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How prepared is the UK for the world of EV?

The UK car industry has weathered several storms in recent years, with Brexit uncertainty causing significant difficulties, and Covid-19 closing dealerships and factories.

With these significant pressures, there are no surprises that the new car sales market was down by 24.3% in June 2022 compared to the same month the year previous, equating to the worst car sales since 1996.

Despite this, the overall market picture for EVs paints a very different and positive picture. Electric car sales have soared in recent years as a result of increasing consumer demand, more electric models available than ever before, and Government incentives.

However, if the UK is to go ahead with the Government’s confirmed plans from November 2020 that sales of new cars without significant electrification would be banned in 2030, then the charging infrastructure in the country will also need to be rather more substantial than what it is currently.

MDE is enthusiastic about the EV revolution and has been involved in a number of promising EV battery storage projects in recent years.

As we approach the 2030 government deadline, this blog will examine current market predictions and shed some light on the current EV market share.

How many electric vehicles have been registered in the UK so far?

According to a report released in 2021 by market research firm Deloitte, price parity for electric vehicles in the UK is expected by 2022, making them as affordable as combustion engine vehicles. Given this, it stands to reason that EVs are significantly less expensive to operate than gasoline and diesel vehicles, according to studies, by half to two-thirds. This is because EVs are more efficient, electricity is less expensive than gasoline, and there is no tax on driving them (a road pricing system is likely, but some way off).

However, in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and record fuel prices, these savings are available only to those who can afford large upfront costs - and, of course, access charging.

We sifted through the data beginning in 2011 to see how plug-in EVs have grown in popularity over time. Despite the fact that electric vehicles are not a new concept, they only became popular in the United Kingdom in 2010.

According to data sourced by the UK Government, annual registrations remained consistent from 2011 to 2013, with only 3700 plug-in EVs on the road by the end of 2013.

EV sales (including PHEV) surged in 2014 by a huge 300% due to Government incentives put in place that year - the tax exemptions and £5,000 grants were certainly a strong factor in this uptake.

By 2015, plug-in electric cars accounted for almost 1.1% of new car sales, up from 0.59% in 2014.

With this in full-effect registration data suggests that the average growth rate year on year (YoY) for plug-in EVs from 2009 to 2021 has been an impressive 41.89%.

2022 electric market statistics: How far have we come so far?

Sales of plug-in vehicles have reached an all-time high, according to Zap-Map. Over 480,000 of the 870,000+ plug-in electric vehicles on the road as of May 2022 are battery electric, with 390,000 known to be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

The data collected from the Government source only calculates registrations up to 2021, but we can estimate that the total number of plug-in EVs registered in the UK by the end of 2022 will be an additional 400k based on the average 41.89% YoY growth rate.

How does the UK compare to other countries?

Electric car market leader Norway has an even more ambitious target of 100% electric vehicle sales by 2025 – just three years away. Already, more than half its new vehicle sales are electric. They currently have a 64.5% share of electric vehicles with the UK sitting in fourth with 11.6%.

The road to 2030: How will the UK charging network facilitate EV growth?

With the average length of each car journey in the UK being around 8.5 miles, it's clear that frequent top-ups from charging stations like the ones we're seeing in supermarkets, gyms, and petrol stations, rather than large weekly charges, are what the country needs, especially for those without driveways and garages. One analogy that many people use is that charging an EV is similar to charging a smartphone battery.

By 2030, it is expected that 6.4 million battery electric cars will be on UK roads, improving both air quality and the transportation sector's contribution to the country's carbon emissions.

The UK currently lacks convenient, affordable, and reliable charging for all, despite the government's commitment of £1.6 billion to expand the UK charging network, with around 300,000 public chargers expected to be available by 2030.

This new strategy for improving the consumer experience at charge points benefits people who do not have access to off-street parking and provides fast charging for longer journeys.

This growth is encouraging and indicates that the UK is prepared for the Government's plans for the next 10-20 years. But the hard work must not stop there; according to a recent Uswitch study, motorists' biggest concern about switching to an EV was a lack of accessible charge points, with over 31% of drivers mentioning this issue.

With the sale of new petrol and diesel cars banned by 2030, making the switch to electric will no longer be a choice, but rather a necessity.

With such a significant infrastructure overhaul looming in the coming years, and the current electricity grid's limited capacity, it is critical that landowners and businesses stay ahead of the curve and begin the process of installing charge points to meet the demand for EVs.

Promising solutions

RAW charging are driving the creation of one of the largest networks of public charging across the UK and Europe.

While many companies were still trying to convince the world that fossil fuels would last forever, their founding members were already gaining experience in electric vehicle charging.

RAW Charging was created by the founders of RAW Energy, who previously specialised in the development and investment of renewable energy projects across the UK, including solar parks, solar rooftop installations, commercial biomass boilers, and biomethane anaerobic digestion plants using food waste. 

Taking care of every aspect of the EV charging process, RAW provide a turnkey, hands-off solution, right from initial consultancy, projection analysis, and financial modelling, through to full surveys, planning, civils/electrical installations, and ongoing asset management; they are end-to-end experts, giving partners comfort for the long term.

RAW Charging recently reached an agreement with SolarBotanic Trees to initially supply 200 solar trees as part of the RAW Network of commercial EV Charging sites being rolled out across the UK & Europe. Deliveries will start in mid-2023 and be completed in 2024.

The SolarBotanic Tree is an attractive solar power system that generates electricity and will initially be integrated into the existing RAW Charging site infrastructure to supplement its renewable power requirement, while in the longer term the SolarBotanic Tree will incorporate RAW’s industry-leading hardware and battery storage into the solar tree structure.

It's exciting to see a company share our holistic approach to matching the correct EV technology to the respective use. We've been working closely with RAW Charging, building a strong relationship along the way, with a strong focus on their recruitment process and we are excited about what the future holds.

EV solutions at MDE Group UK

We are a leading recruitment agency in the renewable energy sector, which includes EV battery storage. Our consultants work with a wide range of companies and organisations that are passionate about making the transition to EV. We also have an array of talented EV battery storage-focused candidates available and looking for new opportunities.

Looking for a job in EV engineering/storage? Check out our vacancies here.

Adam- Electric Vehicle Engineering/ Battery Storage Recruitment Consultant
Adam- Electric Vehicle Engineering/ Battery Storage Recruitment Consultant
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