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THE WHICHEV VIEW: One million battery EVs are now registered for the UK’s roads – Where next?

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By WhichEV

January 2024, the UK automotive sector marked a significant milestone with the registration of the country’s millionth battery electric vehicle (BEV), highlighting a growing trend towards greener transportation. This achievement coincided with an 8.2% increase in new car registrations, totalling 142,876 units, marking the strongest start to a year since 2020 and continuing an 18-month streak of growth.

However, this rise was predominantly seen in the fleet market, which surged by 29.9%, in contrast to a 15.8% decline in private retail sales.

BEVs accounted for 20,935 of the new registrations in January, up 21% from the previous year, bringing the total BEV registrations to 1,001,677 since records began. Despite this growth, the BEV market share of 14.7% for January was slightly lower than the overall performance in 2023. The industry also saw an increase in plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations by 31.1%, while hybrid vehicle (HEV) registrations experienced a minor decrease.

For a deeper dive on this story, head over to WhichEV.

THE WHICHEV VIEW: Mahle seeks to establish global standard for wireless EV charging

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By WhichEV

In a pivotal move for the electric vehicle (EV) charging landscape, SAE International, a revered non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing mobility technologies, has endorsed Mahle’s positioning system as the worldwide standard solution for wireless EV charging. The selection of Mahle’s technology marks a significant leap in achieving standardisation in inductive charging, effectively putting in place the last piece of the wireless charging puzzle – that has kept this option from moving forward for almost a decade.

The key technology, a brainchild of Mahle, addresses a critical hurdle in standardisation. If successful, this could allow for a fast, comprehensive launch for commercial wireless charging – revolutionising battery charging for electric and hybrid vehicles. This recognition by a body like SAE International, underscores Mahle’s prowess in electrification and sets a compelling momentum for the future of e-mobility, as highlighted by Arnd Franz, Chairman of the Mahle Management Board and CEO.

Read this fascinating story in full over at WhichEV…

EV charging infrastructure for fleets – Where to start

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The simple fact is that electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of transport. A recent report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that one battery electric car is registered every 60 seconds and that exponential growth in EVs is being accelerated by fleet sales.

It’s clear that those in the fleet industry are well-versed when it comes to the procurement of EVs. However, this is only one part – albeit vital – in any EV transition plans for fleet operations of all sizes and across all sectors.

The challenge often lies in understanding exactly how, and where to start, when it comes to the implementation of effective EV charging solutions that will resonate with both employers and employees.

For those involved, it may seem as though the transition to EV is a huge task. It doesn’t need to be such a daunting journey. Concerns surrounding EV charging simply shouldn’t stall the rollout of cost-effective, efficient and, most importantly, accessible EV charging infrastructure plans.

There may not be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to EV chargepoint infrastructure – but it is simply about keeping the three ‘Rs’ front of mind – right time, right location, and right speed.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that help from EV and electrical infrastructure specialists – such as SMS – is available.  Working with a trusted partner can make the whole EV transition process simple – helping to deploy and optimise successful small and large-scale EV infrastructure projects from start to finish. From supporting a workable plan and advising on the appropriate EV software and hardware to meet individual fleet needs, to advising on energy trade and supply needs.

If you want to learn more about how SMS can help with your fleet’s transition to EV, please connect with the team at Fleet Summit.

The WhichEV View: Stellantis opens 100% EV-only UK manufacturing plant

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There is a lot of talk in the media about the fact that the UK government has put in place provisions to ensure that every electric vehicle sold in the UK must use material sourced in the UK. That amount needs to be 40% of the total production of each vehicle.
This has led to the opening or commitment to open at least three large-scale EV battery plants. Stellantis has taken this one step further, by committing a £100 million investment in Elsmere Port.
This will be the first 100% EV production plant in the United Kingdom and will create a lot of jobs both inside the factory and the surrounding area and along the supply chains for the plant itself. The initial focus will be on van like products either for personal or commercial use…
To read more about this Stallantis initiative, head over to WhichEV.

IN FOCUS: Teletrac Navman’s EV Readiness Tool 

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By Barney Goffer (pictured), UK Product Manager at Teletrac Navman UK

With the government bringing the ban on selling new petrol and diesel vehicles forward to 2030 and most major UK cities booming with clean air zones or about to launch one, operators need to have a clear understanding on where their fleet stands, and what exactly can be done to maintain an efficient and compliant operation.

From talking to our customer base, we can see a few fleets have ambitious plans to switch everything to electric, while others are waiting and focusing on immediate issues such as supply chain issues and economic challenges. Making greener choices doesn’t need to be this huge overnight change as that can be unrealistic for many fleets. This is more about being empowered with the right data to make the most informed decision for your fleet and your business. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Fleet operators need to be able to make the switch in the most informed and sustainable way, and that’s where technology has a big role to play. Teletrac Navman’s EV readiness tool gives fleet operators all the information they need to be able to look at the full picture and make an informed choice – to begin transitioning now, or to plan for it in the future.

