There will be a rapid growth in electric vehicles, and so there will also have to be a rapid growth in EV charging solutions.
As we entered 2020, the vast majority of cars on UK roads were still powered by petrol or diesel engines; there were relatively few battery electric vehicles. However this situation is due to change very quickly: there will be a rapid growth in electric vehicles, and so there will also have to be a rapid growth in EV charging solutions.
Here are some reasons why we’re about to experience a much quicker rise in EV numbers than many people expect.
Benefit in Kind tax rates for pure electric company cars reduced to zero percent in April 2020. When combined with the much lower running costs of EVs compared to petrol and diesel cars, switching to an EV will save company car drivers – and companies – thousands of pounds per year, and the whole-life costs of EVs will, in most cases, be much lower than petrol and diesel equivalents. This will drive a substantial growth in sales of EVs as company cars, and today’s company cars are tomorrow’s private cars. EVs will also deliver much lower running costs for private motorists.
Although there has been a growing range of EVs on sale up until 2020, there has been limited availability of many makes and models. This is set to change in 2020 as car manufacturers will have to meet strict EU fleet CO2 emissions targets. This will mean they will have to sell more cars with lower emissions, or they will have to pay huge fines. This will result in improved availability of EVs. In stark contrast to previous years, manufacturers may have to market EVs in preference to petrol or diesel cars.
There has been growing awareness about the problems of poor air quality over recent years and now a large number of cities in the UK are currently consulting on Clean Air Zones. There are already zones in operation in cities such as London which result in high charges for the most polluting vehicles. Such initiatives will result in more car – and van – drivers adopting EVs.
Due to the challenges of local air quality and climate change, the UK government has recently proposed a ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars – including plug-in hybrids – by 2035, which may, in reality, come into effect from 2032. This may sound far off, but from a car manufacturer’s point of view, this is less than two model changes away. This will encourage people to start thinking about their next car now – along with the potentially worsening future resale values of petrol and diesel cars – so accelerating the uptake of pure electric cars between today and 2032.
When most people try an EV for the first time they prefer the driving experience to that of a petrol or diesel vehicle. This is because EVs are virtually silent, they’re very refined, and they have instantly available torque, which means strong, linear acceleration. And there’s no clutch and no changing of gears. In summary, they find EVs easier and better to drive. This feedback is typical for people trying both electric cars and electric vans. Once people have driven an EV the vast majority don’t want to go back to a petrol or a diesel vehicle.
Due to factors such as the above, we’re all likely to be driving EVs sooner than many people think. If the growing numbers of EVs were all plugged into the grid at the same time – between 5pm and 7pm in the evening – then it’s likely that there would be an issue with grid capacity – especially at a local electricity network level.
Smart charging – as trialled by the original Electric Nation project – will help to avoid this situation. However vehicle to grid charging will be more effective than smart charging. This will help to transform EVs from being seen as a problem in relation to grid capacity issues to being a solution, by the ability to link them together to put significant levels of energy back into the grid at peak times like a huge decentralised power station – and in the process helping the grid to minimise its reliance on fossil fuels and to use more renewable energy.