Electric cars appear to be making headway in the UK and around the world and the growth of these zero emissions vehicles has been described as a ‘revolution’ by Ecotricity. Electric car sales have passed the 10,000 mark in the UK and this figure is likely to rapidly increase due to the influx of new charging stations appearing on the nation’s motorways. Add in Government incentives to cut the cost of owning an electric car and you have a recipe for success.
Ecotricity says it has installed 170 superfast chargers along UK motorways which covers 90% of the network. These chargers will give up to 80% charge in just 20-30 minutes and while only 4,000 cars used the system in late 2013, almost 15,000 have used it by the end of June which is a clear indicator that motorists are switching to electric cars.
The found and chief executive of Ecotricity, Dale Vince, pointed out that it’s now possible to charge a car in 20 minutes when it took 8 hours not so long ago. According to Vince, now that electric cars are quickly charged, fun to drive, cheap to maintain and clean in terms of emissions, it is obvious they are the future of transport. It helps that those who use the Ecotricity stations are getting their electricity for free!
The Growth Of Electric Transport
Elon Musk’s Tesla is one of the biggest creators of electric cars in the world and its ultimate aim is to mass produce electric cars even though it currently targets the top end of the market. The company is looking to create car batteries in a factory powered by solar and wind power by 2020 and it will be increasing its number of superchargers available in the UK. At present, there are only four available.
According to Tesla’s Laura Hardy, you get 170 miles of charge in just half an hour which is enough time for motorists to have a relaxing coffee before going again. She stated that Tesla will have UK and Ireland route coverage by the end of 2015 along with a number of stations in London. The company is also planning to expand on its existing network of chargers in countries such as China. The Chinese plan to invest $16 billion in electric car chargers to help motorists overcome anxiety about range.
Is The Market Growing Too Quickly?
This seems like a preposterous notion but it appears to be the case in Norway where electric cars have been embraced like nowhere else. Norway has more electric cars on the road per capita than anywhere else in the world; only 5 million people live in Norway but there are three times more electric cars on their roads than in the UK!
The Nissan Leaf became the highest selling car in Norway for a month and electric cars account for approximately 13% of the car market. It is a nation with a great environmental awareness but one of the main reasons for the popularity of electric cars is the low price; electric cars are exempt from VAT and sales tax which means you can buy one for 50% the price of a traditional petrol vehicle.
The trouble is, electric cars are now clogging up Norway’s bus lanes as drivers of these vehicles are allowed use these lanes. It is a policy that has cost Norway €500 million and not every nation is willing to make the same investment.
In Germany, there are relatively few electric cars on the road because German manufacturers are slow to create these vehicles and there is a lack of incentive from the Government. Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer from Duisburg-Essen University famously joked that Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has as much chance of putting 100,000 cars on the moon when asked about the chances of her meeting the target of 1 million electric cars on German roads by 2020.