Over the last couple of years, electric vehicles (EVs) have seen a remarkable surge in demand in the UK. In 2013, new registrations of EVs reached 3,500. Fast forward four years to July 2017, and new registrations for plug-ins have already reached over 500,000 for the year. This growth is expected to continue, with registrations forecast to reach 219,000 units by 2021.
But why has the UK market seen such significant growth in such a short space of time?
The rise of EVs
The war on diesel has played a role in the rise of EVs. Following ‘diesel gate’ and combined government pressure, the environmental effects of diesel have come under fire. As a result, people are beginning to question diesels environmental credentials.
This coupled with growing interest amongst consumers for EVs, is one of the reasons why we’ve seen such a significant rise in demand. Interestingly, analysis of interest in the ownership of EVs is peak amongst men. Results from a survey of 1,435 adults aged 17+ with a driving license revealed that 44% of men recorded an interest.
And with demand, comes supply. As demand from consumers rises, more manufacturers are beginning to offer EVs in their model range to get a piece of the growing market. Volvo have even announced that from 2019, all new Volvo cars will have an electric powertrain. So with options increasing, consumers are more likely to find a model that suits their needs.
In addition, consumers and businesses are generally becoming more environmentally aware. For businesses with a vehicle fleet, setting a benchmark for low CO2 emissions is an important element in their fleet policy. Due to the minimal tax costs and environmental damage from EVs, it’s no surprise to see more businesses beginning to integrate them into their fleet.
And not forgetting service, maintenance and repair (SMR) implications. Fleet News revealed in their recent edition of Electric Fleet, that EVs can have significantly lower SMR, with estimated savings of 25%-to-40% compared to petrol or diesel cars.
However, concerns still remain.
The disadvantages of EVs
Following a survey conducted by Mintel where the same 1,495 adults aged 17+ were asked about the disadvantages of EVs, there seemed to be a reoccurring theme: charging.
Of the 1,495 adults, just under half (42%) expressed that the time taken to charge is their biggest concern. Moreover, the accessibility and adequacy of charging points is another big concern with 39%. In fact, the five biggest disadvantages were all related to charging, including the cost of charging.
Addressing the charging concern
Positive steps are being taken to reduce the disadvantages associated with EVs, namely the time, accessibility, and cost of charging.
Manufacturers are trying to address these concerns by developing models that can deliver greater driving ranges. Tesla recently announced that the new Tesla Model 3 will achieve 220 miles, whilst the long range version adds an extra 90 miles to the range.
Following sustained government and private investment, charging points have become more accessible. In 2011, there were only a few hundred dotted around the UK, whereas this has increased to more than 4,300 charging locations, 6,700 charging devices, and 12,500 connectors by May 2017. A useful tool to look at for public charging is the Polar Network map, which identifies charge points across the UK, including information on their speed and cost.
In addition, this is likely to increase following plans outlined in the Queen’s Speech where petrol stations and motorway services will be required to install charge points. This forms part of the Government push to increase the number of EVs on UK roads.
For home charging, the Government funded Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), provides a grant for owners to reduce the cost of having a charge point installed at their home. The grant is set as a 75% contribution to the cost of one charge point and its installation per eligible vehicle. It is worth noting that the grant cap is set at £500.
As a result, the grant brings the cost of a standard 3kW unit plus installation to around £300, while a faster 7kW unit would be available in the £400 region. To tackle the problem of speed, more powerful options are available, such as the 22kW home charger from Chargemaster, which is 10x as fast as mains charging.
For businesses wishing to install charge points for staff, visitors, or customers, the Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme offers businesses a £300 grant towards the cost of installing charge points. To find out more about business charge points solutions, visit Chargemaster or Zap Map.