EV NEWS: SEPTEMBER ROUND UP
The news has been awash with Electric Vehicle (EV) developments in September. Here is a summary of the ones that caught our eye.
MORE FUNDING ANNOUNCED
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps announced £12m in R&D funding (including a battery capable of charging in just 6 minutes) An OLEV report commissioned by the government also recommended:
- Dedicated car park spaces for EV drivers, painted green
- An EV car sales website, working with Autotrader, and unsurprisingly
- More charge points in popular destinations
Highways England also launched a £9.3m scheme to allow businesses to try EVs for free before they buy.
WILL THE PUBLIC SWITCH TO EV?
So many surveys and statistics? Will households put their hands in their pockets for an EV? It depends on which report you read!
A survey by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders found that almost half (44%) of UK motorists don’t feel ready to make the switch to electric by 2035. Biggest factors holding back buyers are higher purchase prices (52%), lack of local charging points (44%) and fear of being caught short in longer journeys called ‘range anxiety (38%).
To help public confidence along, the AA has launched a new EV support service, handling calls from drivers at EV charge points who need help.
Yet more numbers… In a Ford survey of 2,000 people, 46% said they did not intend to buy an EV in the future. 53% cited affordability and 51% worried about where to charge. 21% were not considering buying in the next 5 years.
Ford suggested a Minister for Electrification to boost EV take-up.
MORE GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES NEEDED
Urging ministers to drive consumer demand, another report by the SMMT calls on the government to commit to long-term incentives for EV purchases and binding targets on charging infrastructure to tackle concerns over cost and range. They suggest no tax on cars which are capable of zero emissions and a long term commitment to plug-in grants. They also propose hybrids should qualify for financial benefits.
To overcome range anxiety, the SMMT cited 507 new charge points are needed every day until 2035 to ensure consumers are confident they will be able to charge.
SAVINGS MAKE GOOD SENSE
But flipping the survey statistics on their head, Uswitch reported that 12 million drivers are considering swapping to an EV within the next two years.
Looking into customer bills, Uswitch report that EV drivers say charging at home adds £30.90 a month to their bill, an equivalent of £370 a year. But petrol and diesel drivers spend an average of £74.86 on fuel a month, or £898 a year. Adjusting for mileage, suggested saving of £27.48 a month or £329 a year.
GOOD BUSINESS SENSE
Uber Technologies Inc, which has 5 million drivers globally, promises 100% electric vehicles by 2040 but with a target of 2030 for the US, Canada and Europe. Committing $800 million in purchase, leasing and charging discounts, Uber also suggested a fare surcharge for EVs and hybrids offset by an addition fee for customers who request a ‘green trip’.
THE ON-STREET PARKING POSTCODE LOTTERY
A study by Field dynamics in partnership with Zap Map showed that nine out of ten householders that would rely on public charging for EVs are not within walking distance of a charger. The study identified almost 8m ‘on street' residences outside London which don’t have access to ‘off street’ parking. By evaluating walking times to the 7,563 charge points outside London, they showed 90% of the householders were over 5 minutes walk away.
But this comes with a very positive message that this can be easily overcome with careful location planning by Councils when installing on-street charging.
A different study by USwitch flipped the question on its head and explored how many EVs there are for each charging point in 50 UK towns and cities. Using data from DVLA and DfT to approximate the number of EVs in each region, they then ranked the locations.
The top three cities were Bristol (each EV point needed to serve 23 EVs), Milton Keynes (23.4EVs) and Dundee (28 EVs). At the opposite end of the scale were Stoke on Trent (one EV charger for every 268 EVs), Southend on Sea (201.7EVs) and Birmingham (174.9 EVs).
WILL THE GRID COPE?
Energy Asset Networks has highlighted that the projected rapid rise in demand for electricity to power domestic EV charging units could lead to outages. The electrical infrastructure for housing developments are designed to cope with an average peak load of 1.5-2kW per property. However, with moves to green technologies including EV charging and air-source heat pumps, this could rise to 10-15kW.
As a way to avoid expensive network reinforcement and power outages, EAN are trailing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) interface between the network and devices to manage loads at peak times.
WILL COVID CLEAN AIR HELP THE TRANSITION?
There will be no surprise that an American report suggests there is growing demand for EVs is in response to climate change and air quality and that there are risks for businesses who cannot make the transition to be climate friendly.
With tighter travel restrictions during COVID-19, there has been an improvement in air quality from reduced traffic. This has given a clear indicator that transitioning towards a lower-carbon economy is doable and should act as a catalyst for cleaner transport.