Electric vehicles can play a crucial role in the smart energy systems of the future. They produce low or even zero emissions, but as importantly: they carry batteries that can store excess power, or deliver electricity back to the (local) grid. A large number of electric vehicles combined can act as one very big storage system, helping to stabilize the smart energy system.
The showcases in Zaanstad (case study RELoadIT) and Malmö (Smart Homes, each equipped with at least one electric vehicle) have shown how this can be done at a small scale, and what the potential is for upscaling.
The Amsterdam showcase demonstrates that electric boats have a role to play, especially the big battery packs of the professional canal cruise boats.
The challenge is to scale up and get these pilots into the mainstream. Vehicle technology is improving but the high cost of e-mobility and battery load cycle limitations remain barriers that have to be overcome. Scale is also an issue. See the proceedings of the e-harbours conference on e-mobility in Malmö (November 2012).
One of our Point of Departure documents (2010) analyses the potential for electric vehicles.