An examination of the UK’s EV market, challenges and solutions
Electric vehicles (EVs) present exciting opportunities for the UK and its residents on several fronts. First, as a technology poised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing traditional fuel with an electric charge. Second, as a tool enabling cleaner local air and, by extensions, preventing the county’s second-highest cause of avoidable mortality. Third, as a new and potentially highly profitable industry with national and international (export) ramifications, capable of placing Britain on the innovation map. Other associated benefits include relatively low operational costs, tax breaks, a new, engaging driving experience, and more.
However, the development of EV technology and infrastructure is not without its fair share of challenges, with poor provision of charging infrastructure leading the way in the UK EV market. England’s existing charging network is not nearly large or comprehensive enough to meet growing consumer demands, especially when it comes to the installation and management of public charge points across the country.
How can this industry develop and revolutionize the face of vehicular transport in the UK? Let’s examine the current market, its needs, capabilities and potential inhibitors, in order to paint a bigger, better picture of the ideal solution the UK needs to penetrate and profit from EV innovation.
What the EV market looks like in the UK, today
A remarkable surge for electric vehicles has overtaken the UK since 2015, and the country ranks fourth in the world for its market share of EV purchases (as of 2017). The streets of Britain are currently being traversed by over 206,000 plug-in cars and 8,500 plug-in vans (120 models total) in addition to battery electric vehicles (BEV) and range-extended EVs (REX) – and the number is only expected to grow in coming years, as UK residents jump on the green living bandwagon. And yet, as of April 2019, there are just 200 charging locations, 13,200 charging devices and 22,500 connectors across the country, not nearly enough to power the amount of existing and potential future EVs taking to Britain’s streets. What’s more, these power sources can take a long time to fully charge the cars, come in different models that do not work with all EV types, and require drivers to hold multiple membership cards for payment purposes. Not exactly efficient, or even plausible in many cases.
This lackluster network of EV charging infrastructure is deterring UK drivers from jumping on the EV bandwagon, despite the fact that technological advances are extending the range in which a single EV charge can last. If the EV market is to truly gain traction in the UK, existing charging infrastructure must be updated to meet the needs of the country’s growing EV-driver population.
The British government understands the EV industry’s great potential
UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling recently announced government plans to fund and increase the amount of electric chargers available across the country, particularly home and workplace powerpoints, but also extending to the integration of charging points within existing municipal street lights. This, in order to ensure that almost every vehicle on the streets of the UK is a zero emission vehicle by 2050, and to secure the UK’s position as a world leader in EV and battery technologies.
Whether or not these targets and plans are sufficient, remains largely up in the air and significantly hinges on how much financial investment the government ultimately provides to developing and implementing necessary technologies, infrastructure and regulations – none of which have been clarified for the long-term.
The Government’s Plug-In grant scheme directly supports the purchasing of electric vehicles, and the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act of 2018 extends previous compulsory third party insurance frameworks to cover the use of automated vehicles and deal with electric and hydrogen-powered vehicle charging infrastructure. However, at this time, government funding of charge points is available only for off-street chargers.
Though the British government has professed its appreciation for EV charging infrastructure as part of its goal for zero-emission transportation industry, it seems that regulations and incentives for the expansion of EV chargers across the UK have been largely left out of the announced targets and plans.
EV Meter: the solution UK drivers have been waiting for
A subsidiary of Israeli fintech giant NAYAX, EV Meter has developed the ideal Level 2 universal electric vehicle charging solution that combines compatibility with every plug-in vehicle and an open, cashless payment system. This means that the installation of EV Meter electric charging stations will enable more UK drivers to quickly charge their EVs, while enjoying the convenience of paying through credit cards, prepaid cards, mobile wallets, or QR codes – no application download or membership required.
Smart, grid-ready products sure to receive the British monarchy’s stamp of approval.
For more information, visit https://www.evmeter.com/.