During 2016, the total number of electrical cars globally extended past the 2 million mark, driven by falling prices and new manufacturing models. Historically the figures have grown rapidly with only hundreds of vehicles back in 2005, to 1 million in 2015 and over 2 million in the last year.
Growth in the electric vehicle market has been seen worldwide with China leading the way in manufacturing numbers. In some European countries, rates of growth have been so fast that electric cars are now taking significant market share from both petrol and diesel cars. For example, in Norway, nearly 35% of new cars sold are electric, which is the highest proportion of electric vehicles to traditional cars in the world.
The interest in electric vehicles within the UK has increased dramatically over recent years. There are now over 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles on our roads, an increase from 3,500 in 2013. Due to greater availability, a transition in public attitude towards electric vehicles and improvements in charging facilities has resulted in a wider choice of electric vehicles on the UK market.
INVESTMENT INTO ELECTRIC VEHICLE INFRASTRUCTURE
Further investment into electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure have resulted in overall decreasing costs, longer battery ranges and an increasing number of charging points to satisfy the growing demand. Globally, the IEA states there are currently 2.3 million charging points, with the majority being public charging points which suggest most owners are charging at their property.
However, investment into charging points and new infrastructure are increasing worldwide. Recently within the UK, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan announced a further £4.5 million investment into 1,500 new charging points across the city, effectively doubling the number of points available over 2018.
In wider Europe, ChargePoint, the largest operator of electric vehicle charging announced it would buy General Electric's EV charging stations with a further $43 million investment from Siemens to improve the EV infrastructure across Europe. Further policy changes have also encouraged further development within Europe. BMW, Volkswagen, Ford and Daimler recently agreed to develop 400 rapid charging points across European roads by 2020, supporting the Combing Charging System (CCS) standard. ChargePoint consists of more than 36,000 charging spots with infrastructure in place within the UK, Europe and multiple cities within the USA. Last year ChargePoint developed a series of charging corridors from Boston to Washington, DC and from Portland to San Diego.
BUYING AN ELECTRIC CAR
Due to the Plug-in Car Grant being guaranteed until 2018, the future for the electric vehicle market is looking promising. Buying an electric car within the UK is now becoming a more realistic option. There are however three main factors that should be considered when purchasing an electric vehicle.
1. Access: If buying an electric vehicle you must consider the fact that you will require access to off street parking, a driveway, or access to a garage to recharge your vehicle. Data suggest that approximately 80% of UK car owners do have access to one of these options. Government funding can provide householders with the option to apply for public on street charge point nearby to their household. Funding and installation arrangements can be arranged via contacting local authority.
2. Mileage: Your daily mileage should be less than 100 miles and generally be driven on commonly driven routes. Frequent and commuting trips are well suited to electric vehicles as they are usually relatively short and the driver is aware of the journey i.e. distance, route, parking and overall road conditions.
3. Budget: The buyer will need to be able to afford a new/relatively new car. At present there are fewer electric vehicles available on the used car market. Electric Vehicles are relatively expensive in comparison to the more conventional options, which ultimately reduces the options available to interested parties.
Source: Energy Saving Trust
WORLD ELECTRIC VEHICLE ASSOCIATION
Launched in 1990, the World Electric Vehicle Association (WEVA) is a non-profit organization with the objective of promoting the research, development and deployment of electric drive vehicles.