Down memory lane
On a bright Summers day in 1991, on the shore of Lough Neagh not far from the village of Derrymacash in Co Armagh, I’m starting the wiring installation on a fabulous new house. Perched on the roof, with the river Bann nearby, nestled between rolling fields and ramparts this is truly a beautiful and tranquil place. As an electrician in those days using portable generators fuelled by petrol to supply lighting and power tools was the norm (not so many cordless options back then!). I gave little thought to decarbonization or air quality, how times are changing! Imagine a world with clean sustainable off grid power supplies and zero emissions transport!
From a personal point of view, the process of installing my own charge point at home and being more in control of ‘fuelling’ my vehicle whilst contributing to a cleaner environment has been a very satisfying experience.
Fast forward to 2019 and Siemens is about to showcase electric vehicle (EV) chargers at the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed! EV charging is probably not the first thing you associate with the sorts of high speed, powerful Formula One cars that have been frequenting Goodwood since 1993 but it’s a huge step forward in the drive (excuse the pun!) towards zero-emission transport of the future.
As well as EV chargers, I’m really excited that we’ll be showcasing a host of advanced environmentally sustainable technologies that could change the landscape of festivals like this in the future.
Festivals like Goodwood are essentially held in a field (where sheep are normally grazing!) so transforming the space into the world’s largest car event is a challenge. This year, instead of the usual diesel generators, we are helping to reduce the carbon footprint by supplying an off grid hydrogen fuel cell that will power our EV charging system in the First Glance Paddock. In turn this will then charge our own 1979 vintage Volkswagen Bull-E (sure to impress the campers in the crowd), and the world’s quietest American Chopper – the eChopper – will be showing its mettle in the famous Hillclimb. You can find out more about what we’re up to at Goodwood 2019 here – www.siemens.co.uk/goodwood.
Speeding towards zero-emission transport
As you will have seen in the media, the decarbonisation of transport is a hot topic and with EV’s expected to become cost competitive by 2025, this ‘EV train’ is gathering pace. The world’s first ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) was launched in London on 8th April this year, with its boundary expected to be significantly extended in 2021. By the end of 2019 Transport for London aims to have 240 electric buses running and by 2037, all buses in London will be zero-emission. Consequently, the energy networks are poised for a once in a generation roll out of new smart EV charging infrastructure. It certainly looks like the future is electric.
What does this mean for Siemens?
We have combined our expertise in the construction of power grids with state-of-the-art hardware, advanced technology and digital capability to deliver a digitally integrated EV charging system. We’ve integrated our hardware, technology and competence to generate value for EV customers.
Our EV Digital Management system is unique in the market. It’s a smart, cloud-based platform that facilitates the operation of chargers through the visibility of performance, showing operators how they’re being used, when they’re being used and how they’re functioning. The combination of hardware + technology + competence allow us to build and operate a bespoke system for customers that’s customized to their specific needs.
Site constraints? Not a problem.
When customers come to us with site constraints such as a lack of grid capacity Siemens’ EV digital management system can help to provide an intelligent way of managing EV power demand. This platform is a powerful tool which coordinates large numbers of EVs during the charging process. Typical applications include car parks and fleet depots.
As more depots & fleets become electrified, owners will need more than just a straightforward, off-the-shelf EV charging system. This is where we come in… They’ll need to consider a system like ours that can integrate a wide variety of technologies, vehicles, buildings and resources, including energy storage & solar.
What’s the fuss about storage?
Why is battery storage becoming more important in EV infrastructure? Imagine you are the owner of a fleet of vehicles and have a depot to house them in… More often than not there will be a limit to how much power can be drawn from the grid, this is known as a grid constraint – you cannot exceed peak power capacity.
Co-locating battery storage with the chargers has several benefits not least helping to accelerate the transition to EV fleets. At times of low demand, power can be drawn from the grid to the batteries. When demand hits peak time and thousands of people are needing electricity, power can be drawn back from the batteries to operate the chargers. Leveraging infrastructure in such an intelligent way manages the EV fleet and can also facilitate opportunities to provide services back to the grid. As the number of EVs increases, the availability of power and how we store and manipulate the sources is becoming ever more important.
The investment in batteries for storage also has a positive cost implication: if power is being drawn during off-peak times it can cost less too, Bonus!
Leading by example.
It would be a great missed opportunity if, after waxing lyrical on electric vehicles and investing in the development of EV technology, Siemens didn’t have a fleet of EVs to show off. Businesses own over half of all registered vehicles on the road, which makes big business a big problem if there’s a lack of commitment to change.
To show our commitment, all Siemens employees with company cars can only select hybrid or full electric when renewing their leases – moving more and more of our fleet to electric. Improving our fleet emissions is one of the ways which Siemens is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030 – find out more www.siemens.co.uk/carbonneutral
Seeing the opportunities.
Something I am particularly proud of is our work with Ubitricity at the end of 2018, when we introduced electric vehicle charging to lampposts in some of London’s busiest streets. The project is an important step in making living with and owning an electric car in the city easier. London also benefits from better air quality and charging points are more accessible, easy to use and easy to find! This inspired concept means existing infrastructure and shared electricity supply is used to cut the cost of deployment.
Now, with Siemens EV charging infrastructure and the support of Siemens Financial Services we are in a strong position to offer innovative commercial models to help customers achieve their EV objectives. For example, removing that upfront infrastructure cost helps our customers manage their expenditure in a more OPEX friendly way. By delivering an end-to-end service that leverages integrated technologies and advanced digital capabilities, we can truly support customers in reaching their zero-emission targets.
So, what will The Goodwood Festival of Speed look (or rather, sound) like on its 40th anniversary in 2033? I’m optimistic that if we act now, Goodwood and the Orchard county of Armagh and the remainder of these Islands will offer a healthy and clean environment to live in the years to come. Watch this space!
Written by Bernard Magee, Siemens