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By 2030 EVs represent more than 60% of vehicles sold globally, and require an adequate surge in chargers installed in buildings

Part of Technology and innovation pathways for zero-carbon-ready buildings by 2030

About this report

This analysis is part of a series from our new report, Technology and innovation pathways for zero-carbon-ready buildings by 2030, and provides the strategic vision of experts from the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) on how to help achieve some of the most impactful short-term milestones for the buildings sector outlined in the IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 Roadmap; each report’s title reflects one of these milestones. Learn more about the report and explore the TCPs.

Highlights

Sales of new internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles are halted in 2035 in the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE Scenario). In parallel, the share of EVs in total sales needs to reach around 60% by 2030 to stay the course and reach net zero CO2 in 2050. At the end of 2021, the number of electric cars on the road exceeded 16.5 million. The global electric car stock expands to almost 350 million vehicles by 2030, but future growth will hinge on efforts to diversify battery manufacturing and critical mineral supplies to reduce the risks of supply bottlenecks and higher prices.

Mass adoption of EVs will require regulatory support that advances installation of chargers in residential and commercial buildings, as well as workplaces. The deployment of charging infrastructure, especially in densely populated urban areas, will be driven by city codes and local policies. Building codes and regulations will require the installation of EV chargers in new constructions and renovations, where feasible. 

Relevance

Electrifying road transport offers numerous benefits, including not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also lessening the dependence on fossil-fuel-based sources. It also plays a significant role in facilitating the transition towards more sustainable energy systems (e.g. demand response with EV charging).

For instance, in June 2022, members of the European Parliament voted to support the ban on the sales of diesel and petrol cars starting in 2035. Since EVs are currently the most promising technology to replace ICE vehicles, charging infrastructure needs to expand substantially to meet projected growth in demand. Private passenger use is one of the most advanced EV markets, and buildings play an important role in supporting this organic shift through the investment in charging infrastructure. Approximately 89% of global EV charging stations are private, located in places where access is the most convenient, such as at home or office buildings. To make EV chargers more accessible and affordable, urban planners, building developers, and electrical-equipment suppliers must integrate charging infrastructure into standard building design plans.

Current state

The location of charge points will continue to expand beyond single-family homes to all types of buildings. It will be crucial to include or increase charging points in buildings such as apartment complexes, offices, parking lots or commercial centres. Recharging at home and at work is generally the most convenient and least expensive option for EV owners. Although massive deployment of electric vehicles will eventually lead to the need for investments in transmission and distribution grids (due to increased demand), time-of-use electricity tariffs or ideally real-time electricity pricing would nudge users to take the advantage of electricity demand flexibility that EVs have. When distributed energy sources are deployed and used for EV charging, the negative impact on grids could be limited (even though special attention has to be paid to monitoring and balancing with high number of prosumers).

Growing stock of EVs will see sales of chargers rise in tandem. In 2021, China led the electric car market with 3.3 million. When analysing the building charging infrastructure, alternate current (AC) Level 1 (L1) and Level 2 (L2) chargers are the dominant technologies. L1 chargers are standard equipment of EVs supplied by automobile manufacturers. L2 chargers might frequently be purchased directly from car manufacturers and, in some cities, it is a necessity in new or renovated buildings. L1 is the slowest type of charging equipment; it plugs directly into a standard 120 V or 240 V AC outlet. L2 chargers can either operate on single-phase or three-phase AC, thus the voltage can vary based on region from 120 V to 240 V, and from 380 V to 480 V, respectively. It is expected that by 2030, L1 and L2 charging will remain dominant in the building EV charger market.

Challenges

In addition to the high upfront costs, many EV users have the added expense of investing in charging infrastructure in their homes or buildings. Moreover, costly grid connections for parking lots in buildings are currently one of the biggest barriers to faster EV adoption. New initiatives, where the chargers are building assets, would decrease the investment needed to enable home or office EV charging. Furthermore, the possible smart charging, including V2G/V2B (vehicle to grid/vehicle to buildings), is a potential energy asset and new business models as aggregation could alleviate the total cost of ownership (TCO).

In addition, to enable the maximum impact of transport electrification, EVs should be considered a distributed energy resource. The batteries inside the cars give the opportunity to increase the renewable penetration, by coordinating energy generation and demand, and to exploit the flexibility with grid services (V2G) or aggregation policies. These new paradigms and business models should be accompanied by the necessary regulatory changes and electricity market adaptation. To allow for an EV to be designated as a distributed energy resource, the charging point should be integrated in the building energy management system.

Challenges also exist at the technology level. While L1 and L2 chargers are expected to continue providing most of the energy powering electric cars, several new technologies and challenges are arriving:

  • Dynamic power management of charging events necessitates the need to manage a mass deployment of electro mobility, which uses electric powertrain technologies and connected infrastructures to enable the electric propulsion of vehicles and fleets, and to avoid peak power or congestion issues.
  • Identification, payment, interoperability are essential to facilitate the charging to the users, with user-centric solutions.
  • New protocols like the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) and communication standards such as ISO 15118 are in place, and cars and chargers need to adapt to them to allow all enabled functionalities.
  • V2B and V2H chargers that allow vehicles being discharged to the home/building are required, enabling flexibility, exploitation and grid services.
  • Wireless charging and other new charging technologies that will arrive in the next several years and could enter into the building charger market. 
Innovation themes covered by the IEA TCPs
  • Research on building energy management systems for aggregating EV loads and provide flexibility services.
  • Demonstration of V2B/V2H/V2G controls systems to allow their mass deployment.
  • Investigate and test new business models that decrease total cost of ownership for EV owners.
  • Define interoperability standards and protocols development.
  • Develop integration of EV chargers in building codes.
Policy recommendations

Strategies

Policy recommendations

Market creation and standards

 

Include requirements for EV chargers pre-equipment in buildings regulation

Building codes. Include EV and/or plug loads in the calculation boundary for zero-carbon-ready buildings (ZCRB) codes.

Building regulations. Adoption of regulations that require new or renovated buildings to include the obligation for allowing parking spots for EV chargers.

Review regulation to include EV as distributed energy resource

Regulations. Enable the aggregation of EVs as a distributed energy source, and the participation in energy markets and flexibility services.

Planning instruments

 

Integrate EV charging spatial planning within local energy planning

Planning and development. Develop plans to coordinate increased EVs with chargers’ diffusion by easing the procedure for installation in buildings. Local authorities should support the cabling for residential and office buildings in all parking slots.

Economic and financial instruments

 

Develop business models

New business models. Provide regulatory and financial resources needed to support EV and building integration for new business models.

Time-of-use or real-time electricity pricing

Tariff structures. Smart tariff design means pricing both energy and network services to serve EV customers. Adopt and apply dedicated tariff structures for EV charging and require time-varying tariffs.

Smart charging technology

Deployment of smart infrastructure. Set criteria to fund charging infrastructure deployment based on minimum smart management requirements.

Analysis