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Are school children behind rising e-scooter crashes?
The latest news from the world of EVs
Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a weekly British EV newsletter.
In today’s edition… new e-scooter collision statistics, Fiat to end all non-electric sales in July, and DeLorean reveals an exciting car.
Also, I wanted to flag two things. Firstly, I’ve started an experimental TikTok account to talk about the EV sector. My videos have been viewed over 140,000 times thus far and I’ve answered a huge number of questions from people – EVs stoke lots of comments! Anyway, if you’re hip enough for TikTok, do give me a follow.
Secondly, all going well I should be in Oslo for EVS35, one of the largest EV events this year, in a couple of weeks. Planning to use my trip to learn about Norway’s EV rise. If anyone here is going, it would be great to chat. Likewise, if you have any recommendations, do let me know!
As ever, to get in touch you can simply reply to this email.
In the last week…
RAPID RISE: The RAC got quite a bit of coverage recently for some research that showed the price of rapid chargers had increased by 21% since last September. For an average family-sized EV, this represents an increased cost of £4. While the price to use a rapid charger is still much cheaper than the cost of petrol/diesel, the cost has been rising quickly thanks to increasing pressures on electricity networks in the backdrop of gas inflation. This news was also used by RAC and the lobby group FairCharge to again call for the “bizarre way that electricity is taxed” – referring to the differing VAT rates for public (20%) and home (5%) electricity supplies – to be changed. Read more.
SCHOOL SCOOTERS: In the Queen’s Speech three weeks ago, it was announced that the UK would soon legalise the use of private e-scooters. This follows the trials that the Department for Transport backed around the UK for shared e-scooter schemes, which largely seem to have gone alright. However, new data out last week about collisions on e-scooters raised my eyebrows. The government data showed a 180% rise in casualties/injuries involving e-scooters between 2020 to 2021. As my learned friend Jaan from the EV Universe newsletter pointed out, this rise is likely a natural result of the swelling e-scooter population – now thought to be near 1 million in Britain. Though, what I think should cause concern is the time of day when most of these accidents occur… 4 o’clock in the afternoon. This is just after most schools in the UK tend to finish (normally from 3.30pm).
This hypothesis seems to be further backed by the fact, according to DfT, the age group between 10-19 years old had the highest number of reported incidents compared to all others. Should private ownership become legal soon, I hope the right safeguards are put in place. Read the data.
NO, BODY? As a follow-up to the above, I noted in the e-scooter statistics, DfT writes that scooter users “are not protected by a vehicle body in the same way car users are and tend to be harder for drivers to see on the road. They are, therefore, particularly susceptible to injuries.” What do they mean by a ‘vehicle body’ and is this something that can be easily set up?
SUB GROWTH: On a further topic of micromobility, new research by Boston Consulting Group has suggested that ‘subscriptions’ are the fastest-growing segments in the market compared to shared schemes and ownership. This seems to mirror a similar growing trend for electric cars. According to BCG, subscription services in micromobility are projected to exceed 30% annually over the next decade. Read more.
UPDATED NUMBERS: Last week I published a feature about the huge increase in micro charging networks based on Zap-Map’s market share data. Since publication, Zap-Map has informed me their figures were inflated and they’ve now corrected them. The updated market share chart means that the increase in micro charging networks wasn’t as dramatic as initially thought, turns out the small networks only operate a 30% share, not 40%. While not as a big, this is in some ways more worrying though, as it means there are some 67 entities chasing a small but critical piece of the charging pie. The updated numbers also reveal that the top three biggest networks (Ubitricity, Pod Point, BP Pulse) operate 40% of the UK’s devices – not a third as I’d originally thought.
LAND ROVER: At the end of last week there were lots of reports that Jaguar Land Rover may build its EVs in Eastern Europe, as the company expressed worried about the UK’s ability to deliver a home battery supply chain. According to a spokesperson for JLR, no decisions have been made yet, though it’s evidently a veiled threat to the UK government. Personally, I think it’s a bit churlish of JLR to be making these threats, especially after its stalled performance meant in January the government ended up guaranteeing 80% of a £625 million loan to the company from 12 banks. That taxpayer-backed loan was given to secure JLR’s future in Britain, not somewhere else.
