EDITOR’S COMMENT: the real question is: will governments allow people to make informed decisions about which type of car is best for their situation? Or are we all going to be forced to do what they think is best…?
Over the spring and summer of 2020, the role of the electric car in our future has been further solidified. Not only because the government has confirmed plans to potentially ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by as early as 2030, but also thanks to a summer in lockdown further emphasising the benefits of improved localised air quality.
It’s no surprise, then, that the SMMT recorded over 21,000 sales of pure electric cars in September 2020 – a 184% rise on September 2019, and a big jump even given the dire economic state this year.
But, will the transition to electric cars require a compromise from the consumer, or can the EV charging infrastructure improve enough over the next five to ten years that we’ll be able to drive to the extremities of the UK and Europe without a hint of charging anxiety?
James McKemey, Head of Insights at Pod Point – one of the largest charging station providers in the country – maintains that many EV drivers have no compromise even now. “As for the lifestyle experience of owning an EV – there is no deficit, there is surplus. You no longer have to regularly interrupt your journeys to refuel while also saving on petrol and diesel costs.”
However, McKemey is open about rapid charging for quick battery top-ups being more challenging. “Innovative business models are seeing the en route rapid charging network grow. However, high infrastructure costs and limit on what pricing that drivers will bear make it a challenge. Furthermore, with batteries getting bigger, higher powered chargers are required, significantly increasing infrastructure costs, while the longer range provided mean that per-EV utilisation of en route charging decreases. Which is why this is an area that needs to improve quickly so that it doesn’t impede EV uptake and why the government is looking to support through Project Rapid.”