What’s Holding you Back?

Business Insights

Back from Going Green that is.

Transport, as we all know, is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with road vehicles in particular responsible for a large proportion of urban air pollution.

It is hardly surprising, given such widespread publicity surrounding air pollution and the steady creep of Clean Air Zones in cities throughout the UK, that the adoption of electric vehicles is gathering pace, as we move towards the government’s target of zero emissions by 2050.

Indeed, by the end of February 2021 there were over 455,000 registered electric vehicles (EVs) on our roads, made up of 215,000 pure-electric cars, and 240,000 hybrid vehicles. Even during the pandemic, sales of EVs continued to climb, meaning that, according to The Guardian newspaper that we are on the “tipping point of mass adoption” of electric vehicles in the UK.

So, what’s holding you back?

Perhaps you are concerned about the upfront cost? Seems reasonable, after all EVs are initially dearer to buy or lease than traditional vehicles. However, by the time you factor in government grants towards the cost, and incidentally toward charger point installation, how much cheaper they are to run and service, and the exemption from Clean Air Zone charges, the initial cost seems less relevant. Too, prices of EVs are dropping steadily due to improved battery development and dedicated production lines in car plants, indeed it is widely anticipated that by 2025 electric cars will cost the same as new petrol or diesel vehicles.

Then maybe you are uncertain about charging. If so, you are not alone. Over recent years, there has been a widely held belief that EV charge points across the UK are too sparsely located and that charging times are too slow to make long distance travel viable in an electric vehicle. A belief that has impacted the uptake of electric vehicles

These days though, charging really isn’t an issue, due to advances in battery technology giving consistent ranges of well over 200 miles per charge, and the widespread availability of charging points. In fact, it appears that there are more charging points in the UK than petrol pumps. Of course, there are charging points and charging points, some work more quickly than others and some are really best used for overnight charging.

Generally, the only times that most of us drive hundreds of miles is on motorways, and banks of charging points on motorway services are becoming a common sight. UK company Gridserve, having acquired Ecotricity, has launched its “Electric Highway” – a UK-wide network of more than 50 high power ‘Electric Hubs’ with 6-12 x 350kW chargers in each, plus almost 300 rapid chargers installed across 85% of the UK’s motorway service stations, and more than 100 GRIDSERVE Electric Forecourts® in development. The overall objective is a UK-wide network that people can rely on, without range or charging anxiety, wherever they live in the UK, and whatever type of electric vehicle they drive.

In addition, Ofgem, the energy regulator has approved a £300m investment spree to help triple the number of ultra-rapid electric car charge points across the country, as part of efforts to accelerate the UK’s shift to clean energy.

Although, there does remain some gaps in provision, apps such as Zap map will speedily direct you to the nearest charging point should the need occur.

Perhaps, for you it is all about style and choice. It really doesn’t need to be, there are around 130 different models and makes of electric vehicles available today – including family cars, hatchbacks, estates, small cars, superminis, SUVs, premium models, and vans.

Various manufacturers are going all out to improve the styling and performance of EVs. The government has expressed its commitment to UK manufacture with permissions for ‘gigafactories’ to manufacture the necessary batteries and battery storage projects in Manchester, Wiltshire, Northumberland, Coventry, already home to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, a research centre for the next-generation battery technologies and Sunderland, for Nissan’s £1bn electric vehicle hub.

Meanwhile research continues into hydrogen-based technology, known as hydrogen electric, because the vehicles are electric, only the storage is hydrogen, which is not burned but used in the fuel cell to create electricity for power. A hydrogen tank is able to store a large amount of energy, making it more suitable for bigger vehicles, like buses or trucks. The heavier the vehicle is, the more efficient hydrogen will be.

There has never been more information or a better time to make the switch and move forward with clean energy.