GIGA WORRY: While JLR’s stance is perhaps dubious, the worry about Britain’s battery capacity is not. Only this morning, a Reuters report from Blyth, where the gigafactory by Britishvolt is being built, summarises the concerns many in the industry have about whether the UK can get up to capacity. This is especially prudent as, from 2027, carmakers will need to ensure 70% of their EV battery packs are British/EU made, otherwise they will face tariffs. Read more.
FUTURE PAST: After many months of patient waiting, DeLorean Motor Company have finally released proper images of its new EV. Back in February, I wrote that it was an opportunity to deliver a truly ‘mouth-watering’ car – as there aren’t that many supermodel EVs yet. Well, I quite like what I see. As if a Porche Taycan mated with an Audi e-tron GT, the new model has the looks of a superyacht and the sophistication of an established EV player, not just something you saw in a film once. DeLorean says the car will do 155 mph and has a 300-mile range. It also comes with gullwing doors, much like the original icon it’s superseding, and the wheel rims look like jet engines. The only criticism I have is, why have they squeezed four seats in? Looking at the PR images, it seems you’d need to saw off your legs to sit inside. Though, perhaps a worthy sacrifice. Read more.
HUGE HUB: Last week First Bus opened its new charging hub in Glasgow fit with 160 rapid chargers – making it the biggest such hub in the UK. The depot will mean around 150 EVs can be charged at one time, which you’d think would blow the fuse of Britain, though Scottish Power Energy Networks and Ofgem have made it work by building a new substation. In addition to supporting First Bus and its electric fleet in Glasgow, the new depot will be open to third-party businesses during the day when its buses are out on service as part of a trial. Bravo! Read more.
EV CONVERSION: I had no idea this was the case, but under UK legislation if you convert a car from having an internal combustion engine to one with an electric motor, the car’s tax class doesn’t change. This means people converting old cars to EVs don’t benefit from the tax savings. One person has set up a petition with nearly 900 signatures to get this changed.
ELECTRIC LORRY: Volvo Trucks has announced it is developing electric lorries that can travel 600 miles on a single charge as part of a mission to cut emissions in the freight industry. Volvo Trucks has six pure electric truck models and introduced a new lorry with a longer range earlier this year. The latest model has a range of around 300 miles and Volvo wants half of all trucks sold to be electric by 2030. This is great news, though the worry for Volvo and others is ensuring there are proper charging hubs in place, albeit I imagine many of these vehicles may go from hub to hub, rather than use public networks. Read more, spotted first in the Off to Lunch newsletter.
ICE AXED: Yesterday Fiat said it would remove all non-electric models from sale in July this year because all of its main cars are available with electric powertrains (either in hybrid or pure electric formats). Fiat has said making this move will further shift consumers to more sustainable mobility. I’m not certain, but I believe this will make Fiat the first legacy carmaker to end sales of internal combustion engines in Britain. Congratulazioni!
URBAN EV: Final story of the day, Citroen has announced that its micro EV, the AMI, will be priced at £7,700 in the UK. That makes it one of the cheapest cars you can buy in the country. Obviously, that comes at a cost. The AMI only has a range of 43 miles and a top speed of 28 mph. It also has little space and only two seats. But, despite its smallness, there is something quite fascinating about it. For example, my brother is currently on holiday in Paris and, despite seeing a whole host of amazing landmarks yesterday, instead he sent me a picture of one he saw with the tag “a wild AMI !!!!!!!!”.
CHINESE WHISPERS: Though it’s happening far away, the slowdown in China’s EV production due to Covid-19 lockdowns (yes, they are still a thing there) is having a knock-on effect for the whole world – Tesla, for example, has been struggling to ship enough EVs. However, if you really want to understand how hardcore their curtailing is, apparently the lockdowns meant not a single car was sold in Shanghai during April. Shanghai has a population of 25 million people!
By Tom Riley