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Discussion – 


Discussion – 


What is driving the change to EVs?

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.




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