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In the aftermath of the government’s revelation that new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars will be banned from 2035 and possibly as early as 2032, the realisation is starting to hit home that electric vehicles are the future.

Britain is by no means leading the charge in initiating this policy. Norway has set a much shorter deadline of 2025 for a ban on new petrol and diesel cars and some Chinese cities are discussing a date around 2030.

This means, however, that we have 15 years at most to prepare the UK for the switch and the influx of electric vehicles this will bring to our roads. As qualified and approved installers of EV charging points, NLT is poised and ready to be a part of the drive towards greener transport and we’re already exploring the best ways we can help do it.

We believe the changeover will be hugely advantageous in a lot of ways, and not simply in terms of the environmental benefits. Car owners will reap the rewards of cheaper maintenance and running costs once the price point of EVs becomes more manageable, which Bloomberg forecasts will be sooner than you might think. They predict the purchase price of electric vehicles will reach rough parity with fossil fuel cars by the middle of this decade.

The fact is, however, there is still a long road ahead of us to ensure British motorists can keep motoring once we’ve replaced gas guzzlers with eco-friendly electric cars and vans.

Huge leaps have been made over the last ten years, with electric vehicle charging stations nationwide now outnumbering petrol pumps (As of August 2019, there were 9,199 electric vehicle charging stations across the country compared to 8,396 standard fuel stations). But, there still isn’t nearly enough provision to cope with the increase expected in EV car sales.

The National Grid

Sweeping infrastructure improvements are required beyond the installation of charging points. These charging points need to be connected to the national grid’s transmission network and upgrades will be necessary to cope with the increased load that rapid chargers in particular will require.

The National Grid’s recent report ‘Electric vehicle charging – enabling the switch’ highlights key areas that will require investment with anticipated costs for grid upgrades reaching £1bn. How this will be funded is another challenge yet to be confronted.

The report states:

A comprehensive network of car chargers will be vital to ensure we are ready for EV uptake, which could come much faster than anticipated. Electric vehicle charging will be needed at five locations, with appropriate charging speeds.

While charging at home will be a convenient option for many, there is also a need to supplement this with local fast charging stations and charging facilities at destination points e.g. place of work, shopping centres etc. In addition, a network of ultra-rapid chargers (up to 350kW) will be needed at strategic points along the motorway network.

Understandably, The National Grid will be prioritising the motorway network and service stations which will have the greatest need for rapid charging. For electric motoring to really work, however, it will require corporates, councils, destination venues and individuals to do their bit.

Homeowners will need to equip their driveways or garages with personal overnight charging points. Companies will need to provide charging points for employees. Logistics companies and fleet operators will have to consider charging of their owned vehicles.  Public car parks, town centres and any destination people currently drive to such as shopping centres, stadiums and other venues should also be considering how they can accommodate electric vehicle charging.

Government grants

There is some financial help available with government grants already accessible to individuals and employers towards the cost of installing a charge point at home or at work.

Grants of up to £500 are available towards the cost of installing a home charge point and the government’s workplace charging scheme also provides eligible businesses with support towards workplace charging points.

Our concern, however, is that we’ll find ourselves drastically under-powered with potentially chaotic results if the EV revolution takes hold faster than we’re prepared for.

Sales figures show that the rise of electric vehicles has already begun, with 37,850 electric vehicles joining the UK’s roads last year, up from 15,510 in 2018.

Our advice

We are advising local authorities, destinations and companies to formulate strategies to facilitate the switch earlier rather than later. Start integrating EV charger installation into budgets and development plans.

We can offer site visits to explore EV infrastructure solutions of any scale, from town planning to homeowner installations. We can assess the most suitable locations, help with advice on products available, design single or volume installation plans and calculate associated costs for both installation and ongoing running and maintenance.

If you would like to learn more about how you can prepare for the switch, call us to arrange a no obligation consultation on 01827 767100.

Posted on 27th February 2020

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