Deployment of E-HDV’s and their Impact on the Power System

In Europe, Heavy-Duty Vehicles (HDVs) were responsible for more than 25% of road transport emissions in 2019, underlining the urgency to decarbonize this challenging segment by 2050. Ambitious plans are in place to address this, and recent years have witnessed a shift in the market dynamics, with an increasing number of HDV models incorporating hybrid and electric motors. This change signals a pivotal moment for the European HDV market, as it aligns with the broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions and transition towards more sustainable transport solutions.
The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) views electromobility as a crucial tool for decarbonizing the transportation sector and providing flexibility services to the power system. They emphasize the importance of optimal integration between vehicles and the grid to enhance overall efficiency. This perspective aligns with ENTSO-E’s vision of creating a power system that supports a carbon-neutral Europe.

This position paper, focused on Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicles (HDEVs), complements a previous ENTSO-E paper from 2021 on the integration of electric vehicles into power grids.

Source: Deployment of E-HDV’s and their Impact on the Power System | Entso-E

The importance of decarbonizing HDVs

The significance of HDVs in the economy, serving passenger and freight transport, construction, agriculture, and specialized purposes, underscores the need for their decarbonization. Buses and trucks alone contribute approximately 30% of road vehicle emissions. The European Green Deal outlines a strategy for complete decarbonization of HDVs, following the approach taken with passenger cars. This involves using emission-neutral fuels in internal combustion engines or transitioning to electric engines powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. Recent EU legislation, such as the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation and the revision of CO2 emission performance standards for HDVs, reflects a commitment to these goals.

Source: Deployment of E-HDV’s and their Impact on the Power System | Entso-E

Fuel alternatives for HDVs

Among various alternative fuels for HDVs, battery-operated vehicles emerge as the dominant choice due to the maturity of their supply chain. Fuel-cell HDVs are considered uncertain but might find applications in long-haul road transport. The balance between battery and fuel-cell HDV adoption depends on technological readiness and consumer preferences. Internal combustion engine (ICE) HDVs running on biofuels are deemed applicable in specific use cases but are expected to be limited in volume, posing minimal impact on the power system.

Significant implications and considerations

For Transmission System Operators (TSOs), this shift in HDV technologies has significant implications. It affects grid planning, grid operation, and energy system operation due to increased energy load, power peaks, and variability. The recharging infrastructure, along with on-site electrolysers for fuel cell vehicles, serves as a crucial interface that requires coordination in deployment and operation. This involves considerations such as grid reinforcements, smart charging, Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) capabilities, and the integration of digitalized and interoperable chargers.

Source: Deployment of E-HDV’s and their Impact on the Power System | Entso-E

A technical and economic analysis

The position paper, presented from a TSO perspective, conducts a technical and economic analysis covering projections for vehicle and charging infrastructure uptake, consumer requirements, and regulatory and market issues. It introduces a taxonomy of charging use cases, evaluating their impact on electric grids and the broader power system. 

The paper recommends coordinated actions by various stakeholders, including vehicle and battery manufacturers, charging operators, energy aggregators, logistic operators, fleet managers, and regulators. Moreover, it underscores the urgency of coordinated efforts among these stakeholders to address emerging technologies and trends in Zero-Emission Heavy-Duty Vehicles (HDEVs). 

The fast-evolving European policy frameworks require adaptive strategies to successfully navigate the integration of HDEVs, charging infrastructure, and associated technologies. This collaborative approach aims to optimize the benefits of electromobility, contribute to decarbonization, and ensure the resilience and efficiency of the power system in the pursuit of a sustainable and carbon-neutral future for Europe.

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