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‘Range & charge point anxiety’ a prevailing urban myth among fleet drivers

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

While many company car drivers are genuinely interested in the benefits of driving an electric vehicle, the UK’s charging structure still creates concern for 69 per cent of those motorists polled.

The findings, from a survey by Venson Automotive Solutions, come as Nissan reports there are now more EV charging stations (9,199) in the UK than conventional fuel stations (8,396) and the Department for Transport reports that at present, the UK has a network of more than 24,000 public charging connectors in nearly 9,000 locations. 

In addition to highlighting a wide misconception that there is a lack of EV charging points across the UK, the Venson survey also reports preconceptions regarding limited battery range which came a close second; 57 per cent of those surveyed reported this was still a barrier when considering an EV.  

However, according to Go Ultra Low, the range of 100% electric cars is rapidly improving. Huge advances in battery technology and falling costs mean this will continue to grow.  Today, virtually all Go Ultra Low pure electric cars can drive over 100 miles with ease on a single charge; some of the latest models are closer to 200 miles or more.  

Alison Bell, Marketing Director at Venson Automotive Solutions, said: “With charging and battery range concerns abated, EV fleets should now be far more appealing to businesses.  The revised BiK charges which sees zero-emission electric vehicle tax liability for company car drivers fall from 2 per cent to 0 per cent for the tax year 2020-21, will also appeal to company car drivers which should boost demand for EVs in the next 12 months.”

Further good news is that 86 per cent of motorists surveyed said that a ‘lack of clarity in terms of ownership implications as a company car driver’ is a thing of the past, and more than two thirds of drivers said that they had a good understanding of the costs and convenience of owning an EV.  

Dealerships are also making it easier for fleet managers to promote a charge towards electric – only 13 per cent of motorists cited lack of ‘try before you buy’ options as an obstacle to purchase and only 5 per cent of people surveyed said they are worried about manufacturer lead times in acquiring an EV.  

Bell concluded: “Whilst our survey findings confirm a greater willingness by company car drivers to adapt to an EV world, there are still some ownership concerns. 41 per cent of people we surveyed expressed concern over the practicalities of being able to charge their vehicle at home.  And 30% per cent said they had concerns over service, maintenance and repair costs.”

The Venson Automotive Solutions ‘Plug-In Vehicle Guide’ is free and can be downloaded here. 

Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

Funding for on-street EV charge points doubled

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The government is to fund an additional £2.5 million towards the installation of over 1,000 new EV chargepoints, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed.

The funding will support the on-street residential chargepoint scheme, launched in 2017, which helps people access charging infrastructure near their homes when they don’t have off-street parking.

It will go towards helping local authorities to install these chargepoints, which can be built into existing structures like lamp-posts. The scheme aims to encourage even more people to choose an electric vehicle by making it easier to charge their cars near home, following a 158% increase in battery electric vehicle sales compared to July last year.

The scheme has already seen 16 local authorities prepared to install 1,200 chargepoints this year. The Transport Secretary is now doubling funding for the scheme to meet demand and accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles as the UK moves towards net zero emissions by 2050 and further improve air quality.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It’s fantastic that there are now more than 20,000 publicly accessible chargepoints and double the number of electric vehicle chargepoints than petrol stations, but we want to do much more.

“It’s vital that electric vehicle drivers feel confident about the availability of chargepoints near their homes, and that charging an electric car is seen as easy as plugging in a smartphone.

“That’s why we are now doubling the funding available for local authorities to continue building the infrastructure we need to super-charge the zero emission revolution – right across the country.”

The allocation of funding for on-street residential chargepoints is part of the £1.5 billion investment underpinned by the Road to Zero Strategy. The strategy consists of one of the most comprehensive packages of support for the transition to zero emission vehicles in the world, supporting the move towards a cleaner, greener, accessible and reliable UK transport network.

As part of this, the government is also investing £37 million into British engineering to develop electric chargepoint infrastructure that it says could rapidly expand the UK chargepoint network for people without off-street parking and put the UK on the map as the best place in the world to own an electric vehicle.

Innovations to receive investment include underground charging systems, solar powered charging forecourts and wireless charging projects.

What does the future of electric vehicles look like?

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What can we expect from our electric automobiles? Well, the concept of the electric car may have been around for over 100 years, but it’s only now that it is becoming a driving force in the car industry. With so many technological advances, cars are rapidly changing, with fully autonomous cars set to be rolled out by 2020. Lookers, who provide Mercedes Benz Serviceplans, take a further look… 

How possible is an all – electric future?

Last year, there was an 27% increase in purchasing electric cars compared to the previous year.  However, if the government is to reach its target of three out of five cars being electric in just over 10 years, it’s argued that more must be done to make this a reality. 

An all-electric future is likely to happen in the near future. Ministers were informed earlier this year that most new cars would have to be electric by 2030

In fact, the buzzword was ‘electrification’ at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. This meant that every car of a certain brand will be available in an electric version. While there are currently models, such as the smart caravailable under its umbrella, Mercedes, parent company, Daimler, announced at the German event that they too would have electric versions of its own fleet by 2022. There’s plenty available! 

However, this didn’t necessarily mean that they would be a fully electric battery-powered vehicle, as the term could also refer to hybrid models. 

Why are electric cars so popular?

