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Drive Electric – But How do we Encourage The Nation to Change The Way They Drive in 15 Years?

It may seem like a long time away, however we have to change the way the nation drives as  fossil fuel vehicles will no longer be on sale and zero emissions will be the only cars you can buy. So how do we change the way a whole planet rolls?

Electric vehicles have been on our roads for many years, many more years that you might imagine. In fact, it was 1832 when Robert Anderson developed the first electric vehicle. It was some years before the 1870s when they eventually became effective. Below is an English electric vehicle from 1884. 

They became somewhat popular until crude oil was discovered in the US and it became

cost effective in the 1920s and the petrol vehicle became more popular. The electric vehicle had a resurgence in the 1970s with the cost of fuel increasing and pollution becoming a known issue. There was a selection of electric vehicles displayed at the First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development in 1973.

Toyota’s introduction of the first mass-produced hybrid, the Prius. In 2000, has truly been said to have created the new electric revolution as it became a popular vehicle for celebrities.

In the UK there has been a steady growth in the uptake of electric vehicles, not least due to the support of the UK government in the form of grants and tax breaks.

More than 212,000 electric vehicles had been registered in the UK up until December 2018, including about 10,000 plug-in commercial vans. A surge of electric car sales took place in Britain beginning in 2014. Total registrations went from 3,586 in 2013, to 37,092 in 2016, and rose to 59,911 in 2018.

The market share of the plug-in segment went from 0.16% in 2013 to 0.59% in 2014, and achieved 2.6% in 2018.

So, there is a slow, and steady growth, however, with the recent announcement by the Prime Minister that the sale of non-zero emissions vehicles will cease in just fifteen years there needs to be a major drive in marketing to encourage drivers to make the change to electric vehicles.

Research by Tufts University in the US has stated that; “A rebate targeted at affordable battery electric vehicles (BEVs) combined with early investments in charging infrastructure along roadways where EVs would most need them is likely to increase EV adoption,”  These rebates have been in place since at least 2011 with the home charging scheme offering 75% discounts on charge points as well as local government incentives for the installation of local, public charge points.

To date, these schemes have had a low take up rate, a Freedom of Information request has shown that in the six years since 2014 only just over 75,000 home installations and less than 1,400 workplace installations have been carried out.  When you consider there are almost 33 million vehicles on the road, this demonstrates the amount of infrastructure required to ensure the effective take up of electric vehicles.

Until people have the ability to easily charge their vehicles, they will not be incentivised to drive electric. One of the major challenges in the UK is 32% of homes in the UK, rely upon on-street parking, and 2% of homes have no parking provision at all. Therefore, there needs to be a solution made available to ensure that charging can be achieved. This may be with the introduction of additional public or workplace charging facilities.

It is true there are now more charging locations than petrol stations, however there are still over 100 local authorities which have fewer than 10 public charging devices per 100,000 population. Figures published by the Department for Transport in 2019 revealed there are 15,000 charging devices across the country, equating to 22,500 places to charge, however with an expected total of more than 25 million electric vehicles on the road by the time the new restrictions come into place, it is clear a lot more to be done.

What Action Can You Take?

It is time to prepare for the electric future. Make contact with your local authority, ask if they are taking advantage of the on-street residential charge point scheme, a £5 million pound scheme which provides grants for local authorities to install public charging infrastructure. To date, few authorities have applied for these grants.

Apply for a home charge point from an accredited installer such as EVCPQ to get up to £500 grant for the installation of a charge point at your own home. It is not clear how long these grants will be on offer for, so it is prudent to plan ahead and get charging infrastructure in place.

Similarly, ask your employer or workplace what their plans are for electric vehicle charging as they can also claim £500 per charge point socket and up £10,000 per business to provide charging infrastructure for employees and visitors. Again an organisation such as EVCPQ can support the planning, installation and maintenance of workplace charging infrastructure.

There is a temptation to wait until the last minute, however, there is a risk that, as we get closer to the deadline, there will be a rush for installation and it will become impossible to get the required infrastructure in place for new vehicles. 

If you have not discovered the joy of driving an electric vehicle and the massive savings which can be gained on road tax, benefit in-kind and running costs I would suggest you have a test drive. You will be pleasantly surprised!

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