Electric Car News Roundup – 33

electric car news

Electric Dreams: How Long Until Electric Cars Go Mainstream In The UK?


Visitors to the picturesque Whitby Bay beach in north Yorkshire were in for a shock earlier this month, when they encountered two giant footprints etched into the sand.  The left was half the length of a football pitch, at 50 metres – the right was just 3.5 metres long.  

The reason? A publicity stunt by EDF Energy to point out the vast difference between the carbon footprint of electric cars – the right foot – and conventional diesel and electric on the left. It may have stated the obvious – but the electric vehicle (EV) is only just catching on in the UK.

carbon footprint
Carbon Footprint (credit: City AM)

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We agree that the EV industry in the UK is still at early stages, however, it is certainly well positioned to scale.  We do not believe a comparison to Norway is truly ‘like-for-like’.  After all,  Norway has a population of just over 5 million (2019) while the UK has a population over 66 million (2019).  Therefore a 50% market share in ‘absolute numbers’ is still relatively small and not significantly ahead of the total number of EVs currently on UK roads.  

Even though electric vehicles (BEVs & PHEVs) are still under 5% of the market share in the UK, more than 50,000 have already been sold in the UK (up to October 2019).  This of course does not include all the orders placed but yet to be delivered by manufacturers.  Therefore, it is amply clear that EVs in the UK are more than just a ‘niche’ transportation solution, and given the above volumes, it can be argued robustly that zero-emission road transportation is already mainstream.  It is now only a matter of further adoption and scale.  

Yes, we agree that ‘prices’ remain an obstacle but again these costs have not been correctly understood by consumers.  Potential buyers need to assess all life cycle costs of owning an electric vehicle, to include maintenance and running costs.  It is now well understood and accepted that EVs have much lower maintenance costs and lower running costs per mile, Recharging an EV battery will set you back £5, while filling a full tank of fuel will set you back up to £80.  If indeed, consumers were informed better on total life cycle costs, the adoption rate would increase.  

In regards to ‘range anxiety’ we have said it a million times and do completely agree with Graeme  Cooper from the Nation Grid: “The average person drives just 37 miles per day. Yet so often people buy a vehicle for the biggest journey they’ll ever do – which might be a 400 mile holiday to Cornwall once a year. If an electric car can’t do that on a single charge, they reject it as an option.”

Moreover, if you see the new model line-up of electric cars, the range performance is well over 200 zero-emission miles and in some case well over 300 miles.  Once again, we believe that consumers have been misinformed by certain stakeholders that do not want to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.  The ‘fear factor’ has been exploited significantly! 


Audi To Cut 9,500 Jobs To Fund Electric Car Push 


Carmaker Audi is to cut 9,500 of its 61,000 jobs in Germany between now and 2025 to make more money available for electric vehicles and digital working. The cuts – which aim to save EUR 6bn (£5.1 bn) – will be achieved through an early retirement programme. But the Volkswagen-owned firm also said its move into electric cars would mean the creation of up to 2,000 jobs. 

Audi e-tron 55 SUV quattro Electric
The All-Electric Audi e-tron

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The writing is clearly on the wall.  The turmoil in the global automotive industry is set to deepen as the industry faces both, difficult trading conditions and one of the fiercest ‘technological’ changes, as we rapidly migrate from internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to zero-emission battery electric vehicles (BEVs).  It is not only the OEMs i.e. the automotive manufacturers that will witness significant changes, to include further job cuts, but also other companies across the value chain.  After-sales and maintenance providers are at significant risk in relation to job cuts, as the very fundamental ‘economic  value‘ of after-sales management & maintenance is challenged and disrupted by the adoption of green cars.  The primary reason for this is that EVs have far fewer moving parts and therefore the potential revenue stream of the auto maintenance sector is set for a sharp permanent decline.

The key for all employers in the automotive value chain is to identify new skill sets that will be required to service and compete in a zero-emission transportation world and commence the process of re-training employees for the inevitable change and overhaul of the global automotive industry.  


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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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