There
are four main drivers to the shift to electric vehicles:

  1. Government policy
  2. Costs savings and green credentials
  3. Behaviour shift
  4. Technology innovation and adoption

Government policy – The
Government, through the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), operates a
diverse set of programs to encourage the buildout of charging infrastructure in
the UK. At the same time, Highways England has plans to install charging
infrastructure every 20 miles along the major road network as part of its Road
Investment Strategy (Jones, 2015). In 2016, the government announced the Go
Ultra Low Cities scheme, which awarded £40 million to a number of cities to
roll out pioneering initiatives to assist them in becoming internationally
outstanding examples for the promotion of ultralow-emission vehicles. Charging
infrastructure is a key part of the initiatives, with funding made available
for rapid charging hubs, residential and car club charge points, and trials of
various on-street charging initiatives.  At present there is no
UK wide regulatory or legislative requirement for EV charging provision, but
several cities and local authorities have their own requirements.   

The Government
is introducing the Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Bill which proposes powers
to would allow Government to regulate if necessary, in the coming years, to
improve the consumer experience of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to
ensure provision at key strategic locations like Motorway Service Areas (MSAs),
and to require that charge points have ‘smart’ capability. The Bill is progressing
to its third reading in the House of Lords (starting on 13 June 2018) and
incorporates the following key areas:

  • Access to and connections for public EVCPs
    (to require operators to provide an appropriate uniform method of accessing
    public EVCPs);
  • Large fuel retailers and the provision of
    public EVCPs (to require large fuel retailers and service area operators to provide
    public EVCPs and to ensure that public EVCPs are maintained and easily
    accessible to the public);
  • Information about public EVCPs (to address
    the lack of consistency in the content and format of publicly available
    information on public EVCPs);
  • Smarter charge points (to prohibit the sale
    or installation of charge points unless they can meet certain requirements,
    relating to the ‘smart’ functionality of the charge point);

A
number of initiatives to encourage EV and ULEV take-up have already been put in
place by the Government, with road tax and vehicle excise duty exemptions
applying to many EVs

The leading local policy regarding the
inclusion of EVCPs in new developments is the London Plan, with other regional
and local planning documents often taking their lead from it. The London Plan
acts as the overarching planning guidance for the 32 individual London
Boroughs. Since 2011 the London Plan has provided a definition of “active” and “passive”
provision of charge points in different development types.  Where “Active” EVCPs are “An actual socket
connected to the electrical supply system that vehicle owners can plug their
vehicle into” and “Passive” – “The network of cables and power supply necessary
so that at a future date a socket can be added easily”.  There is a summary of local policy in the
appendix.

Costs savings
though the purchase price of EVs is still relatively high the running costs of
EVs is far lower.  This is due to the lower
costs of power versus fossil fuels tax and other road cost benefits.  Because you’re not paying for petrol or
diesel to keep your car running, you can save a lot of money on fuel.  ICE
vehicles also need regular maintenance whereas EVs are far simpler systems and
require lower maintenance.  At the time
of writing, it costs around c£64 to
fill the average unleaded petrol tank for drivers of medium-sized cars in the
UK.  By comparison, depending upon the
electric vehicle you own and the tariff you are on, a full charge of your
electric vehicle could cost as little as 96p. 

Behaviour shifts – Another
key point attracting people to EVs is they want to decrease their personal
carbon footprint and impact on the environment. 
This is particularly true of the Millennial generation.  EVs have no fuel and no emissions.  a shift away from personal car ownership to
one in which road transport is seen more as a service. Were such a shift to
occur, it has the potential to accelerate electric vehicle uptake, as the cars
in such a service model are more highly utilised, and hence the much lower
operating costs of electric vehicles become increasingly important in the
economics.  Early adoption of electric
cars in today’s car-sharing propositions could also provide an opportunity to
help familiarise the public with electric cars, reducing some of the perception
barriers and helping to increase uptake.

Technology innovation and adoption
The rate of technological development in EVs and associated infrastructure is
manifesting itself in lower cost, faster charging times and increased range
through larger batteries.  With each
development, EVs are become a more viable alternative to ICE vehicles and
driving the uptake due to the further benefits of EVs over ICE vehicles. 

A report by Deloitte, claims the electric
vehicle market will reach a “tipping point” in 2022, when the cost of owning a
BEV will equal that of owning a gas or diesel vehicle. The analysis comes from
Deloitte, which also foresees EVs grabbing ten percent of the total market by
2024.  The report points to future
emission targets and fuel economy standards, financial incentives, and future
city access restrictions as being the major drivers of this point.

Regarding those access restrictions, it’s
pointed out that about 20 major cities have already announced plans to ban gas
and/or diesel vehicles by 2030 in city centres or sooner.  The second factor is customer demand.
Deloitte’s report analyses various customer concerns, including driving range,
cost premium, and charging infrastructure/time. Demand is expected to increase
over time based on the expected future progress in batteries and battery
systems. Presumably, customer anxieties will ease around the time of this
prospective tipping point.

Leave a Reply