By using smart algorithms to assess trip data, the tool provides fleet operators with insight into the feasibility of switching to EV, amongst other elements including suitable vehicles in-market, total cost of ownership, fuel savings and environmental impact. It examines whether a fleet is viable for switching and rather than providing a blanket yes or no, the customisable platform can offer a forensic analysis of vehicle use-data to provide a phased approach to transitioning to an EV fleet.

As well as having a huge positive impact on emissions and a company’s eco commitments, switching to EV can also save companies time and money if done correctly.

Visit Teletrac Navman’s website for more information.

The WhichEV View: Affordable EVs now arriving with 300+ mile range

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By WhichEV

This multi-award winning MG4 EV design has now been revised with a much stronger power train/battery combination, with the updated version now offering a 323 mile range. That means the car is is likely to be able to complete London>Manchester without stopping – opening up new possibilities for fleet users.

As WhichEV points out in its Care of the Year guide, theMG4 EV costs less than half as much as a Tesla Model Y, and as a result is the more significant new arrival in the last 12 months.

It probably won’t sell as many units as the Model Y even after a full year on the market, but it draws a line in the sand about EV pricing. While the MG4 EV uses some cheap materials and still needs a little more work in its infotainment (albeit much better than before), in every area it’s more than just acceptable.

In fact, it’s great to drive, immensely practical, and – most importantly – sets a new benchmark for EV value. If any car released in the last year sets the direction for electric cars, it’s the MG4 EV. This car comes close to making EVs better than ICE in every way – including sticker price.

Read WhichEV’s full review of the original MG4 EV.

Government mandates and infrastructure investment ‘to fuel EV growth globally’

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Global EV sales reached 7.7 million units in 2022, up from 1.4 million units in 2018, and are anticipated to reach 51.6 million units in 2035, driven by government mandates and infrastructure investments.

That’s according to GlobalData‘s latest report, “Electric Vehicles Market Report, Update 2023 – Global Market Outlook, Trends, and Key Country Analysis,” which reveals that during 2022-35, the total EV market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.9%, whereas the passenger EV segment is expected to register a CAGR of 26.1%.

The commercial EV segment is expected to record a CAGR of 15% during the same period. The sales of battery electric passenger cars are expected to reach 44 million units by 2035 from 7.3 million units in 2022. The sales of battery electric commercial vehicles were 0.4 million units in 2022 and are anticipated to reach 7.6 million units by 2035.

Attaurrahman Ojindaram Saibasan, Power Analyst at GlobalData, said: “The increasing prices of gasoline, growing EV infrastructure, including the number of charging stations, maintenance hubs and facilities related to electric vehicles, and growing concern about environmental pollution are the major reasons behind the increasing adoption of electric vehicles worldwide.”

China is the largest EV market in the world, with annual sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) of five million units in 2022. Being an early adopter of EVs, China has numerous local and international companies offering a range of EV models. The government’s focus on the promotion and adoption of EVs to reduce pollution is another important factor contributing to the growth of the EV market in China.

Saibasan added: “The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is leading the EV market in terms of annual sales globally, followed by Europe and the Americas. In 2022, APAC accounted for 69.3% of the sales, followed by Europe with 19% and the Americas with 10%. The presence of market leader China in the APAC region is the key factor for its major share. The region is anticipated to hold the major share of the market of 41.4%, followed by Europe with 31.6% and the Americas with 19.4% by 2035.”

The US federal government has set a target to make half of all new vehicles sold in the country zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and to establish a suitable network of 500,000 chargers to support the agenda of making EVs more accessible to all Americans for local and long-distance travel.

In 2022, the European Commission and the European Parliament and Council supported a policy of supporting the zero-emission target by implementing all new cars and vans registered in Europe to be zero-emission by 2035. The governments of various countries in APAC are also increasingly investing in electric mobility. In India, Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles (FAME) and FAME-II are the flagship schemes for promoting electric mobility. All these factors bode well for the EV market.

Saibasan concluded: “The increasing concern over environmental pollution and the growing number of targets and policies related to the net zero carbon emission economies of different countries have fuelled the global demand for EVs. Reducing global carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 is consistent with efforts to curb the long-term increase in average global temperatures to 1.5°C.  The global pathway to net‐zero emissions by 2050 requires all governments to improve and effectively employ their climate policies. To reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, countries are focusing on preventing the burning of fossil fuels for transportation and encouraging the use of EVs.”

Image by Lee Rosario from Pixabay

VRA: Tipping point edges closer for EVs on price and buyer interest

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A tipping point is close to being reached where there will be widespread dealer and buyer acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs), with price parity within sight.

That’s what members of the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) were told at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week, with Dale Wyatt, Director of Automobile at Suzuki GB – who presented on issues currently facing motor manufacturers – saying that getting to that place would require a concerted effort on the part of the remarketing sector as well as a range of customer incentives.

“It looks as though used ICE and EV cars will start to reach some kind of price parity over the next year and I expect that trend to equally apply to new cars as we edge towards 2024, Wyatt said. “Price parity will be a key moment as there is still going to be customer resistance to EVs and there will need to be incentives to overcome that.

