VW's ID models hit by Ukraine crisis
The latest from the world of EVs
Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter.
Today’s edition is much shorter than usual on account of me having been away. However, I’ve included a few stories I picked up on, such as the impact of the Ukraine crisis on carmakers, new chargepoint grant data and a report by the Resolution Foundation.
As ever if you have any questions or comments, please do drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) or simply reply to this email.
The sad news…
UKRAINE CRISIS: The events of the last week have been truly upsetting. Naturally, it’s not the first time many of us will have had to witness suffering at the hands of a loon, but it doesn’t make it any less shocking. My fingers are certainly crossed for a solution, though I’m sure like others I’ve been charmed by the plucky resolve of the Ukrainian people throughout. Naturally, the impact of the ongoing crisis on the world of EV’s seems an unimportant matter in comparison to the main priority of people’s safety and freedom. Though, there is increasing evidence that the wide sanctions on Russia will create industry problems. Notably, VW has had to close two plants in Germany as component supplies from Ukraine have stopped. The impact will be particularly prevalent on ID models, as the parts normally supplied by Ukraine include crucial wiring for the EV models. According to sources, 1,200 fewer cars will be produced every day by VW. Read more.
FRENCH PROBLEM: There’s been a lot of stories about Shell and BP selling their stakes in Russian companies following intense scrutiny by the British government. In auto world, many carmakers have been moving to cut ties with Russia, such as Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover who have halted deliveries there. However, I’m interested to learn what (if anything) Renault is going to do about their ownership of the Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ. It’s important because, while Renault owns about two-thirds of AvtoVAZ, the rest is owned by Rostec, a Russian State-backed organisation that was founded by Vladimir Putin. Rostec and its CEO, Sergey Chemeov, are on a list of people and businesses to receive financial sanctions published by the UK government last week. So far AvtoVAZ has only said it’s halted production due to the chip shortage but will resume soon.
CHARGED INSULTS: Elsewhere, it seems a few EV charging stations in Russia have been hacked and taken offline. According to Elektrek, the stations outside Moscow are also displaying messages including ‘glory to Ukraine’ and ‘Putin is a d***head’ on their dashboards. Quite right. Read more.
In other news…
GRANT DATA: Last Thursday DfT published the latest data on how many chargepoint grants it has provided. For the home charger grants, this most recent data set will be the last before the scheme winds down next month. There were three notable statistics contained within them…
88,624 devices backed by grants were installed during 2021. That might seem high, but when you consider that, during the same period last year, 190,000 fully electric cars were registered, isn’t that a huge number of owners who perhaps haven’t also got a home charger? Naturally, many of those cars might not be with owners yet, and perhaps they are still waiting for installation, but it’s still massive. What it shows to me is that, potentially, a large number of people without off-street parking might have been buying EVs - this adds a further need for robust infrastructure.
£104,535,473 has been the total cost (as of 1 January 2022) of the home charger grant scheme since 2013. The area of England that benefitted from the most amount of funding was the South East (£20m) while the red-wall North East used the least amount (£4m). A full table is copied below.
4,539 is the number of charging devices that have been approved to be built and receive funding as part of the On-Street Residential Scheme – which is available to all UK local authorities to fund up to 75% of the capital costs of installing on-street residential chargers for those without private off-street parking. However, what’s interesting is that there are still 743 applications from the year 2019/20 that are still outstanding – aka they haven’t been installed yet or claimed for despite being approved. I wonder what the hold up is? The total value of these applications is £2.5m. It also seems 234 of these were approved for Wandsworth.
MINI CAR: The Sunday Times published a story over the weekend about ‘micro’ electric cars. In short, they’ve used the popularity of the Citroen AMI to highlight how the industry may rethink what ‘the right vehicle for the right journey’ is. As a reminder, 15,000 people registered their interest for an AMI while 1,800 have paid to reserve one. It has a 60-mile range and 30mph top speed. When it arrives, the price will be £7,000. I actually wrote about this topic last year and suggested that, while micro EVs are great, there may be better ways to move around a city (bus, bike, train). I think I also concluded by saying that ultimately they wouldn’t catch on “because size still matters. And vehicles, like our clothes, homes and furniture, are an extension of our personalities. Anyone who desires to drive around in a Tikes car over the age of 5 is out of kilter with the human need to impress our peers.” But I might be wrong.
CHEAPER AT HOME: The Resolution Foundation, who have become particularly well-known during the pandemic for their defence of low-income households, has highlighted that those without off-street parking could miss out on up to ‘£950’ of savings a year in the EV revolution. This gap comes from the think tank looking at the costs for using cheap home tariffs versus public network pricing. It’s not exactly breaking news but, again, highlights the pressing need for more action for people who don’t have a driveway. Read more.
Side note. In DfT’s response to the Resolution Foundation story, they note the Infrastructure Strategy will “soon be published”. I would imagine it would make sense for the government to tie the release into a piece of public engagement. Looking ahead to the next few weeks, this Friday will see a ‘Powering Up the North 2022’ summit that boasts to have ‘senior political, business and industry leaders’ attending. Or perhaps the government will wait until 23 March for SMMT’s ‘Electrified 2022’ event – infrastructure is certainly on the menu for the latter. Or maybe even the Spring Statement also on the 23rd. I just hope they get on with it soon.
CAR OF THE YEAR: The Kia EV6 has just been crowned ‘European car of the year’ by a number of judges - which includes 61 journalists across 23 countries. The EV6 is a really pretty car and has been astoundingly popular with motorists. It also is a great win for Kia who only about a year ago made a bold move to rebrand themselves. Good on them. Read more.
By Tom Riley