That’s one of the reasons why the solution is proving attractive to the oil companies, which Sosinov said are currently in a “cold war” with the utility companies as they stop oil exploration and instead invest in decarbonisation and alternative energy.
“These oil and gas companies have a real threat to their business ahead of them,” said Sosinov. “If they can’t supply hydrocarbons, they need to start supplying electrons. That’s very uncomfortable for the oil and gas players, because traditionally they controlled all the way from exploration to extraction to refining and downstream to your vehicle. They controlled the whole thing.
“Costs were in their hands, and now all of a sudden they’re supplying this new commodity: electrons. They don’t control anything upstream from that. They don’t control the production of electricity or the distribution of it; that’s a utility.”
The utility companies get to fix the electricity costs, and it takes time to change their tariffs. EV charging means power demand spikes, which can trigger higher tariffs.
One way to deal with that is to buy the utilities, which we’re already seeing, with Shell buying First Utility in the UK. Another is to use a solution that allows you to manage the charging costs in a way that suits you – and that’s where battery storage comes in.
“Companies are saying that if utilities don’t want to price the energy the way they want it priced right now, they will store it in the batteries and just grab energy from the utility in the middle of the night,” Sosinov said.
That might all seem like a smart decision for the oil companies, but it could also mean good news for EV owners. Instead of those charging spikes, battery storage means consistent electricity usage, which makes costs more predictable and avoids the high demand rates. That could mean more competition between charging facilities in the same way as fuel prices are displayed at forecourts today.
Another factor is reliability. Many councils and businesses invested in chargers, but with costs rising, they aren’t renewing their operation and maintenance contracts, leading to many chargers becoming redundant.