Electric Vehicle Charging

Why are more businesses and individual users choosing to switch over to electric vehicles?

As motorists become increasingly confident in the capabilities of electric vehicles (EVs), adoption levels are rising in the UK and overseas.

Strong sales growth was seen during 2013, with the Electric Drive Transportation Association reporting greater interest in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-powered vehicles.

Industry analyst IHS Automotive believes global production will rise by 67 per cent this year to 403,000 units, following 44 per cent growth over the last 12 months.

Sales reached record levels in the UK during the third quarter of the year, hinting at changing attitudes as drivers recognise the importance of energy and cost-efficiency.


UK market is growing

Year by year, EVs are accounting for a greater share of the overall UK market.

An estimated £7 million is to be spent on such vehicles during 2014, and by next year, three million electric and hybrid vehicles are expected to be on Britain's roads.

Schneider Electric predicts up to 57,000 EVs will be purchased in the UK alone this year, a figure which should increase to 133,000 by 2016 and 285,000.

This will constitute 15 per cent of all new vehicles by the end of the decade.

But what is it about EVs which is making them an increasingly viable choice for businesses, public organisations and individual consumers?


What are the advantages of EVs?

Organisations across a range of industries - including distribution, business services, logistics, construction, wholesale, heavy manufacturing and the NHS - are making EV investments.

This is in addition to individual drivers, who are choosing to replace their fuel-powered vehicles with an electrical equivalent.

The fact that EVs do not require petrol or diesel means drivers can reduce fuel costs from day one, running more miles on £1's worth of energy.

They are also able to reduce their carbon footprint through reduced emissions - which from a business perspective can meet corporate social responsibilities and appease shareholders and other stakeholders.

But EVs still offer good acceleration capabilities, and without the noise associated with the internal combustion engine.

Meanwhile, continuing industry innovation is making it easier for businesses and individuals to use EVs - the vehicles now take less time to charge than in the past.

Increased coverage of charging points - and greater affordability for customers looking to install their own infrastructure - is also making it easier to use EVs on a day-to-day basis.


Government encouraging adoption                     

The European Union is promoting the use of EVs as part of plans to reduce the reliance on oil over the coming decades, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

As such, EVs are expected to become more prominent on roads across the continent.

Under the EU's direction, the UK government is taking steps to promote EVs as a more efficient form of transport. Subsidies are available to new drivers, as ministers aim to encourage further uptake.

Some 84 per cent of consumers questioned described this public funding as being 'helpful', suggesting that government backing for EVs can help adoption levels increase.

Brits recognise the value offered by electric vehicles - both in terms of environmental impact and cost - and appear willing to embrace the technology if they have the necessary capital.

Around two in five people say they would prefer - given the choice - to drive an EV than a petrol or diesel-powered car.

So by reducing the financial burden on drivers switching to an EV, the government can remove a key barrier to entry - cost.

Last year, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced the government would provide subsidies of up to 75 per cent for vehicle charging points, in a bid to make the UK a "world leader in the electric car industry".

With the costs of installing an electricity dock in a garage or driveway estimated at between £1,000 and £1,500, this initiative has the potential to encourage strong EV adoption in the months and years to come.