It wasn’t long ago that electric vehicles (EVs) were almost derided for their unreliability in a world of powerful diesel motors. Today, the EV market is exceeding everyone’s expectations, with an average of more than 4,000 new registrations per month in 2017 compared to just 3,500 for all of 2013.
But why the growth in demand for electric vehicles? Alongside Vindis — which offers VW services — we’ll explore the advantages of EVs and what the UK government is doing to further this eco-friendly trend.
Benefits of EVs
There are many benefits of EVs despite the initial setbacks. Firstly, an EV does not generate emissions. Consequently, drivers can slash their carbon footprint and help the UK achieve its aim of reducing emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. Secondly, an electric vehicle does not need petrol or diesel — which means no checking for the cheapest rates or queuing at the pumps. And thirdly, an EV is almost silent when being driven — a great way to lower noise pollution.
Considering the above advantages, it’s little surprise that demand for EVs is rocketing in the UK.
What are motor brands and the UK government doing to boost EV numbers?
EVs are an effective way to tackle the UK’s pollution and carbon emissions problems. Typically, a passenger vehicle gives out 4.6 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Considering that this pollution is reported to accelerate climate change, cause breathing difficulties and more, it’s key that eco-friendly products, like EVs, are encouraged and supported.
Fortunately, the UK is working to offer more charging points across the nation. In sync, motoring manufacturers are constantly creating motors with better battery lives and mileage ranges in order to finally put to bed the argument that EVs can’t be trusted — especially on long journeys. Japanese vehicle brand, Nissan, recently launched the Nissan Leaf, which features a long range and a one-pedal driving system, allowing it to go about 50% further on a single charge than the EVs before it. As one of the most sought-after electric cars, the Nissan Leaf has hit sales of 283,000 since 2010 — this is second only to Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV. Could Nissan claim the top spot if it keeps innovating?
What else is the EV car industry doing to make its vehicles more palatable to the UK driver? A one-pedal driving system, like Nissan’s, is another bonus of electric vehicles. By simply pressing a button, you can turn the motor’s accelerator into an e-Pedal, start the vehicle, accelerate and stop. Although you have the option of controlling the start and stop functions separately, the one-pedal system is just another feature that makes this EV simpler to drive. Plus, the system makes the car even more energy-efficient to lower your carbon footprint even further.
The problem of recharging your EV
Unfortunately, being kinder to the environment and negating the need of petrol stations is sometimes not enough for drivers. Some won’t drive a car if they have even a slight fear that it will run out of power. As of May 2017, around 4,300 charging locations — with 6,700 charging devices and 12,500 connectors — were available in the UK. However, to counter the issue of needing eight hours to fully charge a battery, a surge in public charging points that can recharge at least 80% of EV batteries in half an hour is necessary.
Thankfully, an answer is imminent; with ChargePoint and InstaVolt planning to install at least 3,000 rapid-charging points on forecourts all over the UK. What’s more, there’s a Europe-wide EV charging network on the horizon, too. Launched by a collaboration between BMW, Daimler, Ford, and the VW Group with Audi and Porsche, the network will feature 20 ultra-rapid charging points with an aim of creating 400 points across the continent by 2020. The network is expected to cover around 100 locations by the end of 2018, which will hopefully mean that traveling free of carbon emissions will be a lot easier.
Of course, from an energy point of view, this installation of charging locations raises some concerns. The National Grid claims that a demand of 50% more electricity will occur if the UK moves to EVs — is this worth it considering the tonnes of carbon emissions that will be reduced?
EV battery life of the future
30 minutes is the amount of time a battery generally takes to recharge at a rapid charging point. However, a recent study suggests that there has been a development of an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that brings full-life back to an electric battery in just a few minutes. Could the motorists who won’t buy an EV due to the time it takes to recharge finally be swayed? If this method becomes available, we anticipate that the EV industry will only get stronger, which means cleaner air and roads for all the UK and its residents. Electrolytes are employed in this method to re-power battery fluids, which makes it so efficient.
Most of us know about the government’s 2040 aim of eradicating petrol and diesel cars. Granted that the momentum of this drive continues, the EV market and its eco-friendly motors should only grow in authority and numbers. Hopefully, innovations and developments will continue to resolve the issues that put people off buying an EV, including battery life and time taken to charge. If so, we could see the government achieve its target of lowering emissions by 80%.