What’s Pushing The Increase In EV Sales?
Pretty much every person I speak to regarding Electric Vehicles (EV) immediately shuts me down with one argument or another. It will never catch on, they’ll run out of battery and leave you stranded mere yards from home, or so they say. But if that’s the case, why are sales of EVs going through the roof?
When UK fuel costs skyrocketed, it looked like the perfect opportunity for EVs to take off too, with petrol stations running out of juice and queues a mile long as panic buying ensued. Plugging in at home, and paying a lot less for the privilege as well, seemed like the perfect free advertisement for the transition to an Electric Vehicle. EV owners could barely contain their smug grins as they waved their charger cable from their front window. And then the cost of electricity exploded, and smug faces were quickly removed.
And still, the sales keep rising, EV sales now equate to 15.4% of the UK market share, as consumers realise the overall benefits of going electric far outweigh the perceived negatives. A little over 39,000 new EVs were registered in March 2022, a 78% increase from the same time last year, and more than the whole of 2019. And if it wasn’t for the worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips, sales could have been higher. Things are looking good for EVs, and Elon Musk can sleep peacefully.
Governmental Limp Wristedness
As sales of Electric Vehicles increase, so too does the Government plug-in car grant (PICG) value decrease. It’s either a transparent ploy to force people to purchase their new car quickly to avoid missing out, or it’s a rancid display of tightfistedness, you choose. From £5,000 down to £4,000, from covering both fully electric and hybrid, it’s now for fully electric vehicles only.
Once eligible for a grant on a new car up to the value of £50,000, now it’s £32,000. Slash followed slash, a saving of £3,000 then became £2,500, until December of 2021 where another tweak means you’ll only get £1,500 off, and a free hat, possibly.
There is every chance by the end of 2023 the UK government will be charging you for buying an EV as they look to get their money back, perhaps they thought it wouldn’t catch on? Either way, it has caught on rather well, and with the cost of new EVs coming down each year, perhaps it will all even out in the end. When you add the bonus of cheaper car insurance, free road tax, and an end to paying fuel duty at the pumps, you’re practically raking it in, right?
Making It Hard To Find An Excuse
Have you ever spent more than five minutes looking for the TV remote before giving up in a huff, or gone without that much-needed coffee because you forgot to pick milk up at the store, and refuse to go back out for it? If so, you’ll know how vital it is to have things to hand immediately because if it’s not to hand, you won’t bother, it’s the principle of the thing.
So it follows that if your new home, be it a new build or not, had a fully functioning EV charger already installed when you moved in, you may be more amenable to buying a new EV. The tools are already in place, all you’d have to do is pick out your car, no excuses, no fuss.
With this in mind, the UK has become the first country to require any newly built homes to have access to an EV charging point, assuming it has off-road parking that is. From June 2022, new builds, as well as those that have been created from repurposing an existing building, must have access to an EV charger.
This new legislation could be a huge boost to EV sales, and will at least help consumer confidence that charging points will become more readily available. Any new commercial builds, from supermarkets to office blocks will also need to provide access to charging.
In theory, this means a couple could move into their first home together, buy an EV as their home has a charger already installed, and be able to charge up at work too at their shiny new offices. Milk and cookies for everyone! It’s a self-perpetuating dream that could soon become reality.
Developing The Infrastructure
Taking into account the Covid Pandemic, new builds in the UK fell short of the government's target of 300,000 new homes being built every year. In 2019/20, 242,000 new homes were built, and this fell in the following year to 216,000. Shortages of materials and a market that is wary of overspending may mean this trend continues for a while, but even if that’s the case, if half of the new builds have off-road parking, that will still increase charging points by over 100,000 per year.
That means more offices, more homes, and more people tempted into making the inevitable leap to EV. With the most common arguments against EVs being range, charging time, and reliability, the results of having so many more charging options have far-reaching consequences. Confidence in the product, a minimal impact on daily life, and that warm glow from doing your bit to save the environment, what’s not to love?
What The Hell Is A Dot-Matrix Printer?
The average time it takes to charge a standard EV is around 8 hours, assuming it’s a fast charger, and the battery is empty. That may seem like a long time, but charging overnight at home, who cares, you're asleep anyway. A rapid 50kW charger will boost your range by over 100 miles in around half an hour, again, not bad, go grab some lunch.
If you’ve never heard of Moore’s Law, let me enlighten you; Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on a microchip should double around every two years, and at the same time the cost of the computer is halved. While this isn’t exactly true anymore, it’s not every two years, it is still happening, albeit at a slower rate. And computers have been around forever. Dot-matrix printers used to cost around £800 or more, and printed about a page every day and a half, now you can buy a disposable printer for £40, print 3,000 pages, and throw it away!
My point here isn’t to give a hint about how old I am (I almost bought a Dot-matrix printer once by the way) it’s to point out that charging speeds will increase over time, costs will decrease, and Moore’s Law will prove accurate for the Electric Vehicle.
Necessity breeds innovation, and the next few years will likely see an exponential increase in both sales and technological advances, I for one can’t wait to see just how quickly an electric vehicle will take to charge in 2030, with solid-state batteries and new lithium-ion battery research progressing well. The goal of a Net Zero feels just a little closer each year, and long may it continue.
If you enjoyed my hopeful musings about Electric Vehicles, and want to know more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org