Chargemaster / AA: “We have passed the tipping point of EV adoption in the UK”

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A survey of more than 19,000 Automobile Association (AA) members has led the Chief Executive of EV charging network Chargemaster, David Martell to say, “In many ways we have passed the tipping point for electric vehicle adoption in the UK, and the pace of change over the coming years will be quite dramatic.”

A third (28%) of those surveyed said that they are planning to buy an EV as their next car. Extrapolated across the whole new car market that means there is a huge interest in EVs already, and that contrary to the ‘oil junkies’ complaining, people think that existing EV cars are up to scratch even now.

Dirty diesels, it seems, are doomed. While around 41% of those surveyed currently own diesels, just 16% of those surveyed said they would buy diesel propulsion cars when they are on the market. Petrol isn’t benefitting from this shift either, with those planning to buy petrol cars falling too. This represent a quantum shift in the way consumers are thinking and should be a kick in the pants to the manufacturing industry who have a very interested and receptive market in the UK to sell EVs to.

Problems, real and perceived

Edmund King, President of the AA said to the Energy Savings Trust conference last week, “Most of the barriers to owning an EV are myths. Three quarters of drivers will mainly charge at home and the network of charging points is growing by the day. As the majority of people will charge overnight, using off-peak electricity at home, the time taken to charge should not be an issue and indeed fast chargers, capable of providing an 80% charge in less than half an hour, are becoming more common. The purchase price of EVs is falling while the quality and variety of models available; battery durability and range are all improving.”

The real worries that potential EV owners have were surveyed in the AA Populous poll in July 2017, and discovered that the following issues were the major things holding people back:

Availability of charging points 84%
High purchase price 83%
Battery durability 69%
Limited range 61%
Time taken to charge 60%
Lack of choice/availability 49%

Martell responded to these issues, “Although many people are concerned about the number of charging points, the reality is that including dedicated units fitted at home, there are as many charging points in the UK as there are electric cars.” The survey found that most people planned on charging their cars overnight at homes or where possible, where they could plug in at a lamppost such as those being rolled out in Kensington in London.

Pulls to EV

The survey found that younger people are far less likely to be swayed by the negative arguments against EVs by naysayers. Public infrastructure being put in place to support EVs such as more lamppost charging points could well draw more people into buying EVs.

Battery technology is improving considerably at the moment. The new Nissan Leaf has a claimed range of 235 miles, which probably translates to just under 200 miles in reality. Next year the leading EV manufacturer is promising a far greater range than that – comparable with your diesel car of today even? Other manufacturers and models are coming on stream too, with the Chevy Bolt likely to be sold in the UK quite soon, which in terms of range is a direct rival to the Tesla Model 3.

The reality of battery durability is that while manufacturers originally estimated a 10-year battery life for their cars, the reality is that 10-year-old cars just aren’t clapping out as many projected.

Excepting the person who has a lover in Edinburgh and works in London or your classic sales rep, how often do people drive 200 miles plus in reality? Statistics routinely show that the bulk of commutes are around 20 miles so a 200 mile range will give you 10 days before you plug it back in. Most people will plug it in every night

As we routinely show here at the excuses not to buy an EV are getting ever lighter and lacking substance. One by one they flutter away in the wind. The time really has come when you should consider buying an EV.


Richard Shrubb


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