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It's taking 20 days longer to sell used EVs + Meet a Luvly mini car
The latest news from the world of EVs
Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter.
In today’s edition, Auto Trader’s latest report shows significant challenges on the road to 2030, Tesla comes to terms with lower profits, and I hear from an exciting minimobility company.
As ever, if you have any thoughts or comments, please do get in touch. Likewise, if you’re heading to Fully Charged Live this Friday, let’s grab a coffee. My contact details are here or simply reply to this email.
EV buyers need help to reach 2030
Background… Last Thursday, Auto Trader published the latest version of its Road to 2030 report. For those who are unaware, this regularly updated report tracks lots of data points – and uses insights from their marketplace – for an updated view of EV progress.
The headline… The main revelation in the most recent report is that buyer interest in new EVs has dropped by 65% since the beginning of 2022. Reasons include the cost of living pressures, the higher cost of borrowing, and the continued energy spike.
Poor choice… Another factor underlined by Auto Trader’s report is that there is very little choice for those wanting cheaper or second-hand EVs. A really crazy fact is that there are now fewer new EV models priced between £20-30k compared to 2022. Though, this may change as more Chinese brands hit the UK.
What next… To support the UK on the road to 2030, the marketplace has called for VAT equalisation, more incentives to make EVs affordable – such as reducing VAT on used EV sales – and looking at ways to improve confidence in the cars, such as crafting better standards for understanding battery health.
Worryingly… perhaps the most telling indicator of consumer confidence about EVs is that, on average, it’s taking 45 days for dealers to sell used EVs – compared to 25 for petrol. This has led to significant price cutting compared to other fuel types across listings.
Reacting… to the report, Ian Plummer, commercial director of Auto Trader, said: “These are difficult times for the UK’s Road to 2030 ambitions and we are in danger of veering off-track. If the Government is serious about achieving its ambitions, it needs to do more.”
However… while on the face of it, it’s on average 37% more to buy a new EV than petrol on a like-for-like basis, this is down from a 54% difference three years ago. Likewise, the report does also reinforce the cheap running costs of owning an EV, especially if you have access to a home charger (see graph). Albeit, a long way to go. Read the full report here. Complete with interactive graphs.
Future of motoring? It’ll be mini…
Context… First, we had cars, then we had scooters, and now we have e-bikes, but there’s a new type of transport sector now starting: minimobility. Obviously, it’s not totally new. Arguably, it’s been around since the golf buggy was invented, but only in the past year has its potential really been thought of, particularly underlined by cars like the Citroen AMI and the Microlino.
Big business… Last year McKinsey estimated that minimobility could be a market worth $100 billion annually across China, Europe, and North America by 2030. The reason for such scale is that these smaller four or three-wheeled cars can better serve urban residents, not congest our streets, and be extremely affordable.
Say hello… One company planning to take a large portion of this market is Luvly. It’s a Swedish brand who have come up with a light urban vehicle called the ‘O’. As you will see in the images here, and perhaps you’ve already seen elsewhere, it’s a very pretty design. However, a good-looking microcar isn’t the main selling point Luvly has, as I found out from speaking to the company’s CEO Håkan Lutz.
Piece together… Whereas most manufacturers these days require factories, the unique thing about this company is that, much like the similar Swedish company Ikea, the Luvly O can be assembled very easily – flatpack style. As Håkan says, the benefit of this is that “you can have small, efficient assembly plants close to the customer, so you don’t have all these ridiculous transport costs.”
Affordable… The initial vehicle will be made in Sweden and will have a range of up to 60 miles, do 55mph and have 267 litres of trunk space. The cost is expected to be £9,000 (or 10,000 euros). Obviously, for many that probably seems tiny, but that’s like driving from Heathrow to London City Airport and back again – which is pretty far for a vehicle not designed to go long distances.
Charging… The battery is 6kWh, which on a UK socket would take about 2-3 hours to recharge. Albeit, you would need to access a three-pin plug to do this. Though, it should be possible to get an adapter for slower public chargers.
Sign up… There’s a lot of interest, even without much marketing. Håkan suggested that there had been so much that there is no way they could deliver on demand had they done pre-sales and taken deposits from people. At the moment, Luvly is primarily focused on developing its platform tech – which will essentially mean they can start selling these vehicles around the world very quickly and easily. Or, licensees can start producing the vehicles themselves in various markets – all using the flatpack approach.
