As recently as 2017, it proved to be a record-breaking year for the electric vehicle market – which averaged over 4,000 new registrations per month, and by December, witnessed over 132,000 new registrations. 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 number of charging points in the UK, battery life, charging time and mileage ranges are the main setbacks for the industry – however, manufacturers are working to overcome these issues. 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.
Set to transform the driving experience as we know it is Nissan’s one pedal driving system. The 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 service provider, Vindis explore what other developments the industry is experiencing and what effects they are having on the industry as a whole:
More charging points for the UK
More than 4,300 charging locations were available back in May 2017, with 6,700 charging devices and 12,500 connectors. However, if the popularity of EVs continues, we will need to continue to build more charging points to fill demand. 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.
If demand continues, the National Grid expects thatpeak demand for electricity could increase by 50% if and when the nation switches to electric vehicles, meaning we need a completely new infrastructure to power the charging points. This could be 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.
Better batteries for the future
Whilst there are currently rapid charging points available across the UK, these still require at least 30 minutes to fully charge a battery – a lot longer than it takes to fill your tank with petrol or diesel. 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.
Plans are set to continue to ban the sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 – and if they are to go ahead, we can expect to continue to see significant developments within the EV industry to overcome some of their biggest headaches, as well as 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!