It’s a concept that has been with us for more than 100 years, but it’s only now that the electric car is reaching peak popularity. The Paris Motor Show in 2018 showed off a variety of plug-in models and concepts. One such display included Renault’s new additions to its EZ family, while Mercedes’ first all-electric vehicle, the EQC SUV, was also there for all to see. Here, we take a look at just what may be in store for the electric car industry in 2019.
A brief history of the electric car
Innovators from the Netherlands, Hungary and the United States were the first to bring the electric car concept to fruition in the 1800s. By 1901, Thomas Edison worked on developing a better battery for the vehicles, thus creating the first hybrid electric car. Following crude oil’s drop in price in 1920, electric vehicles decreased in popularity and petrol and diesel models took control of the automobile market.
How have electric cars improved?
There is no denying that electric cars have got far better over the years. There are currently over 150,000 electric cars on Britain’s roads and the amount of rapid charging connectors has hugely increased since 2011, including the introduction of CCS, Tesla, and Type2 connectors.
In the UK, the average journey is just 15 miles, but electric cars have always brought along a sense of anxiety of breaking down away from a charging point. Maybe in the past they would only be capable of short distances, but currently you can expect a full charge to allow you to travel in the region of 200 miles. Better yet, 96% of motorway service stations can provide a rapid charging point, which will provide a 100% electric car with 80% power in 30 minutes.
UK car dealership, Lookers, recently put the vehicles to the test when, alongside charity BEN, they drove an electric car from Dublin, through to Scotland before heading down to Eastbourne at the bottom of England. Of course, without enhances in the vehicles and charging points, this wouldn’t have been possible.
Future of electric cars
There’s a great possibility that the recent dramatic re-emergence of electric cars will continue. One main reason is the UK government’s projection to stop the sales of new petrol and diesel models by 2040. It also pledged that at least half of all new vehicles will be hybrid or electric by 2030 in its push to reduce vehicle emissions.
There is an abundance of companies who are also trying to stay ahead of the game and are upping their EV charger installations. Distribution network operator, Northern Powergrid, is a positive example of a company seeking to get ‘hands on’ as part of its preparation for the increase in electric vehicle and associated demand for more connections and EV charging points. It is introducing new charging points across 11 of its own sites to encourage employees to go electric well ahead of the 2040 ban on new diesel and petrol car sales. “We have to get hands on and lead by example,” said the company’s Head of Policy Development, Jim Cardwell. “Although colleagues frequently have to take our vehicles to places where there is no electricity, there is huge internal appetite to decarbonise as much of our fleet as possible, as soon as is practical.”
Northern Powergrid is also involved in EV projects where are designed to aid the UK transport system play a huge role in the low carbon future. These include a £9.8m collaborative project, announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and led by Nissan, that will see 1,000 V2G charging points added to the UK’s network. It has also signed an industry-leading Memorandum of Understanding with Nissan to carry out projects that will look at how EVs, batteries and other technologies can support energy networks and is supporting customers looking to connect EVs to its network.
Ed Jones, Nissan’s EV Manager, said: “We’ve always known that Nissan’s EV technology can be used for so much more than just getting people from A-to-B and we’re delighted to be sharing our expertise to help create more sustainable energy networks in the UK. Through the integration of Nissan EVs, we can find new solutions that will help shape a society whose energy use is sustainable, efficient and affordable.”
Initiatives such as this can help to ensure that electric charging points simpler to find. There are three types of charging available: rapid, fast, and slow. Across the UK, we are noticing a continuous rise in locations to be able to charge electric vehicles. In November 2018, 596 ports were added, and this number is only going to rise in years ahead.
It’s notable that there are indeed bigger things to come regarding electric vehicles. With companies now on board with the changes, and the public embracing the models, the electric vehicle industry is certainly heading in the right direction.