“Those incentives could take several forms which will depend on where cash is available and what motivates buyers, but it does feel now as though a tipping point is not far away where EVs will just become an everyday part of the car market.”

Peter Smyth, Director at Swansway Motor Group, provided a dealer perspective on current issues. He backed the idea of incentives but said that simply getting better at selling EVs would be crucial.

“It’s not something that is much discussed but what the retail motor industry is really good at, is selling. We have great sales skills and using them will be crucial to making EVs a success, with salespeople in dealerships making the right deal, matching the right customer to the right electric car and the right finance product.

“Of course, there will probably need to be incentives and ‘cash on the bonnet’ in the form of manufacturers’ subsidies will also form part of this story.”

A panel discussion on mental health and wellbeing in the remarketing sector featured Rachel Clift, health and wellbeing director at motor industry benevolent charity BEN; Stephen Whitton, founder of [M]enable, which is the VRA’s mental health partner organisation; and Danielle Grant, training officer at Compass, which provides wellbeing consultancy and training solutions.

The AGM, hosted by British Car Auctions in Perry Barr, Birmingham was attended by 50 delegates in person and more online, making it the organisation’s largest ever event of its kind.

Philip Nothard, chair at the VRA, said: “As every year, we work to make the AGM something of a showcase for the quality of insight that exists within the VRA and we were pleased to see such an excellent turnout and such vibrant discussion.

“Our membership has risen by around 25% in the last year and there is a real sense of momentum around the organisation. We’re now planning our annual VRA Seminar in November, which promises to be a fascinating day.”

Image by Qubes Pictures from Pixabay

EV myths and misconceptions tackled in ATS white paper

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ATS Euromaster has published a White Paper with the aim of unpicking many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding electric vehicles on fleet.

Called EV Mythbusters, the firm has engaged the views of experts in the electrification field to provide a more balanced perspective on fleet electrification as the sector continues to grow.

The latest leasing report from the BVRLA has shown that the overall leasing fleet has grown marginally despite the lack of vehicle supply – by 0.3% – but behind the growth has been the increase in business contract hire (up 4% year on year) and salary sacrifice (up 34% year on year) supported by fleet sales up 39% year on year.

Electric vehicles accounted for 53% of all the new cars that were put onto business contract hire yet, with many of the national media titles continuing to take a strong anti-EV stance, misconceptions freely circulate about the suitability of EVs for fleets.

However, says the tyre and maintenance provider, that doesn’t mean that fleet managers and drivers can simply swap ICE for EV without a change of approach both to fleet management and driving.

“We fully support the move to electrification but there appears to be a high level of misconception disseminated at the moment. This White Paper shines a light on the myths to get to the truth about EV suitability, such as EV battery degradation and appropriateness of commercial vehicles for electrification,” said Jason Chamberlain, sales director at ATS Euromaster. “We’re not suggesting that fleet electrification is an easy task, and it will require a new mindset from both fleet managers and drivers, but it’s not insurmountable, and some of the stories surrounding EVs are at best misinformed or just false. This White Paper helps balance the narrative.”

Among the contributors to the White Paper are Dr Euan McTurk – Consultant Battery Electrochemist at Plug Life Consulting; Paul Kirby – eLCV Expert at EV Essentials; and Philip Nothard – Insight & Strategy Director at Cox Automotive.

The White Paper takes a look at the myths surrounding service, maintenance and repair (SMR), battery degradation, commercial vehicle fleet suitability, and EV residual values, and provides straightforward answers to the many uncertainties of electrification.

Fortescue’s new Banbury facility to focus on powertrains for off-road EVs

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Fortescue is ‘significantly’ expanding its battery and electric powertrain and battery production operations in the UK via an additional facility in Oxfordshire that will create more than 120 jobs.

The expansion is part of Fortescue’s aim to grow its British presence through the recent integration of British manufacturers WAE (formerly Williams Advanced Engineering).

“With Fortescue’s investment, British engineering will be at the cutting edge of the green energy economy with WAE’s battery systems providing world leading technology to the entire global industrial sector,” said Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest. “It is heartening to have the UK’s Trade Secretary today at our factory in Oxfordshire to support this message of British technology excellence for both its people and its highly attractive working environment.”

Following entry-into-force of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Fortescue will open the new site this year in Banbury, significantly expanding its UK manufacturing capability, supplying advanced batteries and electric powertrains globally.

The new location will be focused on production of a wide range of zero-emission products for the off-road sector, including trucks and trains. It will form part of a new global business aimed at driving decarbonisation in all fields of economic activity, while building sovereign capabilities in emerging technology.

The factory will cover over 13,500m2 in total and employ over 120 highly skilled engineers, technicians, apprentices and graduates, with recruitment for the industrialisation programme starting now.

This announcement ensures Australia and the UK build sovereign capability in an area of central importance to future economic development and is another key win of the UK Government’s free trade agenda.

The integration follows Fortescue gearing up to meet growing global demand for the development, manufacture, and supply of advanced electrification technology solutions to the off-highway sector.

The first prototype build is targeted for July/August 2023 with the first mining haul truck module due for completion in August 2023.