There have been growing concerns reported recently about how electric vehicles (EV) will not solve the UK’s air pollution problem, or at best, only move the problem to other areas. With the Government planning to ban new diesel and petrol car and van sales by 2040, the increased demand for electricity to power these vehicles simply ‘shifts’ the problem to the grid. In other words, the reduced nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere is replaced by a potential increase in carbon dioxide (through increased energy generation).
Today, around half of the UK’s energy is generated from low-carbon sources and whilst this figure is rising, for the Government’s ambitions to be truly effective, we must aim to power electric vehicles from sources that are as close to ‘carbon-free’ as possible.
Whilst we await further Government support and strategies to push the UK’s energy mix closer towards this target, businesses can still take actions into their own hands by considering solar PV generation onsite to complement electric vehicle charging points in their car parks for the benefit of staff, visitors and their own EV fleet.
Whether a company already has solar PV installed and now looking at EV charging points, or vice versa, the two technologies are very complementary; ‘green energy’ powering ‘green vehicles’. Solar PV, of course, also provides additional financial and environmental benefits which will support a business’ decision to invest, particularly when combined with battery storage solutions.
There are further concerns amongst environmentalists that despite the UK gearing up towards an EV future, it’s the particle pollution from wearing tyres, brakes and road surfaces – regardless of vehicle type – that isn’t being addressed if we really want to make a significant impact on air pollution.
While this is a good argument and puts more pressure on vehicle manufacturers to provide solutions, businesses can, in the meantime, help the UK move closer to cleaner air by providing EV charging facilities and generating/storing their own green energy onsite.