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Can the National Grid handle the growing number of EVs on the road?

August 16, 2023

It is estimated that there will be over 100m passenger EVs on the road by 2026. And with the total ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars just four short years after this point and the price of EVs generally falling, an increase in EVs on the road – and therefore needing charging – seems inevitable.

But will there be enough electricity to go round? And can the grid cope with so many cars charging up?

Our national grid is designed to meet peaks in demand – like 6pm on a cold winter evening when lots of people get home, put the heating on and cook tea – so outside of these ‘peaks’ there is already a lot of spare capacity in the system. Wiggle room, if you like, that could definitely be used to charge up a growing number of electric cars.

If a car-charging peak overlapped with an existing routine peak (like an evening meal on a cold night), it’s possible to imagine a system under strain. But that seems unlikely given that the usual time to charge up an EV is at home overnight, when general power demand is at its lowest anyway. Some energy providers are even already offering intelligent charging for the cheapest, greenest (and therefore also most grid-friendly) times – further benefiting both EV drivers, and easing pressure on the grid itself.

In the future V2G (vehicle-to-grid) technology may enhance this even further. V2G means electric car owners can send surplus electricity back to the grid when demand is high, and recharge again when demand is low. Something that is already possible for solar panel owners across the UK. In this context EVs could actually help the grid to meet demand, rather than hinder it.

And the National Grid itself seems confident in its own ability. Apparently the UK reached its peak demand for electricity back in 2002 when it hit 62GW and, since then, improved energy efficiency and advances in renewable energy means our collective demand has fallen by roughly 16% So, it argues, that “even if we all switched to EVs overnight, we believe demand would only increase by around 10%. So we’d still be using less power as a nation than we did in 2002 and this is well within the range of manageable load fluctuation.”

Also key to remember is that any increase in demand won’t happen overnight – the grid is constantly being evolved and upgraded and there’s every indication that the UK Government is committed to supporting EV ownership with a future-proof national grid. It has set the target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – and replacing fuel-burning vehicles with more eco-friendly EVs is a key part of that strategy. 

So YES. We believe the National Grid WILL be able to handle the increasing number of EVs on the road.

Which is great news for the planet, the UK and for us here at Goblin HQ, too. Our charging products rely on the National Grid just as much as the EVs on the road, and we’re confident that a supercharged future is not just possible, but imminent.

Join the revolution by bagging yourself one of our state-of-the-art chargers. Now available on Amazon: