Driving around in panic mode during the recent petrol crisis only reinforced the inevitable transition to the electric car – and it was difficult to ignore the smugness of those driving around in them.
Sales of new electric cars have risen by more than 30 percent in the last 12 months as drivers look towards the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars. September had a record number of registrations for electric vehicles.
If you weren’t already considering your own transition from your existing car, gas-guzzling or otherwise, you probably are now.
But there are still a few hurdles most of us need to overcome before we seriously start thinking about taking the leap.
First and foremost is the cost implication. Despite the obvious price difference between petrol/diesel vehicles and their electric equivalent, that gap is starting to close as more models enter the market. As the used car market for electric vehicles continues to grow in the coming months and years, that will also allow the affordability issue to become less of a problem.
Other major concerns are the range a full battery charge will give and, just as importantly, the availability of charging points when required. The longest-range vehicles out there at the moment can last up to 400 miles without needing to be recharged – comparable to many of the vehicles we drive today.
But it is the lack of public electric vehicle charging points that is putting more people off. In the UK, there are currently around 24,000 public charging points, about one for every ten electric cars. But by 2030, there needs to be ten-times as many to cope with demand. On average, there were 27 EV charging points installed a day in the UK last year, whereas a recent report states this figure needs to be doubled if we are to reach the government’s green targets.
Most EV owners will have a charging point at home, meaning that filling up your car will be like charging your mobile phone – the arduous trip to the petrol station a thing of the past. But for some, only being able to charge at home will not be enough; what about holidays or overnight stays with work?
Huge investment in public charging points is needed to help keep the pace with accelerating demand for plug-in vehicles.
You have every right to start having the conversations with your employer about what their plans are for EV charging. If you work in a larger building with many businesses, talk to the powers that be within that building. Employers now have a responsibility to start thinking about this now.
If you are a business owner reading this and are thinking about the future, see it as a possibility rather than something else you have to fork out for. The technology is there to charge customers and clients for charging their car at your station. You may even want to charge some and let others use it for free – that is a possibility too. If you are the only business in your area offering EV charging, market your station correctly and you could see a very tidy profit for doing very little after the initial financial outlay.
There is plenty to think about for both car users and business-owners in the coming months and years. The only advice I will give is don’t let any of the hurdles delay any thoughts you are having about switching to an electric vehicle or indeed installing an EV charging station. Let’s get those conversations started and make sure we are ready for the unavoidable reality that is the electric vehicle.
Andy Shadwick runs Rotherham-based Utility Planners UK. As well as supplying electric, gas and water infrastructure to projects nationwide, Utility Planners are currently installing electric vehicle charging points to homes and businesses of all sizes in the North of England. They are contactable on 01709 432007 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.