Electric cars need a lot less maintenance care, as they have 10-times fewer moving parts to cars powered by diesel or petrol. Also, the prices are steadily coming down, making the initial outlay a lot less hefty. Another perk is that since electricity is a renewable energy, there will always be power available to utilise.

Why is an electric future becoming increasingly likely to happen? 

Protecting the environment has become a worldwide issue – and rightly so. Whether it’s cutting back on unnecessary plastic usage, or cutting back on emissions, creating a greener environment is at the forefront of our plans. 

Electric motors are widely seen as a way for us to improve the quality of our air and meet climate goals, and the production of new diesel and petrol cars is planned to cease by 2040. It has been proposed that these vehicles will be off the roads altogether 10 years later. With emission charges already in place in London, other major motorways, including the M4 and M32, are expected to start holding pollution taxes by 2020, meaning that you’ll need to switch to electric cars to avoid these costs.

Purchasing an electric car can personally save you money in the long term and Go Ultra Low also claims that a full charge could cost as little as £3, meaning it may cost approximately 3p per mile. 

What is being done to help with this?

It was reported in February last year that there were approximately 12,000 electric car charging points across the UK. By July this year, that figure had risen to over 17,000 across 6,000 locations, according to ZapMap

Worldwide, there are over two million ports, but for the public to go fully electric, this number will have to dramatically increase. Not only that, but there will have to be a lot more batteries produced, and the power to charge them would have to be generated somewhere.This highlights that EV charger installationis now a big part of the action plans for power companies as they bid to provide a low-carbon connection gateway.

It’s clear that, one day, there will be an all-electric future. Whether it happens in the time frame proposed, we will just have to wait and see!

Sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41268513

http://uk.businessinsider.com/google-apple-tesla-race-to-develop-driverless-cars-by-2020-2016-7?r=US&IR=T

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42709763

www.alphr.com/cars/1008121/electric-and-hybrid-car-sales-hit-record-numbers-in-2017

https://www.goultralow.com/category/ownership/savings/

https://news.sky.com/story/petrol-and-diesel-cars-banned-from-uk-roads-by-2040-10962075

EV battery capacity up by 50kWh

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Frost & Sullivan research reveals battery capacity has increased by more than 50kWh across all plug-in hybrid/battery electric vehicles (PHEVs/BEVs), while 150+kW batteries now come with fast-charging capabilities.

These advances in battery technologies are creating a parallel need for a battery thermal management system (BTMS) to ensure higher mile range, longer life, and superior battery performance.

While passive thermal management, such as air-cooled systems, will be the key technology for HEVs, liquid cooling and active thermal management will be popular among PHEVs and BEVs.

“The use of liquid glycol through cooling tubes and plates between modules will not only help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) maintain battery efficiency but also allow their vehicles to achieve compliance with stringent battery standards,” said Arvind Noel Xavier Leo, Industry Analyst, Mobility. 

“In the future, OEMs will adopt active thermal management systems that centralise all thermal needs for battery, motor, power electronics, and cabin temperature.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, ‘Global Analysis of Electric Battery Market and Battery Thermal Management System for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, Forecast to 2025,’ provides in-depth analyses of BTMS and highlights the current and future products of manufacturers. The study covers the markets of Europe (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), China, South Korea, Japan, and North America (the United States).

“Prismatic cells are the most preferred cell structure due to their high energy density and compact packaging, and present significant opportunities for high-end passive BTMS due to their thermal instability,” noted Leo. “Most OEMs are outsourcing battery cells for EVs and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and assembling the module and pack in-house. LG Chem, Panasonic, Samsung SDI, and Sanyo will be the key cell suppliers for western OEMs, whereas BYD, CATL, and CALB will be the key battery manufacturers in China and will look to adopt western OEM technology.”

More information on the analysis can be found here: https://go.frost.com/EI_PR_KCekani_MDD0_ElectricVehicle_Mar19

Confusion over laws & regulation impacting EV adoption

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Confusion around regulations on electric car adoption is actually preventing environmentally friendly vehicles from taking off in the UK.

According to research from YouGov Custom, only 2% of households currently own a hybrid car, with only 1% owning an electric.

Laws that will eventually ban diesel and petrol cars are slowly being introduced around the world, however the report says a lack of financial incentives and limited choice is also preventing growth within the electric/hybrid market.

41% of those polled admitted that they were “somewhat likely” to buy a hybrid car next, while only 19% said the same about purchasing an electric vehicle.

The YouGov research found that there were three main barriers preventing people form purchasing environmentally friendly automobiles: confusion surrounding financial benefits; incentives not being attractive enough; and a lack of choice.

Almost three-quarters (74%) said that the initial cost of the car discouraged them from purchasing a vehicle, along with 52% that were put off by the expense of charging the vehicle at home.

Changes to legislation back in October 2018, which scrapped grants for new plug-in hybrids and reduced discounts on electric cars also added to car owners concerns. A third (36%) of the total population say they’re less likely to consider a hybrid/electric vehicle for their next purchase and this rises to four in ten (40%) among petrol and diesel owners.

Finally, the lack of choice has done nothing to help elevate sales here in the UK. Ford currently has 13% share of the market, along with Vauxhall with 10%. However, only 4% or 1% would consider either a hybrid/electric car from either manufacturer respectively.

One car manufacturer who is embracing the hybrid/electric car market is Toyota, who already have seven models available. 7% of those polled considered the manufacturer when choosing an electric vehicle, which happens to be the same percentage of existing drivers who currently own a model by the Japanese brand.