Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter.
In today’s newsletter… the E-Niro gets a makeover, BP admits they are falling short and could we see wireless charging become more widespread in 2022.
Also, for those of you that are going to Fully Charged Outside this weekend, I will be there on Saturday soaking it all in. If you’re going to be there, be sure to holla! If you’re not going, don’t worry. I’ll put in a special report next week.
As ever, you can contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the news…
EV-OLVE: Kia, the South Korean manufacturer who have been fast reframing themselves (like every other carmaker I suppose) as an EV brand has decided to redesign one of its most popular models: the Kia E-Niro. The new design should be available from next year and will look a little bit more like the EV6. The new model certainly looks a little more polished than its predecessor. Albeit, what I’ve always liked about the E-Niro is it looks like, well, a car? Take a look at Autocar.
BATTERY SWAP: An automotive start-up in Munich has revealed an urban EV it’s created with the ability to undertake battery swaps. The company is called ACM (Adaptive City Mobility) and it has allegedly been developing its ‘City One’ car for some eight years. Evidently, none of those years were spent on its looks, because it strikes me as something B&Q would create. It will be cheap though, starting at around £9,000. However, it’s thought that this vehicle won’t be for personal buyers but fleets - given the battery swapping potential. Read more.
NEW IPO: Rivian, the much talked about American EV start-up, has decided to go public. This will likely help them raise more funds - as well as providing a potential payday for investors (that includes Ford and Amazon). Thus far, Rivian is yet to deliver a production car. However, it has over 100,000 pre-orders, plans for factories across the globe and many test models have been spotted in the wild. An IPO could value them at $70 billion, which would make them more valuable than Ford.
BP PIECE: In the past week, Autocar has published an interview with BP’s Vice President of future mobility and solutions, Richard Bartlett. In the piece, Autocar questions Barlett on BP’s EV plans as well as their tech. He does seem to be quite forthcoming saying that “we need to tidy up some of the legacy assets” in reference to Chargemaster’s network. And, also, admitting “it is true that we have more to do” in reference to the state of BP’s current charging network in the UK. Later in the article, Barlett also suggests he doesn’t see hydrogen being needed for personal cars (interesting) and gets very excited about the prospect of ride-hailing. Read it here. You can also read by feature looking at BP Pulse here.
TESTING TIMES: Recently, The Sunday Times seems to have become a hive for those who are worried about EVs. This weekend was no different and saw an article posted suggesting chargepoints were going to ruin people’s front gardens. The reason is that many homeowners will pull up their garden to install a driveway. The warning has come backed by famous gardener Alan Titchmarsh. “If we all block pave our front gardens, we are paving our way to disaster.” And then later in the article, Christine Eborall, who has campaigned to keep cars out of front gardens since 1995, also said it could be a “domino effect” of people dropping curbs in London to build driveways. I’m sorry, but are these people missing something in the head? I feel like I’m a rather pragmatic EV fan - I have no qualms criticising them when necessary - however, this is just mad? The majority of homes that can have a driveway already do. And as for London, if Christine ‘neighbourhood watch’ Eborall can point out to me a home in the city that has the potential for a driveway but hasn’t installed one, I will eat my shoes. Does she not know how much permits are? Read more.
BETTER TIMES: As well as the main paper, the Sunday Times Magazine this weekend also featured a long piece about driving an EV and using the public infrastructure. As one can probably guess without reading it, the writer encountered many troubles. The saving grace comes at the end as the writer says: “Despite the manifest problems, I’m still going electric. Hydrogen is probably beyond the horizon. Petrol and diesel prices are only going one way. More chargers are coming, but the government needs to take matters by the scruff of the neck. Without urgent action, the electric dream is going to turn into a nightmare.” And he is correct. You can’t argue with that, but it would be good at some point to see a bit more EV love in the Sunday Times. Read more.
NEW TAYCAN: The very popular Porche Taycan is getting a new paint job in 2022. The car will be available in a lot more paint options, such as the classic regal-looking pink. As well as new colours, future Taycan models will also come with faster charging - at the moment they can do 270kW but are likely to do 350kW going forward. Read more.
LANDMARK MOMENT: It’s the most popular vehicle in the UK and now seemingly one of the most popular in the world. Tesla Model 3 sales are now believed to have surpassed 1 million. That’s an almighty figure especially after the year the world has just had. According to data gathered by CleanTechnica, the Model Y is not far behind either. Given the Model Y has only landed in Europe, I wonder if soon that will be the most popular Tesla.
WIRELESS TECH: I’m a bit late to this story, but I hadn’t quite grasped how exciting it’s all getting in the wireless charging department. Not only did this month see a new trial launch in Nottingham to wirelessly charge taxis while they wait for customers. But, last week, the carmaker Genesis (who are launching in the UK imminently) has revealed that its new model (the GV60) will come with a wireless charging option. If you’re unfamiliar, the GV60 is a family SUV much like the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 - both of which have been extremely popular with buyers in the UK. It’ll likely be more expensive than them both though - as Genesis is a premium brand. The GV60 is apparently the first vehicle that will offer wireless charging to personal customers (not fleets). The feature will take around six hours to recharge the batteries, compared to approximately ten hours using a traditional wall charger, according to the manufacturer. It’ll be huge if true and could really change how we think about charging a car if it catches on. Though, I’m sure many will be wary about putting charging pads in their drives - cue Alan Titchmarsh - however many people are pretty normalised to wireless phone charging now so maybe it will catch on. It could have huge potential for those running public networks too. Imagine it, rather than arriving at a chargepoint, having to lug your cable out and use an app… you just pull up and park. WiTricity is the company delivering the wireless tech for Genesis. They say the charging efficiency of its wireless systems is between 89 and 94%. It can also run-up to ‘level 2’ charging speeds (which is between 3 and 22kW). The GV60 should be available in the UK at the end of the year however the wireless option may start off in South Korea. Read more TechRadar.
ROAD PRICING: New research by the Tony Blair institute has suggested that a £30 billion black hole will need to be filled due to the EV switchover. The lost revenue is likely to come from a fall in fuel and vehicle duty. The solution proposed - which has already been discussed by the parliamentary Transport Committee - is to introduce a road pricing scheme. This might see drivers taxed for every mile they drive. The Tony Blair institute argues waiting too long to implement such a policy will become harder the longer the government waits. The AA disagrees, they say: “History has shown that the straight concept of ‘road pricing’ will never be popular with drivers and is often described as a ‘poll tax on wheels.” Read more.
By Tom Riley