Is the UK ready for EVs?

Check out this very interesting look at the UK infrastructure and whether it is ready for the expected increase in the number of EVs on the road;-

Interesting food for thought.

The situation is still evolving in the UK…I live in Northern Ireland,whose local Government body EcarNI announced completion of an All Ireland charging network with an EV roadshow in early 2014.Having been an Ebike owner for some time,I was interested and went along to one,getting a trial run in a Leaf,an I3 REX,and a Renault Zoe.I took delivery of a Zoe 2 months later…How the cars work with public charging is an issue.While most would have a home charger,some don’t,leading to reliance on public networks. The all Ireland network is mainly 22kW AC 3phase units with most main routes covered by up to 50kW rapid chargers for both AC and DC charging.I chose the Zoe over the Leaf mainly for the on board charger,which has variable capability able to accept any input voltage from low speed 3kW up to 43kW rapid and take the maximum available.My home charger takes about 3 hours,a 22kW public charger 1 hour,and a 43kW rapid about 30 minutes.Having mostly 22kW units widely available,this makes the Zoe a good traveller…there are gaps in the rapid charge network making things awkward for the Chademo and CCS equipped competition.Monetizing the charger network is a goal,but as yet there don’t appear to be sufficient users to make it viable just yet.Jumps in battery spec are coming along with the 30kW battery Leaf,and the 40kW Zoe now available.Hyundai’s BEV Ioniq is also now here.I would have liked GM to have made the Bolt available for the UK market in Right hand drive spec,but that’s not happening in this generation.It’s only in Mainland Europe in LHD for now.Things are changing,but EV’s are still not mainstream…I understand Tesla are coming in to Ireland with some early adopters having cars here when we have yet to get a supercharger built…I’m looking forward to improvements and wider acceptance of EV’s!

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That is all extremely interesting. Do you think that the UK government could do more to encourage a wider take-up of electric vehicles? Would you agree that investment in charging networks needs to be significantly increased immediately?

We would be very interested to hear your opinions on individual vehicles as you certainly have a knowledge that would go down well with other forum members.

While the UK Government was providing grant aided funding to help with the purchase of EVs and charge points for the home,there was some abuse of the system reported where some had taken advantage of the “free” chargers with no view to getting an EV…the new chargers were being uninstalled and offered for sale!
Changes to the emissions based vehicle registration tax coming in may help…while pure EV cars currently incur no emissions based road tax,so also do hybrids built to emit CO2 below the cut off 100g limit…the new ratings continue to benefit EVs,but now ANY emissions will incur fees on a sliding scale over several years of the vehicle’s life,with new penalties for high cost cars,which ironically seems to include the new Tesla cars…Current charging infrastructure needs looking at…multiple charger units at a location are still rare,with the result some abuse of the chargers is taking place,preventing efficient use of the facility…Rapid chargers are inyptended to provide an 80% charge in 30 minutes on average…some do not remain with the car so as to allow the next user in…this results in frustration where a charge may be required to continue an onward journey…some have resorted to stopping chargers,unplugging what they see as a “hogging” vehicle,and then plugging in themselves…A fossil fuel station can have multiple pumps to cater for demand…when the only rapid EV “pump” in miles becomes oversubscribed, the situation needs looking at…More slow rate chargers at destination locations like multistorey car parks attached to malls and shopping centres may be part of the solution,but parking being at a premium can lead to the phenomenon of ICEing,where Internal combustion engined cars take a space provided for EV charging,preventing its intended use…clamping an offending vehicle is not the answer…a blocked charger is unavailable to any user (without an extra length charging cable on hand!) Charging etiquette would seem to be a requirement for all drivers.

I think there is also a problem with good old fashioned promotion. I have been past a number of EV chargers in my area which I only found by chance. There has been limited, if any, promotion in many areas of the UK and while investment in the recharging infrastructure is welcomed, there needs to be a lot more promotion of available charging stations today.

GPS/Satnav systems featuring charger locations are the solution to finding them,whether built into a car’s infotainment system,or available as a smartphone app…Plugshare is one such that is useful,though others are available or in development.Plugshare offers a 0-10 rating for a charger’s reliability…helpful to weed out the dodgy ones?