This week, it was announced that new homes in England will be required by law to have charging points installed for electric cars. And in addition to domestic properties, this move will include the likes of supermarkets, workplaces and other buildings. Whilst a growing number of consumers are switching to electric vehicles at the moment, there are many who feel the momentum towards this shift is still too slow. Here in the UK, traditional petrol and diesel cars, for so long a major contributor to carbon emissions, will no longer be manufactured after 2030, so the transition, whether you like it or not, is going to happen. It’s an unavoidable fact, so it’s a good idea for all of us to get used to it and get on with it.
There are plenty of people who are against the use of EVs, of course, and are still unable – or perhaps unwilling – to acknowledge the benefits of going electric. Their reasons are many, so winning over the naysayers is becoming increasingly like a hurdles race at the Olympics; convincing them of one aspect of their reluctance will clear one obstacle, but then we face another. The first hurdle of them all, the fact that electric cars could only travel a handful of miles, has now been overcome, with even average models now being capable of travelling around 200 miles before they need a top-up. Unless you work in London and live in Leeds, for example, you’ll have no problem getting home in the evening.
Now that that particular stumbling block has been neutralised, we can focus on tackling the next ones. One of the most prominent is how we can practically charge our EVs when we’re at home. The RAC estimates the cost of installation at an average of £800, although they are quick to point out that a good quality charging unit is far better than simply running a cable out from that spare plug point in the kitchen.
The new move from the Government is a major undertaking, and one that will certainly help in the drive towards mass acceptance of electric vehicles. It’s worth noting that the construction of new homes is currently undergoing something of a boom period, with almost 50,000 new properties being completed in the first three months of 2021. Electric charging points, once a rarely seen sight in a home, will become almost as familiar as kettles or toasters soon. The Government’s new plan also includes the creation of what they call ‘major renovations’ to existing properties. As more and more homes help to make battery charging a simpler and more practical process, it’s easy to see this being another hurdle that has become simpler to negotiate, although construction companies may not be as enamoured as the rest of us, because this is likely to be another cost that may or may not be passed on to the buyer.
Time to put the climbing boots on!
Of course, the biggest hurdle of all, something akin to one of those 3-metre walls that you see on an army obstacle course, remains the cost of a new electric car. For most people, the price is still too high, and this continues to slow the momentum. This will change, and indeed is changing as we speak, thanks to a combination of design improvements, reductions in the price of electric batteries, more dedicated production processes and continuing innovations from various R&D departments. A study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance significantly predicts that regular cars, the ones that most of us drive, will become cheaper in their electric form than their petrol and diesel counterparts in 2027.
In 2021, electric cars are somewhere between 5% and 10% more expensive to purchase, but of course they are far cheaper to run. A new Vauxhall Corsa-e, for example, is likely to cost around 5.1p per mile in normal use, with the petrol version costing 12p per mile. If you do a lot of driving in any given month, the savings you achieve will be significant, and will soon cancel out the extra cost of the car itself. And let’s not forget, the UK Government offers grants to those who choose to buy a new electric vehicle.
Since 2019, the number of EVs in the UK has increased by around 66%, so it’s clear that motorists are being won over in ever greater numbers. This figure, impressive though it undoubtedly is, could potentially have been even higher if Covid-19 hadn’t forced us all indoors. If we’re on the path back to normality, a big if at the moment, of course, then it’s safe to assume that the impressive (or scary?) near-silence that electric cars produce will become increasingly common in the coming months.
The hurdles, like a line of carefully arranged dominoes, are starting to fall.