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This study focuses on the consequences of an increased proportion of cars that are fully or partially powered by electricity. It includes a distribution infrastructure and services, power grids and power generation. The electric car itself is both direct and indirect driving investments in the value systems that may globally comprice SEK 5 000 billion in the next ten years. For Swedish industry there are many opportunities in these growth areas: the positions are much stronger in the “electric car world” compared to what the position is today in the “combustion engine world”.
For more than a century, the car and the oil have been important factors in society’s development and crucial driving forces of industrialism. But oil is a finite resource, combustion affects the climate and it is the subject of security policy considerations. These are challenges that have changed the conditions for the car’s continued development.
Replacing the oil with other fuels is a slow process. We can expect continued efficiency, hybrid technology of varying degrees and new fuels for a long time. Among the alternative propellants (e.g. ethanol, methanol, biogas, biodiesel and DME, dimethyl ether) there is one that can, in the foreseeable future and fully, replace oil – electricity. Electricity has the advantage that it can be produced in different ways, without disturbing the environment, and there is an established distribution system that can handle a large number of electric cares today.
In the same way that the petrol car has shaped much of the world we live in today, it is possible for the electric car to take over the baton and move the development towards a better environment and greater energy efficiency. As a driving force, the electric car can affect large parts of the world’s infrastructure and large market values can be released.
The purpose of the present study has been to provide a comprehensive picture and highlight the global market that the transition to the electric car society can create. We have been particularly interested in the consequences for electricity grids, electricity generation and service structures. The ambition is also that the study should serve as a source of knowledge for anyone who wants to get into the subject. The study moves from the car and the batteries to new distribution structures as well as the electricity grids and finally the electricity generation.
For Sweden, it is important to put all these development areas in an international perspective. It is crucial to be able to assess where competitiveness exists, which areas are still open to opportunities and which are not. Swedish companies’ international competitiveness is strongest in value systems outside the automotive industry – especially in power distribution, control systems, automation and communication technology.
Although there is much expertise in areas that are directly related to electric vehicles, e.g. battery technology and vehicle manufacturing, most of the commercialization, manufacturing and technology leadership takes place at foreign companies. A prerequisite for increasing the possibility of a successful Swedish electrified automotive industry within the country depends on innovation ability, attraction of capital and significant investments. This requires political will and clear incentive structures.