Good morning and welcome back to The Fast Charge, the electric motoring newsletter. My name is Tom Riley and I’ll be your host.
Today’s edition is quite a short one - just a quick recap of the best stories from the last few days. Friday will be more of a bumper edition!
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In the news…
NEW ARRIVAL: Britain’s white van man is getting electrified. The relatively new automotive startup, Arrival (founded in 2015), has revealed a new van they hope to be in production by 2022. The van will be assembled at a new facility in Bicester, creating around 200 new jobs in the first year. Arrival has already received orders valued at £820 million (made up of 10,000 from postage company UPS). To this point, Arrival is perhaps best known for designing electric buses which have also recently begun testing on First Bus routes. Arrival’s new van model, which looks extremely sleek, modern and actually annoyingly cool, will come with a battery capacity between 67kWh and 133kWh. That provides a range of well over 100 miles, even with the lowest kWh version. Arrival is producing the van using a custom made platform and reducing manufacturing times further by bolting the body together, rather than traditional welding. Arrival is not the only manufacturer to be putting their bets on a demand boom for electric vans, the now enormous Rivian in the US has gained huge growth by producing commercial vehicles for Amazon (over 100,000 so far).
CLASS DIVIDE: Think Tank the Social Market Foundation has revealed a new study report into electric vehicles. The large focus of the report is that, as EVs continue to get rolled out, there is a divide between the rich and the poor on support for them. In particular, the differences are between homeowners and renters. For the report, over 56% of people they surveyed said that high expense was a barrier to buying an EV, meanwhile two in five said a lack of charging points was. There also appears to be a knowledge gap, two in five claimed they had no idea what they should be looking for in an EV. The study also suggests those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to adopt EVs by choice, and that their experience could be an obstacle for the UK reaching net zero. The report is very long but it’s an interesting read (you can find it here).
I definitely think the most urgent finding is people don’t understand EVs. This is so true, and I personally get infuriated when car companies flash ‘charge to 80% in 10 mins’ on TV adverts - as this is only doable in less than 100 stations across the UK. The Government does need to explain the change a lot better than it has. But, likewise, it shouldn’t be sold as a burden, this is a new phase of motoring and is very exciting.
GREATER INVESTMENT: Porsche has invested $84 million dollars to raise its stake in electric supercar maker Rimac to 24% - it was previously at 15%. Allegedly these financial moves may lead to Bugatti, the gods of automitive speed, being taken over by Rimac - as all are part of the VW Group.
PUBLIC PAY MORE: A little bit late to the party, as I’m quite sure endless publications have done this now (including The Fast Charge), but there was new research this week - featured in inews - to back up the claim that public chargers are more expensive than private ones. The research was done by the website My Urban Car, they found driving an electric car 1,000 miles can cost more than driving a petrol or diesel car the equivalent distance. However, what I found most interesting in the story is a comment by Ubitricity’s Managing Director, Daniel Bentham, who complained: “Our customers have to pay a higher rate of tax by charging on the street then they would do at home or work.” This is a reference to the VAT gap between public and private chargers. It’s really great to see such a prominent operator raising this disparity. You’d think with reports like the one from the Social Market Foundation it would be a quick win!
OIL VANQUISHED: Lawrence Stroll, the billionaire chairman of Aston Martin, revealed at the end of last week that the iconic manufacturer will produce electric cars in the UK from 2025. Stroll told the Financial Times that Aston Martin will make an electric sports car and SUV at factories in Gaydon (Midlands) and St Athan (Wales). Not a total immediate switch, though, Stroll has said the company will still make traditional fueled cars for the next decade.
By Tom Riley