EV infrastructure strategy coming this month
The latest news from the world of EVs
Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter.
In today’s edition… an important job vacancy, lots of investment, and news of impending government strategies.
If you have any questions or comments, please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last week…
JOB OPENING: The EV Association for England, an organisation started during the pandemic to advocate on behalf of EV motorists, is on the hunt for its first CEO. The role is being advertised until 18 February. According to the role profile, the group is now in a position to recruit a small team thanks to grant funding. The grant has been given under the proviso that the group should be self-sustaining in 18 months. The job of the first CEO is to therefore build revenue streams, fundraise and establish stakeholder networks (with a possibility to extend, presumably if successful in the mission). In some ways this is a huge task, whoever takes on CEO has an opportunity to build something of real value in this country. You’ll also get to work with a great group of people. The salary on offer is ‘up to £55,000’ which, perhaps, is a bit low for this type of role, however, if this sounds right up your street, or you know just the person for the job with the right appetite and experience, please do apply.
ELECTRIC LUXURY: Following on from the announcement in Autumn last year, Rolls Royce has said today that all its current models will go fully electric by 2030. This includes the Cullinan SUV, Ghost saloon and iconic Phantom. Their CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, told Autocar: “We aren’t only driven by legal: we’re also driven by our fairly young clientele worldwide, and we’re seeing more and more people asking actively for an electrified Rolls-Royce.” Read more.
FOOTBALL EV: In a different bracket of ‘luxury’, Bentley, the new money carmaker, announced last week that its first all-electric car will be developed and built in the UK. Bentley revealed that it would make a new EV at its factory in Crewe and is committed to investing some £2.5bn in sustainability. This money will be used to fully transform the entire Bentley fleet. The actual details of Bentley’s first all-electric are yet to be revealed. Read more.
BUILD MORE: Sticking with Volkswagen (who own Bentley), their managing director for the UK, Alex Smith, made comments this week calling on the pace of the infrastructure rollout to accelerate. “We’ve got to get the charging infrastructure ahead of the game to enable us to progress from the quite specific adoption that we have at the moment into mass adoption. And we’re not there yet,” said Smith. His worries are drawn from the fact, according to data they’ve seen, in areas where there are a lot of public chargers there is an increase in EV sales. It’s part of what Smith says is ‘charging anxiety’ amongst would-be EV owners. This is something I’ve mentioned in this email a few times and it is correct. However, Smith is incorrect to say we are falling behind. While at face value, it does seem like we’re heading towards a charging drought, we are actually on track for 2030 - though we can always do better.
STRATEGY INBOUND: February is due to be a big month for the EV sector. We can expect not just one but two important documents to be published by the government. The first is a doc that will cover everything the UK (government and industry) is doing to prepare for 2030, the second document, and perhaps more important, will be the long-awaited EV infrastructure strategy. It’s hard to know when exactly these will come out but, according to my sources, I would suspect the second half of February - as the first part of February will undoubtedly be taken up with the levelling up white paper.
OH CHARGER OF SCOTLAND: Elsewhere in the UK, last week the Scottish government announced that it would be aiming to double the size of its public charging network (ChargePlace Scotland) by creating a new £60 million fund for local authorities. It’s expected 50% of this money will come from the private sector. Currently, ChargePlace Scotland has some 2,100 chargepoints around the country. Read more.
GUARANTEED MONEY: Talking of investment, fresh on the back of the government’s funding for Britishvolt, UK Export Finance yesterday announced that it has provided a government guarantee to a £500m loan to Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). This money, which comes from commercial banks, is going to be used by JLR to invest in developing all-electric models that will be available from 2025. The loan guarantee, which has undoubtedly helped JLR to borrow such a large sum, was most likely made due to the company’s reputation and sales around the world - but also perhaps because the iconic British brand has been struggling (its sales were down 38% last year). Apparently, 80% of everything JLR makes in the UK is exported. This isn’t the first time Jaguar Land Rover has used this guarantee, they first benefitted in 2019 meaning they’ve been guaranteed £1bn since 2019. Read more.
IGNORED FANS: More than 30,000 people have signed a petition in the US calling on President Biden to stop ignoring Tesla. It comes as, not without reason, Biden has seemingly left Tesla to it during his EV drive, instead choosing to dedicate visits and meetings with companies like Ford and General Motors. Even Elon Musk has complained saying “for reasons unknown, POTUS is unable to say the word ‘Tesla’”. Naturally, there are lots of good political reasons he might not go near Tesla. For one, Musk’s critical stance on unions, his move from California to Texas, Tesla’s relations in China, or perhaps just the fact Elon is slightly erratic. Read more.
SUPERCHARGER: In other Tesla related news, the company has expanded its programme of allowing non-Teslas to use its supercharger network to France and Norway. This follows a pilot in the Netherlands. This means there are now around 40 stations in Europe that can be used. I’m sure it won’t be long now until this extends to us in blighty!
MY SPACE: Ending this week by highlighting a story in The Sun. It’s about a man who has complained that his neighbour is hogging the chargepoint space outside his home. “This car persists in staying on this charging point in St Luke’s Close Addiscombe for four or five days at a time. It's being treated as his own personal parking space,” said the neighbour. While perhaps just another classic ‘getting ICEd’ story, I would expect similar stories in the future. But not about ICE vehicles, but instead EVs hogging convenient charging spots - it was certainly a behaviour I encountered in Fulham - I wrote about it last year. Read The Sun story here.
By Tom Riley