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Will electric cars be driving the future?

Posted on 14 November 2017

Travel is an essential part of our day-to-day lives, and the cars we drive play a big role in this. But how often do we stop and think about the impact they are having on the world around us?

According to the latest government figures, there are almost 26 million cars on the road in the UK alone, meaning a lot of carbon emissions. Luckily, we’re starting to see a positive shift, with an increasing number of electric vehicles entering the market.

February’s Carbon Tracker report, produced in partnership with the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, painted a positive picture for the future. They estimated that by 2035, electric vehicles (EVs) will account for 35% of the road transport market, with this figure rising to over two-thirds by 2050.

To find out more about what this means and what needs to be done to achieve these targets, we reached out to POD Point, one of our Green Tech Heroes.

Daniel Kaplansky, POD Point’s Growth Manager, was quick to highlight changing customer perceptions as key to the increasing acceptance and adoption of electric cars.

“Through ongoing customer research at POD Point, we’ve identified three common reservations that drivers have when considering to switch to EVs: price of electric vehicles, driving range on a single charge and availability of public charging infrastructure.

Electric car charging point

“The market has seen exponential improvement in all three areas over the last few years. A decline in battery prices, alongside advances in battery technology, has helped drive the price of EVs down, while increasing their driving range. For example, the Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, Renault Zoe and the Tesla models have all become either cheaper or seen significant increases in range with each new model.

“As for public infrastructure, this is one area where we can have a direct influence. POD Point launched the Open Charge public network last year (which won Sustainable Transport Project of Year in 2016 at the National Business Awards). The network is accessible via our smartphone app, where you can see charging status and details about each charge point.

Mobile phone

“All Open Charge points also give you a free 15-minute emergency charge, and the charge stops if you don’t verify on the app after 15 minutes. This year a charge was started on the POD Point network every 42 seconds. We’re constantly developing new features on the app and new technology to improve charge point reliability and reduce costs.

“In terms of infrastructure growth, we’re actively working with councils and national UK brands to rollout public charging infrastructure cities and places like Sainsbury’s, Lidl, David Lloyd and APCOA car parks.

“To make sure we’re providing drivers with the best charging experience possible, we’re also working on integrations with popular mapping services like Zap Map, where we host a live API endpoint that shows the status of the chargers at any given time. This means the user will be able to see if the unit is live, whether it's free or not and what rate it charges at.

“We forecast that the EV market will experience true exponential growth by 2020 when car manufacturers are able to sell mass market EVs with 200-mile range for £20,000. We refer to this project as 20-20-20 (2020, 200 miles, £20,000).”

While the future is definitely looking bright, there is still more that needs to be done to achieve the targets set out in the Carbon Tracker report.

Erik Fairbairn, POD Point’s CEO, commented:

“The general view of EVs is that they are still consuming energy much like carbon vehicles. Work needs to be done to counteract that view and make people aware that networks like ours are carbon neutral. All our carbon is offset using carbon programs in place. 

Carbon offsetting programs

“There’s an interdependency between the adoption rate of plug-in vehicles and the rollout rate of charging infrastructure; the more infrastructure, the more cars sold, which leads to increased infrastructure demand, which helps sell more cars.

“In the early market, this cyclical relationship acts as a drag on the growth of both markets but as the market matures we’ll see it become a virtuous circle that leverages laws of accelerating returns. We see that we are entering this acceleration point now. Once we have a 200-mile range vehicle on the market the adoption of EVs will increase along with infrastructure needed to facilitate.”

Want to know more about POD Point? Check out their Green Tech Heroes profile.

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