million electric cars registered – so that’s the equivalent storage of what three nuclear power stations would generate, and probably now growing by at least a nuclear power station a year, there and ready to balance the grid.
“The only issue you’re left with is incentivising people to plug their cars in. That’s relatively easy: reward them financially and you’ll nudge people in the right direction. Nudges add up to a huge difference and the truth is we’re already making a difference on a small scale. The importance of balancing and flex has never been greater, and everyone plugging in with our cables is doing that. The technology exists. We don’t need a 50-year transition. In fact, I don’t think we even need five.”