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EV News Suggests we are EV Ready

Posted on 14 May 2019 - by EVision - The Latest EV News

In the summer of 2017 it was announced by the UK government that there would be a ban on new petrol and diesel cars being made from the year 2040. At the time there were certainly many dissenting voices, not least from the ICE enthusiasts, saying that this was unrealistic and that the country would not be ready for a ban on new petrol and diesel cars that soon. A large number spoke out to say that the infrastructure wasn’t there and that electric cars don’t have the range that would be required by drivers across the nation.

Yet here we are, two years later, at a time when electric car technology is still pushing forward at an astonishing pace. Do the old arguments hold any water? Are we on course to become an electric nation in 2040? Are we ready, perhaps, to bring that ban on new ICE vehicles forward to 2035, 2030 or even 2025?

Why The Need to Bring in a Ban

Where do I start? Something that should be common knowledge is that traditional petrol and diesel cars are a leading cause of air pollution in the UK. In turn this air pollution causes poor health and, in the worst cases, death. The poor health situation also puts a huge strain on the NHS and their very limited and valuable resources.

Road traffic was responsible for 30,000 tonnes of air pollution according to a DEFRA statistical release in 2019. When quantified in a weight unit such as this it is easy to see the sheer scale of the problem we are facing as a nation.

The cost to health and the strain effects due to air pollution puts on the Health Service cannot be overstated. A study published in the European Heart Journal has found that there were 64,000 deaths caused in the UK annually just from air pollution. It is believed that air pollution is a higher cause of death than smoking. The NHS is put under enormous strain when dealing with the fallout. An Oxford University collaborative study found that air pollution was costing the NHS and wider society £6bn every year, with cars being the number one culprit.

Only this week we have seen yet again the sad story of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah whose death, it has been confirmed at an inquest, was due to air pollution. Ella may be the first person in the UK to have ‘air pollution’ recorded as the cause of death. Ella is going to be really important to the change movement. Air pollution is no longer a number. It isn’t an anonymous statistic that can be quoted from time to time. It is a killer, it is real, and now it has a human face we can all identify with.

The importance of making a change is clear. So why is the change happening so slowly? What is it that is stopping people moving over to electric cars?

The Range Issue

It’s a tale as old as time (well, as old as electric cars anyway), but the range of electric vehicles continues to be the main issue with making the switch. How many times have we heard “electric cars need to have a range of at least 400 miles before I make the change”. Which firstly leads me to the question ‘why’? What is it about needing an incredibly large number of miles available in a car that will make you change? The average daily journey of a person in the UK is less than 20 miles, so even driving continuously at a speed of 70mph it would take you nearly 6 hours to travel 400 miles. Who on earth drives 6 hours without stopping?! To put it into a distance context, if you travelled 400 miles from the EVision Electric Car Hire Rochester office you could make it to the following places (with miles to spare), Glasgow, Edinburgh, Paris, Dijon, Nantes, Frankfurt, Bremen, the whole of Holland and Luxembourg and more. Is it really a necessity to get to these places on a single charge?

A lot of the range issue is really down to misconceptions about what a modern electric car can actually do. Admittedly, it wasn’t in the too distant past when electric cars were only able to achieve quite a bit less than 100 miles on a charge. This was pretty poor, even considering that this could sustain you for a good few days of average length journeys without charging. But technology has advanced so quickly. In the last week it was announced that a study of car ranges of electric cars that are coming out this year shows that the average range of the vehicles is over 200 miles for the very first time.

Of course, all of the Tesla rental cars at EVision Electric Car Hire have over 200 miles of range (311 on the Tesla Model S P100D). And you can be sure that if you hire a Jaguar I-Pace, rent an Audi e-tron or hire a Kia e-Niro you will be getting well beyond 200 miles of range (292 miles, 249 miles and 282 on these cars respectively). This should be comforting reading for anyone who even has the smallest bit of anxiety lurking within their chest.

To put 200 miles into context, if you were to travel 200 miles from the EVision Electric Car Hire Kent office you could comfortably visit Cardiff, Manchester, Leeds, Paris, Brussels and Rotterdam! So you can see that stating 200 miles is not enough range is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Public Charge Points Issue

As with range, the availability of public charge points is an issue that is brought up again and again. But is it really that much of an issue? Something that is often overlooked when considering the comparisons between the availability of petrol stations and the availability of public charge points is the fact that most people will be charging from home anyway. How many ICE drivers can say that they fill up at home? Maybe a few who have access to a diesel or excess petrol supply, but that number would be absolutely minuscule.

