The future of electric vehicles

Posted 26/02/2019 by E.ON

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about electric vehicles (EVs), but there is still little evidence of them on our roads – the overwhelming majority of our cars are still petrol or diesel-fuelled.

That is going to change over the next few years though - and faster than you might think. There are a number of reasons that the EV revolution has been slow to take off in the UK. Reasons often cited include a perceived lack of charging infrastructure, fears that batteries will run out of power and leave drivers stranded (so-called range anxiety), and so far a limited selection of vehicles on offer.

All of these issues are being addressed, with major companies (including E.ON) working to install charging points across the country and virtually every car-maker introducing new models with a greater range than the first generations of EVs.

Scandinavia charging ahead

In Norway, electric car sales exceeded internal combustion engine car sales for the first time in 2017 and a network of rapid chargers is being installed across Norway, Denmark, Sweden and into Germany.

It's a complex project, spanning countries and targeting the key road networks while taking into account the typical battery range and driver behaviour to ensure chargers are installed in the right place to guarantee complete coverage. Forecourt staff at petrol stations had to be trained to operate the charge points so they could help drivers. The E.ON app, which uses GPS to identify the nearest charge point, helped raise awareness.

The network of rapid chargers, which can provide 200km of range in as little as 30 minutes, currently covers 50 sites across Denmark and 30 in Sweden and it's set to expand further, spreading e-mobility beyond the city. By 2020, E.ON plans to have a network of 'ultra fast' chargers installed across the region that will be able to provide 400km of driving within half an hour.

Push to zero emissions

Another driver of the shift to electric mobility is the move by governments around the world to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles. The UK plans to have all cars effectively zero-emission by 2040, although some MPs and campaign groups have called for the scheme to brought forward to 2032.

In addition, several cities, including London, have introduced their own initiatives. Oxford plans to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2020 while large parts of London will be designated as an Ultra-Low Emissions Zone by the same date. Mayors and leaders of cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Bristol have called for a speedier shift to electric mobility.

And this year sees the world's biggest trial of commercial vehicles taking place in the UK, with the regulator Ofgem approving a scheme that will see up to 3,000 electric vehicles hit the roads. The three-year project will highlight what the switch to EVs means for the country's electricity infrastructure.

The UK may not yet be as far along the path to electric mobility as other countries such as Denmark and Sweden, but it is moving fast and E.ON will be there to ensure that those who want to embrace the transport of the future will be able to do so.

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