Electric Car News Roundup – 44

electric car news

Only Five Car Battery Tech Patents Filed From The UK In 2019, Says BDO


A record number of patents were filed in 2018/2019 as countries race to develop electric car batteries – but data suggests the UK is falling behind when it comes to the automotive technology. Advisory firm BDO has found 3,400 battery patents were filed in this period, a 57% increase on the year before when 2,167 were filed.  However, only five of those filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation came from the UK, compared to 2,500 from China. 

Tesla electric cars
Tesla Electric Car (credit: CITY A.M.)

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At one level this is encouraging news, in that, there is significant activity and innovation is regards to electric car battery technology.  Even though we have come a long way over the past decade in battery performance and range, we at e-zoomed believe that we are still relatively early in the evolution of EV battery technology.  

2019 witnessed a number of announcements related to potential improvement in EV battery performance, but we are yet to see these commercialize.  Though it is not surprising to learn that China has filed numerous patents, it is nevertheless concerning to note that China filed 2,500 patents i.e. the significant majority (73.5%).  For the long-term stability of the global EV market, it is imperative that innovation (R&D) is far more evenly spread across the globe.

In comparison to China, only five patent applications came from the United Kingdom.  We do not need to point out the obvious: lower levels of innovation lead to lower levels of value creation and leadership in the EV sector.  The UK government will need to act decisively and urgently in developing a comprehensive framework that encourages innovation within the UK in regards to the EV supply chain.   Maybe the £8 million grant being returned by Dyson could be use to ‘seed’ a new EV innovation funding framework.  It is also worth noting that Tesla Inc. chose Germany over the UK as a destination for its Tesla Gigafactory!  


How London Is The WORST Place In The UK For Finding A ‘Rapid Charging Port’ For Electric Vehicles 


An interactive map reveals the scale of Britain’s electric vehicle (EV) charging points and shows how the infrastructure varies around the country, with London lagging behind other cities. London came bottom of a list of ten cities when measuring the percentage of its charging locations that put out more than 43kW of power when plugged in. This amount of power is the qualifying criteria a charging station must meet in order to be classified as ‘rapid charge’, according to the firm that collected the data. 

electric car charging points
Electric Car Charging Points UK (credit: esri UK)

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As the EV market in the UK gains traction, one thing is clear, potential buyers of zero-emission electric cars want convenient and fast charging.  For those that live in homes with a private garage, access to rapid charging, though helpful at public charging points, is not as imperative, as for EV owners living in cities, without access to a private garage/driveway. 

It is now a well known fact that 80% of EV charging is done at home, overnight.  Though faster charging speeds are always helpful, it is not as imperative for an overnight charge in your private garage or driveway.

However, if you live in a city like London, where access to a private garage is limited, rapid on-street public charging infrastructure is vital in encouraging the migration from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).  In our view, till such time large-scale rapid charging infrastructure is not accessible in UK cities, residents will resist accepting electric driving.  According to the findings, London has only 8.56% rapid charging points, while Leeds, the city to top the list, has 43.14% rapid charging points.  Both London and Leeds have the highest populations compared to the other eight cities on the list.  8.8 million and 7.8 million respectively.  However, it is worth noting that London has 184 rapid charging ports versus 22 rapid ports in Leeds.  Also, London has a total of 2,150 ports compared to 51 ports for Leeds.  


Audi Pauses Electric-Car Production As Tesla Zooms Ahead


Audi halted output of its e-tron SUV to resolve production issues including battery-supply bottlenecks as it prepares to flank the model with a sportier variant, underscoring the struggles traditional automakers face to boost electric cars and challenge Tesla Inc

electric audi e-tron
The All-Electric Audi e-tron

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We have been saying this for sometime now.  The Achilles heel for the electric vehicle industry is not charging infrastructure.  The real potential weakness is the supply of EV batteries.  

EV battery manufacturers are ill-prepared for the fast approaching mass-adoption of green cars, with significant risk to automotive manufacturers and the broader migration to electric driving.  Despite all the fanfare related to battery-electric vehicles, the current production volumes are relatively modest.  As an example for the launch of the all-electric Volkswagen ID.3 there was a UK allocation of just 1,500 all-electric vehicles.  

If indeed, the UK government proceeds with the ban of new internal combustion engine vehicles from 2032, the EV industry will have to supply significantly more EVs.  

The big question is: will the automotive industry be able to supply significantly higher pure electric car volumes by 2032? This is the multi-billion dollar question!


We at e-zoomed are more than happy to assist you with all your EV needs to include:

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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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