Swedish energy business, Vattenfall and Shell’s NewMotion have announced a roaming agreement to give seamless access to their respective customers to each company’s EV charging network in the UK. Both companies combined have up to 400 charging points across the UK. The customers are set to benefit from the agreement, as they will be able to charge their EV across the combined network using one app or charge card.
Both companies have also announced their intention to increase the number of charging points available for seamless access by entering into further partnerships. Anthony Hinde, director of Vattenfall’s EV charging business, InCharge said “what is the norm in many European countries – seamless, simple, flexible public charging points as a result of roaming agreements between operators – is still a rarity in the UK.” NewMotion CEO, Sytse Zuidema said access to good charging infrastructure was a “key consideration for drivers before they make the switch to driving an electric vehicle.”
Vattenfall’s, EV charging network is Europe’s largest network with over 118,000 charge points across 30 countries.
This is certainly a step in the right direction. Even though, the majority of EV charging is done at home, public charging infrastructure has dominated EV discussions for sometime. The two primary issues raised, have been the availability of charging points across the UK and seamless access across charging networks. The good news is that the number of public charging points in the UK has already surpassed the number of conventional filling stations. However, given the very fragmented nature of the charging network i.e. a number of operators with ‘closed’ access systems, the issue of seamless accessibility has remained the ‘Achilles heel’ of public charging. Drivers demand, ease and convenience. We believe the announcement by Vantenfall and Shell will now accelerate the process of seamless network access. We hope that within 12 months, at least the major operators in the UK have agreed and executed ‘roaming deals’.
A parliamentary report from the cross-party science and technology select committee, has criticised the incumbent UK government for holding back progress on the country’s clean energy goals. The UK has a legal binding target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The report has called for a number of measures to be implemented by the government, to meet its objectives in tackling the climate crisis. Some of these include:
- Stamp duty incentives for energy-efficient homes
- Bringing forward the ban on petrol and diesel cars
- Discourage personal vehicle use
The report further criticised the government on reversing policies like the cut in subsidies in onshore wind, solar power and low-emission cars.
We could not agree more with the main themes of the parliamentary report. Tackling the grave issue of the ongoing climate crisis requires, a robust and forceful execution of policies to incentivise the adoption and growth of various low-carbon technologies. We also strongly agree with the use of fewer personal vehicles and in fact have echoed this sentiment in a number of articles in the e-zoomed blog. We encourage the use of sharing schemes, in particular, those platforms that have electric vehicles in their portfolio. E-Car Club is a case in point.
The average price of an electric car is falling in the US, while the median retail price for all vehicles in the US increased by 2% compared to the previous year. Data from Cox Automotive, shows electric vehicle prices in the US dropped by 13.4% compared to last year. The hot selling Tesla Model 3, the most popular EV in the US, has contributed to the decline in EV prices. 80% of EVs sold in the US are Tesla electric cars. Continued drop in costs of EV batteries and increasing economies of scale for sourcing and manufacturing, are expected to result in further price drops.
Price drop in any rapidly growing industry is inevitable, and the electric vehicle industry is no different in this regard. The renewable energy industry is a good example. A brief look at the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), will clearly demonstrate the drop in price of solar and wind power, in relation to conventional energy prices. We believe, that the EV industry will demonstrate a similar price curve, such that the affordability of EVs will become more attractive.
The introduction of the Tesla Model 3, is the start of a process of introducing affordable electric cars for the mainstream market. Even the recently announced Mini Electric priced below £25,000, demonstrates the commitment of automotive manufacturers to achieve EV price competitiveness, in relation to conventional petrol or diesel cars.