Is the governments’ strategy with Electric Vehicles working?

28th February 2022
Has the UK government delivered a reduction in CO2 emissions and what needs to happen next. Here are some of our observations on the state of play and where focus needs to come now.

When we set up our Company back in 2019, it was with a mission to enable the whole car and Light Goods Vehicle (vans primarily) user community to have their own charging infrastructure to be available to them.

Effectively, having their own refuelling station directly no hand, avoiding the need to go to a publicly available charger and therefore being dependent on the so-called public charging infrastructure.

We are not on our own in doing this of course, so how does the UK picture look today with the efforts of EV Charge-point installers across the country?

But let’s take a look at a couple of other bits of data first, to give some background to the first obvious question and then what has been the impact of these changes to the levels of CO2 expected to be emitted.

Vehicle registrations
Electric Vehicle statistics
So almost 1 in 5 Cars registered in 2021 was either a full battery electric vehicle (BEV), or a plug-in-hybrid (PHEV), both of which typically require the use of a EV Charge-point, either to supply all of the motive power, or to augment the motive power of a combustion engine.

The ratio is about 2:1 BEV’s to PHEV’s and of course that’s good because BEV’s are totally dependant on battery power and therefore have a greater impact on CO2 emission reduction, mile for mile.

Over 305,000 passenger vehicles in total were registered in these two categories in 2021. LGV’s are increasing also, with more models being launched to make the choices greater for small businesses and fleet operators, this trend is certainly going to increase over the next few years and will have a really substantial impact on CO2 emissions as these vehicles generally work hard for their living and cover many miles.

CO2 emissions

So, if the strategy of substituting Internal Combustion engine vehicles by those powered by batteries is the right one, we should be seeing CO2 emissions fall and that is what the statistics show is happening.

It’s a little complicated to measure actual C02 levels attributed to these specific classes of vehicles, so this is a predictive number based on manufacturers average CO2 outputs per mile driven vs those coming from ICE powered vehicles they have substituted.

For 2021 new car sales, the average CO2 emissions have dropped by 119.79 per kilometre driven, an 11.2% drop compared to the previous year and the lowest recorded for 25 years.

The charge-point picture

So, with outstanding growth figures for the battery driven alternatives to ICE powered vehicles, owners/users and fleet operators must be increasingly confident that they can access the right charging equipment in the right location.

They are confident that this change is both improving our environment; air quality and CO2 emissions and at the same time is not causing undue anxiety about being able to get to their destinations effectively and without inconvenience.

This job of putting enough chargers in the right place and providing the right access to those charge-points for the different types of user groups is what our Industry is all about.

So, let’s look at the different types in turn.

Publicly accessible charge-points

These are located on motorways; highways; car parks and other places and with the right access can be used by anybody.

1. They sometimes cost the user, sometimes they are free to use.
2. Work is constantly going on to make these easier to connect to, in terms of payment systems and their numbers are constantly increasing, as demand for them grows.
3. This category has grown in number over 9% per quarter since 2015 and by October 2021 was 25,927 in the UK. That already exceeds the number of retail fuel stations in the UK.

Domestic charge-points.

That’s those that have been fitted under the Government Home Charging Scheme, being eligible for grant support to reduce the cost to the purchaser.

1. Since 2014, when the scheme began, over 136,927 have been installed.
2. That is over 5 times the number of public charge-points in the same period.
3. Suggesting that users are seeing the benefit of having that charging utility at their residence being highly valued and convenient.
4. Obviously, it is effective too and is not a huge expense.
5. It’s possible to recover the cost of fitting the equipment within 2 months from the reduced ‘fuel’ cost obtained by switching from petrol or diesel vehicles to electric vehicles.
6. It has been suggested that more than 70-80% of charging ‘events’, that means each time a vehicle is plugged in, will be charged by this option.

That makes it by far, the most popular circumstance in which charging will take place.

With ever increasing range capability for BEV’s, perhaps the single most popular option and may be only on a few long journeys would reliance upon any other charging type be required.

Workplace charge-points

Similarly to the domestic charge-point section above, the government runs a scheme to encourage businesses and NFP organisations, depending upon eligibility, to fit EV chargers at places of work.

1. Since this scheme began around 6,000 ‘sockets’ have been installed in these locations.
2. This scheme, we believe, plays an important role in allowing people who cannot access EV charging at their home, for various reasons.
3. To some extent, this could help alleviate the difficulty encountered where EV users only have ‘on-street’ parking available and this represents a real challenge moving forward for our Industry.
4. Nobody wants to a myriad of EV charging cables litter across pavements and so on, so the more workplace charging points there are, the more likely we are going to see this issue avoided.

On-Street residential charging

This is probably the least known and most under utilised of the current government grant schemes.

It is designed to actively encourage local authorities to assist in the provision of street charging, for those who cannot park their vehicle elsewhere.

1. Only 681 of such charge points were installed, covered by that grant scheme up to the end of 2021.
2. This is a disappointing level of uptake and way too few charge-points in this type of situation.
3. There is already a further 140 projects currently in the pipeline, covering about 3,200 ‘sockets’, so there seems to be some level of acceleration going on and that is welcome.

Alongside installations carried out under these grant-aided schemes, there will be many others charge-points which have been installed, but it’s a bit more challenging to quantify the numbers because they are not formally collated and made available, as far as we are aware.

What happens next?

So, progress is being made, we believe private infra-structure, in the form of charge-points and systems, is and will continue to play a vital role in the continued uptake of BEV’s.

The automotive industry; battery manufacturers; vehicle retailers are all really switched on to the migration to BEV’s and our industry has geared up with hundreds of installation engineers and multiple suppliers of the charge-points are investing tens of millions of pounds in creating the capacity to get this job done.

CO2 outputs are starting to come down, at least at a calculated level and they will continue to fall, if we all do our bit.

It’s exciting to see and we will keep you posted as we all travel on this journey together.

Be part of the future, today.

Nigel Ryan
Supplier and Business Partnering
EVC Solutions Ltd

At EVC we do business that won’t cost the earth.

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