Good morning and welcome back to The Fast Charge, the electric motoring newsletter. My name is Tom Riley and I’ll be your host.
It was my birthday yesterday so this edition only contains a round-up of recent EV stories - I have a slightly sore head! Normal service resumes on Tuesday.
The most interesting news today in my opinion is the potential for a new trend of ‘bi’ charging points. And, no, it’s not about mating with a lamp post.
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In the news…
HOW SURPRISING: According to a poll of 13,000 by the AA, drivers reckon there will be 6.5 million EVs on UK roads by 2030 compared to just 5.5 million diesel cars. Although, motorists believe petrol will still be the top dog with a predicted 30.2% share in 2030. However, in a similar poll 12 months ago, that prediction was 58.5%. Certainly shows how attitudes are changing fast. Then again, is it really surprising given the government’s recent ban announcement? Read more.
OH HENRY: Building on their commitment a couple of weeks ago to invest some $29 billion in EVs by 2025, Ford has this week pledged that all of its cars on sale in Europe will be electric by 2030. This follows similar commitments by Jaguar Land Rover earlier in the week. Ford is also going to invest $1bn (£720m) converting a vehicle assembly plant in Cologne (Germany) to become its first electric vehicle facility in Europe. Read a bit more.
MAKE YOUR OWN: An Israeli company that develops platforms for electric cars and trucks is planning to create 200 jobs at a new $92 million UK design headquarters near Hinckley. The company is called REE Automotive. Their tech involves putting key components such as steering, braking, suspension, powertrain and control into the arch of wheels – allowing a completely flat and adaptable electric chassis that provides the maximum amount of room for passengers and cargo. This will allow manufacturers or businesses to build their own EVs with ease. This is very similar to the Cornwall based company I wrote about early on in February.
MONEY BAGS: According to new filings, Tesla posted revenues of £589m in the UK for 2019-20, up 88% from the previous year, based on accounts filed with Companies House. Their profits have doubled too. Being one of the first and leading brands in EVs, Tesla has capitalised on the British surge in electric motoring - its Model 3 is one of the most popular cars in the UK.
BI-CHARGERS: Speaking of Tesla, a former manager there (Doug Alfaro), who helped roll out the superchargers, has spoken of what he believes will be the next killer charging feature: bi-directional charging. Essentially, rather than homes being used to charge electric cars, reversing the situation so cars can also act as power sources for homes. In some ways, this idea sort of already exists in Tesla’s Powerwall - a smart battery for your home. Doug works for WallBox, the fast-growing charging point start-up that offers a bi-directional charger. So far it seems only Nissan has vehicle-to-grid enabled electric cars available. However, other big names like BMW are keen to get into this area. The reason this is valuable is cars could give back energy during peak hours (when it’s normally pricey) and charge up again during off-peak (when it’s cheaper). Learn more or watch a video about it by WallBox.
NEW LEASE: Hyundai is to create an electric vehicle battery leasing business with the aim of reducing the initial cost of buying an EV. The hopes are that if battery costs are low there will be faster pure electric adoption. Part of Hyundai’s plan also ensures that, after extensive use, leased batteries can be recycled more efficiently, such as being used as storage capacity in charging networks. So far I believe this will only be available in South Korea though. Read more.
TRUE COST: There have been a lot of articles this week following research by What Car who analysed the cost of using public chargers. What they found is for a basic BMW i3, using a public charge to go from 10% to 80%, can cost anywhere between £9 and £40 per charge. Naturally, there has been a lot of outrage that this is no cheaper than using a fossil-fuel car. Although, for followers of this newsletter it will not be news. I did my own research on this topic earlier in February and found something similar. However, a key part that What Car seems to have forgotten is the extra 20% VAT on the public prices too. Read my research here.
By Tom Riley