Our vision to get more EV drivers on the road are ambitious, and rightfully so. Business drivers in particular have the potential to make a huge commitment to the shift to EVs – but only if there are adequate EV charging points. If we’re to revolutionise EVs for Business Drivers, some of the key considerations we need to make must include:
- The Timeline For Improving EV Infrastructure
- How The EV Revolution Is Being Stalled
- How Many More Charge Points We Need
- The Rise in Zero-Emission Vehicles
- Business Sector Commitments To EV
- Small Businesses And EV
- Improved Charging Infrastructures And Our Planet
There is a very clear and important link between alternative refuelling for business drivers and reaching CO2 targets by 2030. But, as highlighted by The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), for us to reach any targets for road transportation beyond 2020, would require a major review into the infrastructure for EV’s.
The Timeline For Improving EV Infrastructure:
The recent European Green Deal (EGD), published 11th Dec 2019, set out an optimistic roadmap of eventually creating a climate neutral Europe. The EGD proposed circular renewable economy, comprising a comprehensive network of EV charge points, would be vital components towards reducing climate impact.
But as time moves on, the climate crisis is not waiting around for the EV industry to accelerate these vital improvements. Or as As Jagoda Munic, Director of the Environmental NGO, put it:
“The promises are too small, too few, and too far off – we’re on a runaway train to ecological and climate collapse and the EU Commission is gently switching gears instead of slamming on the brakes.”
Arguably, the EV industry isn’t moving quickly enough to try and achieve some of the CO2 targets. With the infrastructure and volume of charging points we currently have, the EGD €750 billion initiative is a start but arguably may not be ambitious enough.
How Many More Charge Points We Need:
There is widespread acceptance that the lack of quality publicly available electric charging points, being installed in the right locations is a major hurdle in bringing EV’s to the mainstream. Without an adequate number of charging points, the industry cannot feasibly move forward. We need to see a sharp increase in the numbers of publicly available Rapid DC (25-150kW) and Ultra-Rapid DC (150kW+) charge points in the UK and Europe. And we’re seeing a huge disparity in the rise of zero-emission vehicles, and the required public charge points needed to support their refuelling.
According to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory, across the EU there are currently approximately 165,000 public chargers, which include a mix of Fast AC, Rapid and Ultra-Rapid Direct Current charge points. But in their June 2020 Position Paper review, ACEA determined that in order to provide a suitable ratio to meet the rise in demand, we’d require around a 15 fold increase. Numbers wise, this means an increase from around 165,000 to 2.5-2.8 million public charging points, by 2025.
The Rise In Zero-Emission Vehicles:
So what is the estimated rise in numbers we’ll see of zero-emission vehicles? Is the need for more charging points justified? Well, if we want to meet regulatory CO2 targets, then yes – absolutely.
Using the EU benchmarks to reach emissions targets for road transportation, zero emission vehicle transition needs to reach 15% by 2025, 25% by 2030 and 35% by 2035. To put that in some sort of context, a 25% transition means about 30 million electric vehicles on Europe’s roads by 2030. And all of these additional vehicles require a suitable charging infrastructure.
This is no mean feat for the EV industry, but with so much at stake for our climate, we must play our part in making our roads greener. And with the right infrastructure in place, business drivers and the road transport sector have an important part to play.
Additional Support For Fleet Vehicles:
How crucial can the business sector be to the EV transition? Given how much they contribute to annual emissions – fleet vehicles in particular could be integral. As the European Environment Agency (EEA) has calculated, the road transport sector accounts for over 21% of all greenhouse gas emissions. As the battle against climate change is being fought on several fronts, there is nowhere more critical to the fight than road transportation.
So as we move closer towards the emission target for 2030, there will need to be additional consideration and support for large haulage and last mile delivery vehicles. Haulage vehicles in particular, which travel larger distances to carry heavy loads, will require their own ultra-rapid EV infrastructure and charging points. They’ll also require a constant supply chain of suitable vehicles, batteries, and adequate EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment).
If changes are not made to these specific infrastructures, or the required connected renewable energy sources, then fleet vehicles will not be in a position to switch to EV, or sufficiently supported to make the right decisions.
Business Sector Commitments To EV:
What commitments are we making within the UK business road transportation sector to EV, beyond looking at infrastructures? And how should this inform the importance of any further decisions?
Well, with mounting pressure to ban petrol and diesel vehicles by a target date of at least 2030, an exciting partnership of influential companies has emerged. Together, they’ve formed the UK Electric Fleet Coalition (UK EFC). Members include the BT Group, Centrica, DPD UK, Fleet Alliance, Foxtons, Hitachi Capital UK, Iberdrola (Scottish Power), Ingka Group (IKEA), Natwest Group, Octopus, Openreach and Unilever.
With a combined fleet of over 400,000 vehicles, the alliance is a force to be reckoned with in the fight for EV’s. They’re due to publish a policy to promote investment in charging infrastructure, so we’re likely to see a push for more charge points commercially and in workplaces. They’re also calling for 100% EV sales in the UK by 2030.
These members are becoming increasingly influential as they seek to reposition themselves as EV enterprises. This growing commercial movement towards decarbonising road transport is an indicator of trends to come.
Small Businesses And EV:
But how can small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) help? While the statement of intent from the blue chip companies and UK EFC is a huge, influential boost to the success of the transition towards electrification, the real foot soldiers are our 6 million SMEs.
In the UK, 6 million SMEs equates to 99% of all UK businesses. And it is they, with individually far more limited resources, who will need to add continued support and momentum for renewable energy. Out of 500 companies surveyed in the UK:
- 30% are already incorporating EV’s
- 46% actively making plans to transition
- 50 % of the rest said they believed they would transition within 5 years
As more businesses support the EV industry by making the transition, we can hope to see crucial changes to infrastructures.
Improved Charging Infrastructures And Our Planet:
Climate change, already a global threat to the planet, has understandably been overtaken by the urgency of our collective response to COVID-19. Yet the pandemic and the havoc wreaked upon our lives as a result may have also enhanced our commitment to fighting climate change. A sense of vulnerability may have focussed our attitudes about the environment we occupy and the air we breathe. As we emerge from the pandemic the expectation and demand is that we will return to a better world, one we may need to rebuild and where pollution will not be tolerated as readily as the past. This therefore is an opportunity for all of us especially in transport mobility. Events of the last 12 months, particularly for business drivers can provide a catalyst for investment in a cleaner environment and a change for the better.
Clean electrified transport needs quality charging infrastructure and never has there been a more important time to support the transition to EV’s. If we introduce more government funded incentives we can reduce the number of polluting ICE vehicles by encouraging drivers (especially business drivers) to choose electric. And in doing so we will be making important and vital steps towards decarbonisation that will have an exciting impact on mobility and he business sector. A small investment up front in EV and EV infrastructure could save us, our businesses and our planet, a tremendous cost down the road.