This article first appeared in our autumn ’18 issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, The Consumer Revolution, distributed with the Guardian on 16 Nov 2018. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Green number plates signalling ultra-low emission status. Zero Emissions Zone trials. Grants for any employer installing EV charge points. Ideas and initiatives for boosting the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) have accelerated recently, in an effort to make electric vehicles the norm rather than the exception on UK roads.
In September, Theresa May announced further support for the industry at the very first Zero Emission Vehicle Summit. She outlined a plan to ensure Britain ‘leads from the front’ in the widespread adoption of EVs, committing £106m in funding for research and development for electric vehicle technology.
Theresa May also elaborated on the 2040 target to make all manufactured cars emission-free, saying that this should be reflected in all cars on the road just 10 years later.
The government’s stated commitment to electric vehicles is being matched by a rise in interest from drivers, as the perceived hurdles – including the initial cost of switching to an electric car and the mile range compared with traditional petrol and diesel cars – are being cleared.
Last month, EVs accounted for one in every 14 new cars purchased in the UK. Explanations include the availability of a range of cars that do at least 150 miles on a single charge, the falling cost of the electric vehicles themselves, 90% reductions in fuel spend for EV drivers and a rise in the number – and the visibility – of charge points.
There’s also been more conclusive research into the environmental impact of EVs; a recent European Climate Foundation-commissioned report found that an EV emits half the CO2 emissions of a petrol or diesel car through the course of its lifetime. An electric vehicle’s overall impact has now been demonstrated to be positive.
A new breed of EV
One company is on a mission to help drive the adoption of electric vehicles. Octopus Electric Vehicles is pioneering an ‘EV bundle’ that will give drivers everything they need to make the switch, for one monthly price.
The innovation has come from energy supplier Octopus Energy, which is driven by a mission ‘to make buying energy as easy as buying cornflakes’. Similarly, the team at Octopus EV wants to help to make the switch to an electric vehicle as easy as possible, for as many people as possible.
‘For us, the EV journey begins long before we start talking about leasing options and charge point installation’, says Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus EV. ‘There’s a big education job to do – many people still believe that they’ll need to stop every few miles to recharge and that the range of models is limited. Our Drive Day roadshow has proved enormously popular, touring the country to let people come and see the cars for themselves and question EV experts about exactly how it all works.’