Tesla's Model Y launch scuppered by its owners club

The latest news from the world of EVs

Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter. 

In today’s edition… the Tesla Model Y is launching imminently in the UK, Tesla is angry at its official owners club, and beware of the looming energy crisis.

As ever, if you have any questions or thoughts, please do contact me at tomrileylondon@gmail.com.

In the news…

TELL ME Y: Nearly two weeks ago at the EV event Fully Charged Outside, Tesla’s official owners club in the UK (who call themselves simply Tesla Owners UK) took over a huge portion of the exhibition space. On display were a raft of people’s Tesla vehicles, but there was one of more interest than most: the never-seen-before-in-Britain Tesla Model Y. The Model Y hasn’t yet been launched in the UK, however, when it does it’s expected to quickly become the hottest EV ticket going – possibly even beating the Model 3. You’d think then that Tesla would be chuffed that huge crowds (and Fully Charged themselves) fawned over the Model Y that Tesla Owners UK showcased at the event. Alas, they were not happy. In fact, I’m told by multiple well-placed sources that they are quite angry with the owners club. Their annoyance is specifically aimed at the Tesla Owners UK President, Will Fealey, who borrowed the Tesla Model Y from a German owner just for the show.

The Tesla team had planned to officially launch the Model Y in the UK this Autumn – ahead of the first cars arriving in the UK during Q1 in 2022 – however, they now are believed to be updating their plans because the car has basically already been ‘revealed’. I’m also told that Tesla may change its official relationship with the owners club in question as a result going forward. It’s all very soap opera but the key thing to take away from this is: the Model Y is definitely coming imminently to our British Isles AND Tesla shouldn’t have sacked their PR team a year ago. I asked Tesla Owners UK for a comment, but they did not respond.

GOODBYE NOWELL: Gill Nowell, the EV Association for England’s media spokesperson, has stepped down from her role in the last week. It’s not known yet where she’s going however it will be to focus on EV’s full-time – so expect to see her pop up at a company promoting EV’s still.

WORLD DAY: I’m sure – at least I hope – nobody reading this missed ‘World EV Day’ last Thursday! It was a day not only to mark how good they are for our air but also their other attributes, like being cheaper to run and their increasingly long ranges. It was also a day when the government announced a raft of EV things. One of which was to promote an app called EV8 Switch. It’s been backed by a £2.8m fund run by the UK Space Agency – yep, I’m not sure why that makes sense either. The app works out how much you would save financially (and from an environmental perspective) by driving an electric. It seems like a good idea, although I’m not sure how it does any better than the countless similar calculators in this area. One thing I did notice about the company that founded this app is one of its directors (Richard Evans) is quite an influential voice in the hydrogen and fuel cell lobby. Interesting.

HOME CHARGER: Elsewhere on World EV Day, the government announced that they would introduce a law whereby all new homes built in England would have to include a smart charger. This is very sensible, and I know many homes are already future-proofing their properties with chargepoints – despite not even having EVs yet (my folks being one such example). Read more.

BONUS CONTENT: As well as all their other announcements, the government has also published a mythbuster about EVs. It’s a great source of information should you ever need it. Find it here.

BIT LATE: You may remember a few weeks ago I wrote how Quentin Willson, the former Top Gear presenter and Fair Fuel UK campaigner, had quit the latter after its illogical hatred towards EVs. Well, it’s finally been picked up by iNews it seems. You can read it again here.

GREEN DUNDEE: There was a good story in the FT over the weekend about Dundee and how it’s adopting EV infrastructure. The council’s investment includes putting millions into pop-up chargepoints around the city. The town can now support up to 7% of its cars going all-electric – quite an achievement this early on before ICE bans coming in. Read more.

EV TURN OFF: There have been a great many articles, discussions and concerns recently about the UK’s energy mix and capacity in future. It follows the news that the UK’s national grid had to fire up an old coal station to meet our energy needs following low winds/renewables in the past fortnight. What the recent turbulence has put a focus on are two things. Firstly, and immediately, the fact many consumers will face high energy costs this year. And, secondly, that in the future we may need to reimagine how our energy system works.

Obviously, many have been thinking this for a long time – which is why we’ve seen the rise of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trials in the EV space for one – but it’s only really just got more critical. I can’t predict the future but, what I would say is that this debate will likely spillover from the business pages – where it is at the moment – and into the mainstream soon – probably when big bills start hitting people’s mats.

When that does happen, there will be a great many people suggesting EV’s are impossible. And this argument was (perhaps inadvertently) backed by the government in news over the weekend that it will set times for when people’s EV chargepoints can work or not in the future (aka. Not in peak hours). This is a policy that is, in my mind, utterly counter-intuitive. EV’s can act as huge batteries that can support our national grid, why would we make it harder for people to act as support units? Surely, it would make more sense to amend this policy to allow for those on a V2G tariff to plug-in. Some reading on this news here, here, and here.

By Tom Riley