Electric Car News Roundup – 39

electric car news

Government Doubles Funding For Electric Car Charge Points To £10 Million 

The Transport Secretary has announced a fresh wave of funding to build thousands more on-street residential electric vehicle charge points this year. Grant Shapps said he hoped to help make it easier to find “affordable, reliable” charge points for electric car drivers by doubling current funding to £10 million.  This is enough to build up to another 3,600 charge points across the country, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).  

electric car charging
EV Charging (credit: City AM)

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It is always good to note further funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.  However, in our view, an investment of £10 million is simply a drop in the ocean.  3,600 charge points across the country will not make a meaningful impact to one of the biggest obstacles to EV adoption in the UK i.e. electric car charging infrastructure.  

Yes, it is true that the majority of electric vehicles are charged at home via a dedicated home charging point.  However, in densely populated urban cities across the UK, like London, where residents have limited access to private garages, on-street public charging infrastructure is vital for the mainstream adoption of electric cars.  The UK government has to urgently conducted an in-depth review of demand Vs supply for on-street electric car charging points and identify a benchmark ratio of ‘population density Vs on-street EV charging’.  Only then will it gain an insightful understanding on the investment levels required to enable mass adoption of EVs, in particular, in urban centres.  One thing for certain, the £10 million funding will not be adequate for even one city, let alone all the cities across the UK!  We urge the government to go back immediately to the drawing board and revise its funding plans. 

Why The Pub Could Become The New Refuelling Station For Electric Vehicles 

A lack of rapid chargers for electric vehicles may be filled by inns, retail parks and restaurants. Have a drink, have a drive.  Not of the alcoholic variety, of course, and please consider buying a meal before you set off, but nevertheless that’s the message from Marston’s, the listed brewer and pub chain, the first in its industry to announce the installation of rapid charging points for electric vehicles across its state. 

Nissan Leaf electric car
The All-Electric Nissan Leaf (credit: The Times)

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As the UK electric vehicle industry gathers pace, in particular, in relation to EV charging, one theme has become clear.  EV drivers will continue to demand faster public charging points, in particular, rapid charging points.  Most battery-electric vehicle (BEV) owners will come to expect to be able to charge up to 80% of the EV battery within 40 minutes to 60 minutes.  

Social infrastructure like pubs, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls are perfect EV charging destinations.  EV charging points are a ‘no-brainer’ for attracting consumers.  Just like a decade ago, Wi-Fi was used as a proposition to attract consumers, this decade, electric car charging points will be leveraged to attract consumers.  We applaud Marston’s on its EV charging vision.  We have no hesitation in saying that businesses that fail to provide charging infrastructure risk a loss of clientele.  In our view, by the end of the decade, all social infrastructure will need to have electric vehicle charging stations as a standard service.  

UK Among ‘Best Prepared’ Countries For EV Switch 

The UK is the third best prepared country in Europe for the electric vehicle (EV) transition, according to LeasePlan. Its 2020 EV Readiness Index shows a climb of four places for the UK in the 2020 rankings, compared to 2019’s rankings.  The UK sits behind the Netherlands and Norway, both tied in first place. 

Union flag

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It is indeed good to note that the UK has ranked well in the survey.  No doubt the UK government has supported the adoption of EVs in the UK via schemes such as, the plug-in car grant (PiCG) and Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS).  However, we caution that much more needs to be done to enable mass-adoption of electric cars in the UK.  We should not rest on our laurels.  

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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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