Big shift… It’s easy to be taken in with excitement around minimobility, and I asked Håkan whether he felt there was too much focus on big cars. He argued strongly that there was, but only because of waste. “Electric cars, like ICE cars, are a total waste of resources and resources that we can longer afford to waste.”
Next steps… Finally, I ask where Håkan believes Luvly and their approach to making cars will be in five years’ time. “We want there to be at least three million vehicles on the roads produced on our platform. Not by us, but on the platform.”
I’m very excited to see how minimobility grows. Check out Luvly’s website here to learn more.
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Latest EV news…
NEW MONEY: Last week, Jaguar Land Rover announced it would spend £15bn over five years to roll out a range of new EVs. This will be focused on the Jaguar brand primarily, but there will be seven new EVs in total on the way. The first will be an announcement about a fully electric Range Rover later this year. Read more.
NO MIRROR: At the Shanghai motor show, Polestar revealed its new 4 SUV coupe – which is a sportier version of their upcoming SUV, the 3. It looks rather good, but one thing you notice from the picture is… there’s no rear window. To solve this, there is a live camera on the back that streams to a rear-view camera in the front.
Speaking of Polestar, I saw the 3 SUV at Salon Prive over the weekend. I’ve not always been a big fan of the 2 but, the 3 looked very tasty. Apparently, it will be on show at Fully Charged. Check it out.
MAD CARS: Speaking of Shanghai, if you want to scroll through a list of some of the coolest or strange-looking cars that were on display, Move Electric have pulled together an album here. My favourite is the GAC Space, which to me looks like a blue whale with its mouth open.
FLAT PACK: The furniture retailer Ikea has announced it’s investing £4.5m to install 196 chargers across the UK. These will be used to support its growing delivery fleet. Of these chargers, 53 will be rapid. Read more.
EV ONLY: The website Current± has pulled together a feature on energy companies that are offering EV tariffs. Worth a read if you’re not familiar with this tech. Read here.
PRICE FALL: Good news, according to the AA’s new EV Recharge Report, the price of using ultra-rapid chargers has dropped 15.6% from 71p per kWh to 64p in March. This is the second monthly fall in a row. Read more.
PRICE RISE: Despite constantly dropping its prices in 2023 to take more of the market, last week in America Tesla raised prices for its premium cars the Model S and Model X by £2,500. It followed a dip in Tesla’s share price after the firm’s recent earnings which missed expectations. Elon Musk indicated though that the company would tolerate thinner profit margins for higher market share. Alexa, play Up & Down by Vengaboys. Read more (paywall).
NEW LOOK: Zap-Map appears to have updated its website and brand. It’s now a lot smarter-looking. Nice job. See here.
GOOD IDEA: Oxford City Council is hosting an EV experience day for residents on 27 May. Nice way to educate residents.
COMPETITIVE VOLTS: Interesting story from the EU as the antitrust (competition authority) recently commissioned some research into the EV charging market. While they didn’t find any major concerns, they suggested one day there might be. Already in the past month, major Italian network Enel has faced a probe over their pricing. Read more. For a UK view on charging competition, see here for detail last October when a CMA director suggested merger controls may be needed in the future.
ARMED UP: Last week I read about a fascinating company called ChargeArm. It’s created by a Dutch company, and they have essentially designed an extendable metal arm that leans over public paths to charge your car. This is just one of the many solutions to solve the challenge facing those without off-street parking. Last week I posted a video about the ChargeArm on TikTok, and it’s proved quite a hot topic – being viewed over 300k times and attracting 500+ comments*. What do you think about it? The best comment I saw was about a pet giraffe on Twitter. *previously this said 4,000, it’s actually 500.
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SAVE THE DATE: In a couple of weeks’ time, the Financial Times will host its Future of the Car show (9-11 May). No doubt we’ll see numerous stories pop up around it, especially I would guess about the prices of EVs. Learn more.
WITH THANKS: Special thanks to design consultancy Mima and ubitricity who last week hosted me and others for a roundtable on destination charging - which is perhaps the often forgotten poor cousin of EV charging, though hugely important. Likewise, thanks to Shell for giving us a tour of their Recharge site in Fulham. I think this picture below is taken just after I asked why we shouldn’t cut the power off once vehicles reach 80% - this British Gas van was at 98% when we left.
By Tom Riley | Check my Linktree for LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter