Joe Ellwood, ABB’s EV charging infrastructure expert, answers our questions on making the switch to an electric vehicle (EV).
Is now the right time to be driving an electric vehicle?
There has never been a better time to be driving an electric vehicle (EV). Recent events in the UK have shown how susceptible internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs) are to factors affecting the supply of fossil fuels. Moreover, it has shone a light on how dependent we are on reliable and sustainable forms of transport.
EVs themselves are also more attractive than ever. One of the biggest sticking points preventing most drivers from switching is range anxiety. This is the common misconception that, unlike ICEs, EVs have too short a range and will unexpectedly run out of battery. Yet, newer models increasingly compete with ICEs on range, and EVs with even longer ranges will be coming onto the market over the next couple of years.
There are numerous financial benefits to making the switch. The running costs of an EV are significantly lower than that of an ICE. The fuel cost per mile can be up to 75% cheaper, and the maintenance costs are typically halved. Moreover, major vehicle manufacturers are developing more reliable, more powerful, but also more cost-efficient batteries. Analysts at Bloomberg predicted that the rapid development of cheaper battery tech means that EVs will become “as affordable as their petroleum counterparts” within the next few years.
The government will pay up to £2500 of the initial purchase price of an EV costing less than £35,000. This is on top of exemptions and discounts from various congestion charges, ULEZ, and Benefit-in-Kind taxes for company and fleet vehicles.
One of the biggest benefits of owning an EV is being able to charge at home. As an EV driver myself, I regularly wake up to a “fully fuelled” vehicle because I can leave it plugged in overnight. You can charge from a standard wall plug or invest something more powerful. ABB’s AC Terra Wallbox, for example, is over three times as powerful as a standard socket when powered by a single-phase supply and can fully charge an EV in around eight hours. The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) will pay up to £350 of the price of select domestic chargers through their EV Homecharge scheme (EVHS).
How easy is it to find a charging point?
Roadside chargers are readily available and can charge EVs faster than ever. For example, GRIDSERVE’s Electric Highway covers 85% of the UK’s motorway network as well as various towns and cities nationwide. There are an increasing number of ABB’s 350kW DC ultrafast chargers being installed, which can supply 200 miles of range in less than 20 minutes.
There are also a host of smartphone applications which tell you where the nearest charger is, how powerful it is, and whether it is in use or not. This makes planning longer journeys incredibly simple.
Even more charging points are on their way. EV charging infrastructure continues to grow at a pace through government funding and increased investor interest. The government has introduced a £950mn Rapid Charging Fund to help meet future demands on the electricity network from EV charging.
What can we expect in the future?
People should not feel like they must repeatedly “wait until next year” before making the switch to an EV. The vehicles themselves, the chargers, and the charging infrastructure make owning an EV cheaper and as straightforward as owning an ICE.
That being said, there are still many ongoing technological developments to get excited about. For example, the chargers are getting continuously more powerful, more reliable, and more user-friendly. ABB has recently unveiled the Terra 360, the world’s fastest EV charger yet released. More astonishing is its multi-car charging capabilities. One unit can split its power to up to four separate EVs, thus providing a variety of charging solutions in one package. Global release for the Terra 360 is set for 2022.
Various sites are also testing innovative vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems, where the electricity can also flow from an EV back to the charger. This means that plugged-in EVs act as alternate energy storage systems for the grid for load balancing during peak hours. Financial incentives would be provided to drivers signing up for the scheme.
For lighting, electrical, signage, and technology solutions that allow you to do more call Sverige Energy today at +4(670) 4122522.