There is no doubt that more public charge points are a necessity for when everyone turns to electric cars. This is certainly coming. Zap Map added an extra 1,000 charge points to the map in April alone, and this is only going to get bigger and bigger. Major oil firms are getting involved by installing charge points in petrol stations. Charging hubs are popping up around the country, including superfast charging hubs. There are already far more charge points in the UK than there are petrol stations, which is often overlooked as charging stations are not as prominent as petrol stations. The nearest Tesla Supercharger station to the EVision Kent Office is well off the main road. Many people who live nearby the Superchargers don’t even know they are there.

In a connected world there is no need to make the charging stations as prominent as petrol stations are. We have excellent apps such as Zap Map, that can tell us where we need to go should we need to find a charger. The cars themselves are built in with maps that will direct you to the nearest charge points as well. Gone are the days where you had to be able to clearly see a station from the road in order to find it. Keeping the charge points out of the way prevents eyesores building up. Unfortunately, this great strength is also a great weakness, due to the fact that people who have yet to convert are not aware of how available electric re-fuelling stations are.

The Price of an Electric Car

OK, I will hold my hand up to this one… for now. Yes, when compared to the traditionally fuelled petrol and diesel cars, electric vehicles are currently more expensive. You always know there is an issue when a £35,000+ Tesla is described as ‘affordable’. I’m sure it may well be affordable to some people. An island in the Caribbean or a private jet is affordable to some people. However, to most people, £35,000 is far beyond what could be described as an affordable car. Cheaper yes, affordable no.

This, however, is all about to change. The price of electric cars is currently so high due to the cost of the battery. The battery is the single most expensive element that you will find on almost any EV. Prices for batteries are falling. They have been falling for a few years and they are continuing to go down in price. More and more major companies are working on battery technology and are mass producing electric car batteries in greater numbers than ever before. You will notice that as the price of batteries goes down, so too does the price of the vehicle.

Bloomberg have analysed the cost of electric cars over the last few years, predicting when the EV would be level in price compared to petrol and diesel vehicles, as well as when they would become cheaper. In 2017 it was estimated that 2026 would be the year that electric cars become cheaper than their same sized traditionally fuelled compatriots. In 2018 this date moved a step closer whereby Bloomberg estimated that the cost of electric cars would fall below petrol and diesel by 2024. However, in the most recent analysis that has recently been revealed, electric cars are now expected to become cheaper than the petrol or diesel equivalents by 2022. The speed of development and the lowering of the price of these cars is catching everyone by surprise. It is only 3 years now until the argument that electric cars are more expensive is no longer a valid point.

Resistance to Change

A big reason that often gets overlooked when it comes to the take-up of electric cars is the fact that many people just do not like change. Electric cars, although becoming more popular all the time, are a relatively new technology in the grand scheme of things. It will take time to change the mind-set of the majority of the general public.

Something that really exemplifies this came to light only in the last few days of writing this blog post. The Committee on Climate Change released a report at the beginning of May 2019 stating that everyone needs to make changes to their lives in order to help offset and reverse the damage being caused to the environment. A poll taken following the release of this report found that the general public are largely unwilling to make any of the necessary changes required, despite knowing how grave the outcome will be if changes aren’t made. A stark reminder of how stuck in their ways many can be.

So What Next?

The excuses are falling away one-by-one as to why we should not embrace change. The Committee on Climate Change made many recommendations on what changes were needed, by government, business and the general public. One key change that was highlighted in the report was the need to embrace electric cars. The Committee recommended bringing forward the ban on electric cars to 2030, a full 10 years sooner than intended in the UK (and 2 years sooner than Scotland). It has been argued by some that this is too soon and that the infrastructure just isn’t there. However, as I have highlighted above, the infrastructure is growing incredibly fast. It isn’t a valid excuse anymore.

Something else that is forgotten is that when the ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles takes effect, people won’t all suddenly get rid of their ICE cars and instantly buy electric. The switch will happen slowly and first, with conversion happening at a natural rate, particularly when the price of electric cars drops. In this time, the charging infrastructure will only continue to grow at an ever-expanding rate. We are ready for the change. We are ready for the change now.

How EVision Electric Car Hire Can Help You

EVision takes great pride in the fact that we are not only the number one Tesla rental company in the UK, but that we take our environmental responsibility seriously. Every car in the EVision fleet is charged using solar power. We provide information and guidance to local councils on electric cars and the electric car infrastructure. We know just how important it is for change to come, and we look to make that transition to using electric cars as smooth as possible.

It’s not just the big supercars that EVision deals with either. Yes, you can hire a Tesla, hire a Jaguar I-Pace or rent an Audi e-tron from us. However, we also provide smaller vehicles for those who would like to hire a Renault ZOE, hire a BMW i3 or rent a Kia e-Niro. We also offer a highly rated executive chauffeur in Kent and the south east, providing a huge range of services with top level professionalism and discreteness.

If you are looking to try an electric car, or whether you are looking to introduce electric cars to your company, call us at EVision Electric Car Hire and we will be delighted to talk you through the options available to you.