Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter.
In today’s edition… The government will tomorrow publish its long-awaited Transport Decarbonisation Plan. Plus, prepare for Chinese charging infrastructure in the UK.
As ever, do drop me an email at email@example.com if you have any feedback, questions or comments.
In the news…
INCREASED STAKE: Volvo Cars has decided to bump up its stake in Polestar to 49.5%. It comes as Polestar has not only unveiled probably the best looking car I’ve seen (the Precept) but it also plans for a factory in America. They are also rumoured to be looking at a possible IPO soon, this would see Volvo’s stake potentially get valued at many billions. Read more.
TODDINGTON SERVICES: The love for Gridserve continued on the BBC last week as Toddington Harper, the CEO of Gridserve, was interviewed by Radio 4’s You and Yours. The interview came as Gridserve has just bought the existing network of almost 300 chargepoints at 150 locations from Ecotricity. Thus far, Gridserve has created an Electric Forecourt in Essex and an electric hub at Rugby services. The company does deserve a great deal of praise. The chargers previously run by Ecotricity were unloved and useless stacked up against Tesla’s superchargers. During the interview, Toddington revealed that he has a personal connection to the motorway services he is now upgrading. Apparently, he was named after Toddington Services. The tradition started after his parents didn’t know what to call his older brother until they passed Heston Services. I suppose it could be worst, they could have passed Watford Gap. Read more on the BBC.
CHINA IS COMING: The Chinese EV company NIO, which will this year be launching their cars in Europe, have said they are going to build 3,700 more battery swapping stations for their vehicles by 2025. These stations take 3 minutes to recharge EVs. These will not all be in China; 1,000 will be built around the world (which presumably includes the UK). The stations will also be available to other carmakers to use if they opt to use NIO’s battery system. This news should worry us. We have already seen how creating your own charging network (Tesla) can help manufacturers dominate the market. If China is allowed to easily do the same by pumping huge sums of money into something similar, it would be no surprise if buyers opted for a NIO car over a British made Nissan Leaf. The CEO of NIO has previously said: “The UK is one of the biggest markets in Europe, including for the premium segment, so there’s no reason we wouldn’t go there.” Toddington, you must now also save us from China! Read more.
DELAYED PLAN TO LAUNCH: The Department of Transport’s long-awaited Transport Decarbonisation Plan is due to be published tomorrow, according to the Financial Times. In the document, it’s said the government will reveal that the sale of all new diesel trucks in the UK will be banned from 2040 (with smaller ones being phased out by 2035). The publication will also include a number of new policy consultations, such as on future road pricing to replace fuel duty plus a mandate for all manufacturers to produce a set amount of EVs. Read more here.
PETROL PROFITS: The Financial Times have been busy this morning... in another story, they’ve spoken to one of Volkswagen’s executives who have said the EU’s new ‘Euro 7’ emissions standards will make it profitable for carmakers to produce EVs over petrol and diesel vehicles from 2025. Thomas Ulbrich, head of development at the VW brand, told the FT that the new standards would make it a “tremendous challenge” to produce non-electric cars. Good news for oxygen.
BIZZARE DEMAND: The campaign group ‘Make My Money Matter’ has come out and said that ‘greening' your pension is 20 times better than driving an electric car. According to the group, many people’s pension funds are invested in companies that are not very environmental, therefore, we should switch to ‘green funds’ which are. I’m sure it would be better for the environment to do this but at the same time, I’m not sure how profitable pigeonholing your money is. Perhaps better to use your power as a consumer to live environmentally, which makes more businesses try to satisfy that need with new EVs, vegan diets etc, and then your pension fund backs these companies – because they’re making money – while you earn enough for a twenty-year cruise? Read more on Sky News.
ELECTRIC AVENUE: I was lucky enough to attend Goodwood’s Festival of Speed over the weekend. While there, I spent a great deal of time on the ‘electric avenue’ where manufacturers were showing off their latest EV models. And, I have to say, the future looks good. While there were some models like the e.Go which looked awful - probably created by someone who was an eco-warrior first and car designer last - the majority were biblical. Kia’s EV6, for example, didn’t look like a Kia at all. If it were yellow you’d go ‘that’s a Lamborghini Urus’. Even the Fiat 500e was capturing people's attention. One older couple I met checking it out said ‘it doesn’t look like a teenagers car now’. And they’re right. I also got to see the Rimac Nevera, possibly one of the most exciting supercars in the world at the moment. It will do 0-60 in 1.85 seconds. Seeing it was like discovering page 3 for the first time. Anyhow, I’m rambling, here are some pictures of EV’s from the show.
By Tom Riley