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The impact of EV adoption on the U.S. power grid

Thomas Speidel, ADS-TEC Energy CEO, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss EV power grids and the future of EV charging.

Video transcript

- And we want to keep the discussion going about mobility and travel. But this time in the EV space, and for that, we're going to bring in Thomas Speidel. He is the CEO of ADS Tech Energy. And you know, I got to say, I learned a new phrase today. Because I had heard of range anxiety, but not grid anxiety.

I'm not sure if Adam made that up. But tell us the state of the grid right now. Because it's not nearly in the place that could support, I would say, an ice free or an internal combustion free engine world going into the future. What do we have to do to get it up to speed?

THOMAS SPEIDEL: So thanks a lot for having me here. And let me explain the the things behind the charging issue. So if you want to charge your car within minutes and not within hours, which normally you do at home on your level one or level two charger, then you need a lot of power. So just to give you an idea, to charge for example a Porsche Taycan, in let's say, 15 or 20 minutes, you need power up to 300 kilowatts.

That's about the average of 300 single-family homes. So now everybody can understand that for this demand of power, the grid has not been designed. So what we are facing now is the situation in the grid that people want to charge quick and in minutes everywhere. But the grid has not been designed to provide that amount of energy everywhere.

- We know that we're at least in this country, are about to spend billions of dollars upgrading things like the grid. Is the upgrade going to be sufficient? And how does your company play a role in this? Because you manufacture, and this is my ignorance, but essentially batteries, that store electricity that could then be drawn upon so that you don't have that demand on the antiquated grid?

THOMAS SPEIDEL: So well, just you know, as I said, if you want to have the complete charging power out of the grid, so the grid must be capable to provide this amount of power. But in many cases, that's not possible. So you have two options.

Option number one, you expand the grid, which will be expensive. It takes time. You have to apply for it. And the other option is just to integrate a battery. So the battery is kind of a buffer which allows you to store the electricity coming from the grid, which can be drawn on a low power rate.

We store it in the internal buffer, and as soon as the car is showing up for a recharge, we can boost the electricity which is coming from the grid by the internal buffered electricity. And then this will accelerate the charging process.

- And can you walk us through the timeline here? Do we have in existence a battery technology to support this? Or are we waiting for more advancements? To How far off are we from this solution hitting the streets?

THOMAS SPEIDEL: So we are already in a rollout. We provided these systems already to blue chip customers. So the technology is ready. It can be ramped up now. We see it here on the screen. So it's a cube. It's a battery above, including all the electronics.

And this allows you to even charge up to 320 kilowatt on decentralized sites, which normally cannot give you a quick charge in about minutes. And so I guess if EVs are getting more and more convenient in the major way of driving, then people expect similar or at least a comparable convenient solution to charge the car when they are traveling.

And not only on the Autobahn or on the highway where Tesla and the others are already building these supercharging parks, we expect that to be provided anywhere, wherever we are in the rural countryside, downtown, wherever we are driving, we expect in let's say in about a radius of 10 to 15 miles we expect the possibility to have a recharge and a quick charge in minutes instead of hours.

- I want to recap what we're talking about here. Because it seems you have a solution, which is one, your devices, your batteries, plug into the antiquated grid. And they charge slowly. But they build up enough of a charge so that, God willing one day if I have an electric car, I pull up. I can do a super quick charge at the kind of wattage you've just described in the 15 minutes without causing a brownout on the East Coast.

You have clients in the United States buying your stuff now to get ready for that? Because we've got a lot of people driving EV already.

THOMAS SPEIDEL: Yes, we do. So we shipped already systems to the US. And we just announced a project in the US starting in Florida with Smart City Capitals. And we expect as we see here a lot of new cars will show up. So the amount of electric vehicles will be exploding over the next years. And therefore you need to have the infrastructure.

And as I said it's not possible to expend the grid anywhere on all the sites. It also does not make sense, also from a perspective of resources. It's not possible to expand the grid and to install the superchargers anywhere where we expect as a driver to use them.

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