After a record breaking year in 2017, the market experienced an average of 4,000 new registrations per month and progress is expected to continue in 2018. Considering only 3,500 electric vehicles were registered in the entire year of 2013, the industry has witnessed significant growth over the past few years – with the popularity growth attributed to the developments in the industry that are slowly but surely overcoming the initial setbacks of electric vehicles.
The market isn’t new to facing challenges, with many drivers previously criticising the lack of charging points, limited mileage range and the charging time of electric vehicles. However, the UK is working hard to provide more charging points across the country, whilst manufacturers work to improve battery life and mileage range. Nissan have recently launched their new Nissan Leaf with longer range and a one pedal driving system. The new Leaf is said to be able to travel around 50% further on one single charge than previous models. The Nissan Leaf is already branded as one of the most popular all-electric motors with over 283,000 sold since the model launched in 2010 – only coming behind the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The new updates to the Leaf could push it up to the top spot, now it is able to travel further without needing to be charged.
Furthermore, Nissan have introduced a new system that could completely transform the driving process. The one pedal driving system, which at the press of a button turns the accelerator into an e-Pedal, can function to start, accelerate, brake and stop the vehicle. Whilst drivers can still choose to operate their vehicle with a separate accelerator and brake, the system, if used, will also provide added energy efficiency gains.
Here, VW dealership, Vindis explores what other developments the industry is experiencing and what effects they are having on the industry as a whole.
The arrival of new charging points
If demand is to continue, we will need to build a significant level of new charging points to fill demand. By May 2017, there were more than 4,300 charging locations, with 6,700 charging devices and 12,500 connectors – a significant improvement on previous years, but still not enough. And if we are to overcome the ongoing headache that is a full battery charging time of 8 hours, we will need an influx of rapid charging points which can charge up to 80% of an electric battery in just 30 minutes, as opposed to slower charge points. Thanks to a multimillion pound deal with ChargePoint back in May 2017, InstaVolt are installing at least 3,000 rapid charging points across fuel station forecourts across the UK.
According to the National Grid, peak demand for electricity could increase by 50%, if and when the nation switches to electric vehicles, meaning our current infrastructure will not be able to cope with the demand. Instead, we will also need a new infrastructure – which could be needed sooner than we think now that a new pan-European EV charging network has been announced too. IONITY, set up by the BMW Group, Daimler, Ford, and the VW Group with Audi and Porsche, launched the network early November 2017, and plans to work on 20 ultra-rapid charging points has already begun as they target for 400 points across Europe by 2020. 2018 is forecast to see the network expand across more than 100 locations with the intentions of making long distance EV travel easier.
Faster charging batteries are on their way
Electric vehicles still face strong competition from their petrol and diesel counterparts when it comes to refuelling. You can fill a tank of petrol or diesel in a matter of minutes, yet it still takes at least 20 minutes to recharge an electric battery. However, new research, as reported on by the Express, suggests a solution to this problem. Researchers claim they could have developed an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that recharges an electric battery in the same time as it would take to fill a gas tank – a solution to the biggest headache of electric vehicles. This would revolutionise the EV industry, as battery life and its charge has been the biggest challenge for the industry. The new method is said to use fluid electrolytes to re-energise battery fluids – reducing the need for new infrastructure to support further recharging solutions.
Progress is expected to continue for EV’s as the UK government continues to outline their plans to reach their 2040 target of eliminating petrol and diesel cars. We can expect to continue to see significant developments within the EV to overcome some of their biggest headaches, and make EVs more appealing to drivers. If manufacturers can truly cut down the time it takes to recharge the battery, and develop batteries that can travel further, the industry could be revolutionised and experience an influx of drivers wanting to get their hands on an EV. Watch this space!