Electric vehicles are promising increased security by reducing dependence on fuel, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and in turn increasing public health by improving air quality. Although, there are still major social, technical and economic barriers to widespread adoption of EVs.
Appearing on a panel at Highways UK, some of the major industry and government leaders came to discuss some of the biggest issues facing the uptake of EVs and why people should consider making the switch. This includes vehicle costs, long charging times, range anxiety and new EV users.
The current conflict in Ukraine is causing energy prices to soar and many consumers are concerned about how much their EV will end up costing them. Edmund King, President of the AA, highlighted that in a study done by the AA, 60% of people would not buy an electric vehicle due to the fear of high energy costs.
However, the planned rise of electricity to around 34p per kWh back at the start of October, did raise the price of running an EV but this is still cheaper than driving an electric car. King’s main message was “try it!”. The panel expressed that the psychological barrier needs to be broken and consumers need to be shown the transformational experience an EV would have on a household.
Rising energy prices are not the only thing that prevents users from making their next car an EV charging infrastructure is currently a rising challenge within the mobility industry. The petrol station experience needs to be matched, charging an EV needs to be as quick as filling up an ICE vehicle and users need to be able to charge their vehicles whenever and wherever they are.
James Court, CEO, EVA England discussed the benefits of owning an EV in households across the UK. Court stated that “60% of households have a driveway” which he claims would be more convenient and cheaper when owning an EV. However, what about the other 40%? Existing structures are not designed to support charging stations in apartments, condos or those who rely on street parking.
Owning an EV is a completely different way of owning a car and once infrastructure becomes accessible for all, the transition would be seamless. Rebecca Allen, Project Rapid Engagement Lead, Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) said that governments are listening to infrastructure needs: “we hear them, we recognise them, we are working to sort them.”
Allen highlighted that £1.6 billion has been given by the government towards infrastructure to ensure that EV chargers can be found on motorways, A- roads, street parking and local amenities around the UK. All new properties being built must have the ability to house an EV charger. National Highways are working closely alongside OZEV to push the rollout of automated and electric vehicles. Liz Garlinge, Strategic Customer Projects Director, National Highways highlighted the role EVs play in reducing incidents caused by fuel and distraction of drivers.
Electric vehicle adoption will continue to grow and will soon be a valuable asset for society if managed correctly. EVs will help support clean energy initiatives and will offer drivers a seamless experience. The industry still faces issues such as range anxiety and cost and we must continue to give EV users the confidence to make the switch.