Bold City: Why the future is electric

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This presentation by Andy Le May was made at the third Bold City mini-conference hosted at The Bank on Harrington Street. Read more here.

Speaker: Andy Le May – Founder and Director of Icologie
Topic: Electric Future

Andy Le May presented on the possibility and the viability of a transport future dominated by electric vehicles. The long-standing and dominant issue with electric vehicles is in how to repower electric vehicles or EV. In a world where coal and non-renewal energy sources are dominating most countries power generation, rising prices and resource scarcity will become a more pertinent issue in the near future for our burgeoning urban populations. Andy Le May, while careful to point out that currently EVs are not without emissions due to current electricity sources, these emissions would cease in a world dominated by renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydropower. The costs of renewable energy sources are now comparable as if not more affordable than traditional coal and nuclear power where decommissioning costs are often not factored into the commissioning costs of new plants. Countries such as Germany are leading the way in renewable energy policy through their feed in tariffs which generate 29 giga watts per annum. This is enormous considering that South Africa’s energy use is currently 40 gigawatts per annum according to Andy.

 Vehicular technology is also advancing to a level that will soon outperform traditionally fuelled vehicles and are quickly rising in market popularity. Car manufacturers such as Mercedes, BMW and Nissan have developed impressive EV technology that will no doubt soon dominate the market as fuel prices continue to rise and renewable energy becomes more affordable and mainstream. Any Le May explains that the future of smart grids allows us to avoid peaks in energy demand by feeding electricity back into the grid from EVs during peak times drawing back again off peak.  This simple but effective solution might be the answer to power shedding and pave the way to renewal energy advances in South Africa.