As experts in Electric Vehicle (EV) consulting and the installation of EV charge points, we have enjoyed front row seats to the exponential growth of our industry. But for the rest of the world, and indeed the majority of consumers, what are some of the key markers of change, obvious to the untrained eye?
The acceleration towards EVs is signposted everywhere – even for Joe Bloggs. It’s a movement which would now be impossible to put into reverse, thanks in part to some of these components:
- We’ve Woken Up To Climate Change
- We’re Seeing More Pro EV Incentives
- Car Manufactures Are Changing Their Game
- There Is An Increased Choice In EV
- Traditional Energy Providers Are Rebranding Themselves
- Collective Consciousness Is On The Rise
And these pointers, as this article will discuss, are evidence of what is to become a monumental shift in transportation…
1.We’ve Woken Up To Climate Change
Amongst several other, slightly less favourable accolades, 2020 might well be remembered as the defining year in which the world woke up to climate change. This is in a way, thanks to the COVID-19 crisis – as we discussed in a previous blog.
From our position in the industry, we’ve witnessed first-hand the shift in societal beliefs about cleaner transportation and our environment. The pace of growing public awareness, which in the pre-pandemic years was plodding along painfully slowly, has since accelerated.
Post-pandemic, consumers are more receptive to technologies which place emphasis on protecting the environment. And critically, they’re more engaged in how EVs and renewable energy will play a part in a future less reliant on fossil fuels. And as the public opinion towards climate change evolves, an increased presence in pro EV and go green incentives is further proof of, or added momentum for, a shift
2.We’re Seeing More Pro EV Incentives
It’s been particularly significant to see the EU continue to focus on climate change action during the pandemic recovery period. There’s been plenty of chatter around ‘The European Green Deal’; with a €750 billion war chest for energy efficiency renovations, cleaner transportation and renewable energy initiatives. The hope is that, with the right funding, our recovery from the COVID-19 crisis is ‘climate-smart’; which means a recovery with policies and actions designed to help protect economies from future climate-related shocks, far greater in consequence than the current pandemic.
Thanks to the Clean Air Zones (CAZs), Low Emission Zones (LEZs) and Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZs) schemes, there’s added motivation for switching to plug-in cars sweeping across drivers of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles. From an earlier ‘why, what’s-in-it-for-me?’ position, where the main drivers were fiscal incentives, lower running and maintenance costs, and a cursory nod to climate change due to cleaner emissions, there is now an almost palpable rising tide of concern solely for the environment. This especially from those who may not have considered themselves ‘green’ previously.
These cleaner air incentives are important to the EV industry, especially when coupled with further schemes designed to improve public understanding of the health complications associated with toxic air. The ‘For a greener NHS’ campaign for example, which launched in 2020, pointed towards the 36,000 air pollution related deaths in the UK annually – packing a punch in the fight for EV.
3.Car Manufactures Are Changing Their Game
Besides incentives to increase uptake of EVs, measures have been introduced to also discourage the continued use of diesel and other fossil fuelled cars with high levels of NO2 and CO2 emissions, especially in our congested cities. Penalty costs associated with driving cars with higher emissions are a real disincentive for petrol and diesel car users, and a precursor to shifting to electrification. These are set to continue with higher Benefit In Kind (BIK) taxes, road duty taxation and the introduction (albeit COVID-19 delayed) of numerous Clean Air Zones (CAZ’s) in our most congested cities.
And so, as the penalties against ICE consumers stack up, the car giants have scrabbled to reorganise their offering to the market. After long lurking in the shadows of the new kid on the block (who doesn’t advertise and has achieved remarkable brand affinity – it’s Tesla if any readers are wondering), they are beginning to roll out, what is rumoured to be, hundreds of millions in advertising this year promoting new EV models.
4.There Is An Increased Choice In EV
And so, one of the clearest observations we have made indicative of growth, is the increase in choice available across all aspects of the sector. From charge points, through to models, softwares, tariffs and installers; it’s an ever growing list illustrative of a market’s evolution. No longer is the early adopter faced with a ‘well-that’s-all-there-is’ shrug of the shoulders when considering their purchasing options.
In fact, in the UK there are now 100+ plug in models on the market, with even more scheduled due to be released in 2021. And with a reported 35+ new EV and PHEV models being introduced this year (hello Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 and the Ford Mustang Mach E), there will be more new EV and PHEV models released, than new petrol or diesel models released in 2021.
To seasoned new market observers, an increase in choice is a sure fire indicator of a new market gathering momentum. Today, there are EV models suited to almost every consumer need; based on size, daily average mileage and even your available charge points. And with the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales looming, EV will one day be consumer’s only choice.
5.Traditional Energy Providers Are Rebranding Themselves
Thanks to a global pandemic, our love affair with our planet is stronger than ever. The fragility of our home, security and our own mortality, has been shaken – so it’s not surprising that we’re now more keen to invest in the future generations. Not missing a beat, some of the biggest companies in the world have clocked on to this fact. As such, some much finer points of market evolution will be evident to the more keen eyed amongst us…
Oil companies have, almost overnight, reinvented themselves as energy providers (et al), as they seek to shift the image of their core focus from ‘dirty’ businesses to future friendly, utility providers. Shell, the ‘super major’ oil and gas company, and 3rd largest enterprise in the world, recently had the best consumer Broadband offer in the marketplace. Whether they’re getting ahead of the curve, or getting out entirely, this shift from oil and gas from the market leaders themselves, makes way for the new green kid on the block.
6.Collective Consciousness Is On The Rise
The zeitgeist of the crisis has been an unwavering sense of community spirit – it’s transcended county lines, country borders and transatlantic time zones. When our economy flatlined in 2020, we learnt (whether we admit it or not) to trade morals and ethics like currency. As a result, we feel a heightened awareness towards our moral responsibilities, whilst many of us have reconnected with our neighbours in ways unseen in peacetime Britain. The collective consciousness to go green (which is greater, and more fashionable than ever) is informing changes in our consumer behaviour.
EV offers an opportunity for some ‘good samaritan’ consumerism; it’s compliant with our collective responsibility to be greener as a society. Whenever we decide to adopt new tech, we always relish in sharing the news of our shiny new purchase with our friends but this has added value if it’s in line with the collective conscious. If you don’t own an EV, I am certain you feel a little envious of someone, probably a neighbour, who does. And the ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality is a powerful one…
So as the charging stations quietly (and slowly) pop up to meet this tsunami of growing demand for Electric Vehicles, where do you fit in? Are you ready and prepared for this unstoppable, futureproof, greener New World?