Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter.
In today’s edition… Tesla hits a trillion-dollars, the number of chargepoints has slowed (again), and what will Rishi say in the Budget?
As ever, if you have any questions or thoughts, please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last week…
BUDGET SPECULATION: Tomorrow at noon the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will reveal his Budget. As ever with these political events, much of it has been trailed beforehand. Broadly, we can expect increased health spending and levelling up investment as the core takeaways. Likewise, potentially some help for those who will otherwise be hit by the rising cost of living. However, given the proximity of COP26, I think we can also expect numerous reiterations about the government’s desire to deliver a green future. I’m sure electric vehicles will be mentioned following the UK’s recent ‘Net Zero Strategy’ launch. In this strategy, the UK has committed around £1 billion more in investment for boosting infrastructure and supporting supply chains.
HOWEVER, despite the ‘Build Back Greener’ document they published suggesting extra money for EV grants, I’ve heard on the grapevine that the Chancellor could be eyeing up an end to the EV grant – due to the seriously high take-up of EVs. It would be a strange thing to cut right before the Glasgow Summit, so maybe in reality we’ll hear from Rishi a roadmap of when it will shut? In any case, there is wide agreement that the grant won’t be around forever.
What is the EV grant? Those buying a new plug-in vehicle up the cost of £35,000 can get a government grant worth up to £2,500 towards the purchase. The cars that are eligible and further details are listed here.
FUND US: Speaking of government funding, only a week after Ford claimed to have received some monies from the government to produce EV parts at their Hale plant, Britishvolt, the Gigafactory developer, has revealed it’s in ‘advanced talks’ to secure £200m in funding from the state too. Read more.
GIGA INVESTMENT: Just a stone’s throw away from the Britishvolt site, the gigfactory owned by Envision – a Chinese based business – has also announced it is going to expand the operation. This comes only months after Boris went up to visit the factory which supplies Nissan with battery cells. The planned expansion will push the capacity of the Sunderland plant from a previous ambition of 11 gigawatt hours to 38 GWh. Its current capacity is 1.7 GWh. That is a huge step-up but, according to analysts, will only get us partway to the expected 140 GWh of capacity we’ll need each year by 2040. Read more.
$TSLA$: I’m sure everyone and their mum has read this story this morning. Following an order for 100,000 cars from Hertz, Tesla’s market cap has risen to over one trillion dollars. It’s biblical. And while it would be easy to suggest that there isn’t anything to it - given Tesla makes fewer cars than companies like Ford or GM - criticise at your peril. Many hedge funds and investors have tried to short Tesla before and now they’re probably sweeping streets. Read more.
OIL: Speaking of things rising in price exponentially. The cost of petrol in the UK has now reached an all-time high – the average price is now 142.94p a litre. That means the cost of filling up in the UK has risen by £15 for most families over the last year. While I’m sure this is a good thing for getting – and persuading – more people about the benefits of EVs, I do have sympathy with those who are stuck in motoring no-mans-land – having to run old inefficient ICEs and being unable to afford EVs. Read more.
EVER STUPID: Evergrande, the Chinese property developer that is in debt by hundreds of billions of dollars, has revealed this week that it wants its EV arm to become its main business in future. How they can say such a thing without breaking into laughter is beyond me. They’ve evidently looked at all these other car companies – especially in China – with rising values and thought, hmmm, that could be good way out for us chaps. Literally putting paper over a canyon of problems. Read more.
CHARGEPOINT DATA: Last Thursday, DfT published its latest charging device statistics – which shows how many chargepoints we now have in the UK. They revealed that available devices increased by 6% from the previous quarter (April to June). However, this was slower than the quarter before where the increase was 7% and the one before that which was nearly 10%. What this shows is the number of chargepoints being added each quarter is slowing down. However, it is still increasing at least. Also, there is a glimmer of hope in that the number of rapid chargers being built increased in pace to 8%, compared to the last quarter figures that showed growth of 7%. In total, there are 25,927 public electric vehicle charging devices available in the UK - 4,923 are rapid chargers. Read the latest statistics here.
FULLY CHARGED: This morning, the popular EV and sustainability YouTube channel, Fully Charged, has published a 40 min whopper of a video outlining a manifesto to ‘stop burning stuff’ ahead of COP26. Numerous well-known businesses have added their voice to Fully Charged’s climate message including BritishVolt, GRIDSERVE, myenergi, Polestar, EAV, Kensa, Mixergy, Octopus Energy, Ripple, Tepeo, Volta Trucks. You can watch the full video below and it’s certainly worth a watch. Robert Llewellyn, the Fully Charged joint CEO, said of the manifesto/video: “Our message to world leaders is simple – Stop Burning Stuff and Electrify Everything – TODAY!!!”. You may recall that I have previously interviewed Dan Caesar of Fully Charged about the channel and its ambitions too. You can read that here.
CHIP CRISIS: The chair of the European carmakers’ lobby group, ACEA, and also chief executive of BMW, Oliver Zipse, has warned that carmakers should cut their reliance on Asia for their semiconductors, otherwise they risk getting caught up in new and repeated chip shortages. While many businesses, such as Intel, have responded to the crisis by pledging to build factories in Europe these will take many years to develop. In a letter sent to the European Commission, Zipse wrote: “This unprecedented crisis reveals how unexpectedly vulnerable today’s semiconductor supply chain is, and how urgent it is to minimise our dependency on overseas markets, especially Asia, for these vital components.” Read more.
By Tom Riley