Electric Car News Roundup – 46

electric car news

Manufacturers ‘Top Up’ Plug-In Car Grant To April 

Several manufacturers have announced plans to ‘top up’ the Government’s Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG) back to £3,500. MG and Kia and Peugeot have all committed to providing customers with the extra £500 needed to top up the grant until the end of March. Renault will offer this to customers placing new retail/ fleet orders for a new ZOE, MG to those purchasing its MG ZS EV, and the Peugeot the e-20 and e-2008 SUV. 

plug in car grant UK
Plug-In Car Grant UK (credit: Motor Trader)

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In our view, the UK government should have continued with the PiCG £3,500 incentive till the end of March 2020, thereby giving potential buyers the opportunity to take action before the reduction to £3,000.  However, we applaud automotive manufacturers like MG, Kia and Peugeot for taking the initiative and leadership to continue offering the £500 reduction as a ‘top up’ to potential customers till end of March 2020.  There is no doubt, in that, the PiCG grant has ‘enabled’ wider adoption of electric vehicles since its inception in 2011.  However, we urge the Department for Transport (DfT) to assess carefully the impact on battery-electric vehicle (BEV) uptake, before making any further reductions to the green car incentive.  Of course, it is worth noting that with the revised PiCG incentive (Budget 2020), pure electric cars priced at £50,000 and higher are no longer eligible for the grant.  

UK To Get Its First Electric Car Forecourt THIS YEAR With 24 Superchargers At A Specially-Designed Charging Site In Essex 

The first of a £1 billion nationwide network of more than 100 electric forecourts is to open this summer near Braintree in Essex. It claims to be the first custom-built electric charging station in the UK. The company behind the network, Gridserve, says it will charge 24 vehicles at once with superchargers that can deliver up to 350 kW of charging power that will allow motorists to charge their within 20 to 30 minutes. 

electric forecourt gridserve
Electric Forecourt (credit: Gridserve)

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We commend Gridserve on its vision for designing, developing and executing a master plan for rapid charging EV infrastructure in the UK.   Despite the significant increase in EV battery performance and emission-free range for all-electric cars, range anxiety, as a concern continues to remain a stumbling block for mass-market EV adoption.  Gridserve’s expectation to roll-out nationwide with its supercharging EV forecourts over the next five years will coincide well with the increase in zero-emission electric driving.  However, we would urge Gridserve to bring forward its nationwide milestones to 3 years, instead of 5 years.  We would also urge the UK government, that has provided a £4.9 million grant to continue to provide further financial support to enable faster scaling of the forecourts across the country.  

Italy’s Coronavirus Response Dramatically Reduces Air Pollution Emissions, Satellites Show 

As the world scrambles to confront the disease caused by a novel coronavirus, Italy has been forced to take such dramatic measures that the country’s emissions have changed, as seen from space. That’s on display in a new video produced by the European Space Agency (ESA) using data gathered by the agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite.  

air pollution
Air Pollution (credit: ESA)

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If there is one positive from the ongoing coronavirus predicament, is that the reduced activity has resulted in lower levels of pollution.  This was first reported via satellite images of China, but subsequently we have seen this pattern emerge across the globe to include Italy and the UK.  This reduction is pollution is no doubt welcome news, however, we need to identify key learnings from these images.  How can we evolve as a society, post-COVID 19 crisis, to continue to maintain lower air pollution levels in the UK.  It is also worth noting recent press reports that suggest that many more are at risk from coronavirus due to the higher levels if air pollution in the UK.  Either way, we have two key issues to resolve i.e. coronavirus and air pollution.  

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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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