Energy crisis has EV owners worried

The latest news from the world of EVs

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

In today’s edition… China admits it has too many carmakers, Tesla Model Y orders to open in October, and the energy crisis sends jitters among many EV owners.

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

In the news…

TESLA TIME: Following my story last week that Tesla planned to launch its Model Y in the UK this Autumn, I can now exclusively reveal that Tesla will take Model Y orders from those in this great land in October. The opening of Model Y orders will probably come about the same time that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders publishes its latest car registration figures. I’d put many money pounds on the fact that the Tesla Model 3 tops the sales charts.

COP-IN: It was great to read the news at the tail end of last week that Jaguar Land Rover will be providing fully electric Jaguar I-Paces to COP26. The agreement is with the UK government who will use the EVs to ferry around world leaders. Presumably, they’ll keep the cars charged up slowly near the site of COP26 – they won’t be doing many miles will they – rather than try out the local public network. Read more.

YOU’RE ZAPPED: Speaking of publicly funded EVs, I saw this post below earlier by Surrey police. It seems they have themselves some Volvo XC40 tasermobiles. I’m not sure how many they have but it’s nice to see them get so actively involved in the EV debate, including answering people’s questions about them.

BIG LEMON: After being delayed earlier this year on account of covid, the Big Lemon EV Rally finally happened last weekend. It consisted of a race (more of a timed event by the sounds of it) from Parliament Square in London down to the pier at Brighton. In total, 71 vehicles took part across 9 categories. Read more.

LESS PHEV: Skoda’s CEO Thomas Schäfer has revealed that the carmaker will focus less on plug-in hybrids in the future and just fully electric cars. It comes after Skoda like many manufacturers have had a tough year due to the semi-conductor shortage. In an interview with Autogazette, Schäfer said: “Of course, the PHEV is important for fleets, which is why we are also making such an offer for the Octavia and Superb, but other vehicles will not follow suit. It doesn’t make sense to us. Our future is the pure electric car.”

SAFE EVs: There was another weird EV story in The Sunday Times over the weekend. This time, they promoted a story from a leasing firm that suggested people who drive EVs are involved in fewer accidents. It’s a nice story, but the reason given is because people are so worried about their range that they drive more economically. And this is a lot of old codswallop. What about the fact the main demographic who probably own EVs now are probably safer drivers anyway – because they are older or families? And, also, where’s the talk of EVs and all their safety features. In every EV I’ve ever been in (which is quite a lot now), they’ve been rammed full of more warnings than a trip to Dignitas. Read the story here.

BIG BUSINESS: Interesting little stat Forecourt Trader – I am a regular reader – that suggests in a new survey 80% of operators believe EV charging will be key revenue earners in the future. However, 55% were unsure how to make it a reality. There’s an opportunity in there, I’m sure. Read more.

BIG INVESTMENT: Some great news for EV drivers everywhere, the charging operator Osprey has revealed it’s going to build 150 new rapid charging hubs over the next four years. The project will cost them some £75 million. Each hub will consist of 12 rapid chargers with a max charging power of between 150-175kW. This could mean 1,500 extra rapid Osprey devices in the UK in total. Read more.

ENERGY CRISIS: Those who read the last edition of The Fast Charge will recall how I mentioned the then bubbling energy problems in the UK. How things have changed in a week, now you can’t move for coverage about energy costs rising. While some firms like Octopus are trying to calm people suggesting the ‘Big 6’ behemoths are stirring up trouble, other CEO’s have admitted they are in trouble. One such company is Bulb which is currently chasing funds. Thus far, seven energy companies have gone bust this year and it’s expected – given the rising gas prices – that many more will follow. This could leave several million customers in the lurch. This has sent jitters among many EV drivers who already have higher bills – due to home charging devices.  I’ve read countless posts on forums this week, especially about people looking to switch (though many are always with larger ‘renewable’ providers). As I wrote last week, this just highlights the need for innovative thinking in the energy space, especially to foster more secure renewable sources. A report by Cornwall Insight last week predicted our demand for electricity (due to rising household and EV demand) could double between now and 2040 (in a central scenario). Though that seems like a long way into the distance, we’ve got so much ground to cover. In my very limited knowledge, it seems that better energy storage is going to bridge the gap – both at home and huge sums for the grid. For a good overview of the gas problems, Sky has a good rundown.

TOO MANY: It’s not just energy companies that are struggling, I read a rather interesting story in Bloomberg this week that explained how apparently many EV businesses operating in China are falling by the wayside as many start-ups have entered the game. This is something the government have recognised. “We have too many EV firms,” Xiao Yaqing, China’s minister for industry and information technology said last week. He also explained how the government would be encouraging a ‘concentration’ of the market there in the months ahead. Very interesting for what this means for Europe. Read more.

RIP INVENTOR: I think it would be amiss if I didn’t mention Sir Clive Sinclair in today’s edition. The well-known British inventor died last week. Sinclair was one of the earliest and most vocal proponents for electric vehicles in the UK. Though, arguably, his vehicle (the C5) did more harm than good to EVs at the time – given it was a total flop – it has since become a bit of a cult hit and certainly planted the EV flag down early. In many ways, the C5 is probably one of the earliest e-bikes in the world. Whatever the case, I believe it’s a shame we don’t have more Sinclairs. If you told someone nowadays ‘oh, I’m an inventor’ you’d probably get odder looks than saying you’re a trainspotter, or a dogger. I think it’s because it seems fake. How can you just, invent? But we need people like that in this country now more than ever before.

By Tom Riley