UK at ULEV tipping point

UK at ULEV tipping point


Last week Zap-Map was at Chargemaster’s Go London Charging event, where Under Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Jones MP spoke about the UK reaching a tipping point in ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) up-take.

Held at the Lancaster Hotel, Bayswater, more than 200 delegates attended to find out more about EV charging plans in the capital, and developments in charging technology that will make their way into production.

Mr Jones MP said: “There’s a real buzz around the electric vehicle market nowadays; and I mean that figuratively, as well as literally. The shift we are seeing reminds me of the spread of the internet in the 1990s. The internet started small, as a niche interest, but then it snowballed, and now it’s hard to imagine being without it. I think we are seeing a similar picture emerging for ultra low emission vehicles in Britain today.

“ULEV sales are not just growing rapidly, they are rocketing. Plug-in vehicle registrations reached a record high in 2015, as 28,188 new ULEVs arrived on UK roads, more than the past 5 years’ totals rolled into one.

“The UK now has the most comprehensive rapid chargepoint network in Europe, and home-grown companies such as Chargemaster are making the UK’s ULEV industry a private sector success story. That’s a success story the government wants to see continue. And that’s why in the last Spending Review we increased our support for the British ULEV market to £600 million over the next 5 years.

Since 2011, more than 50,000 plug in grant claims have been made, and our new grants will ensure a further 100,000 people will get financial support when purchasing ULEVs. And we are continuing the highly valued home charge scheme under which home-owners can receive a grant for most of the cost of installing a home chargepoint. We are working with local authorities to increase numbers of on-street chargers for owners who don’t have off-street parking.

“By 2050, we want virtually every car and van on the road to be zero emission. ULEVs are an opportunity — and an increasing necessity — for everywhere in the country. Installing the right ULEV infrastructure in London is challenging. After our Plugged in Places funding there are more than 1,500 chargepoints in London. But greater progress is possible, and necessary.

“What is so important about the charging network is that growth in ULEVs can only continue if the public’s confidence in their ability to charge is maintained. The vehicles on display here offer everything a driver could want. They look fantastic, and drive well. There are now more than 29 models on sale in the UK — enough to suit all needs, and the choice is increasing all the time.

“So chargepoint technology is improving and reliability is getting better and better. But drivers need to know that the chargepoint network in their area is comprehensive, expanding, and well-maintained; so that they can drive with confidence to the supermarket, the high street, or the local primary school. And there’s lots that local authorities can do to improve their chargepoint network.

“And when drivers have invested in a ULEV, they need the right information so they can set out with confidence; to know where their nearest chargepoint is, and that it’s in good working order. Good information doesn’t help just existing drivers, it also helps newcomers take their first plunge into the ULEV market.

“The internet only really snowballed when internet users, providers, website retailers and investors came together in sufficient numbers to create a tipping point. We’re reaching that tipping point with the ULEV market. But the closer we can work together — across government, manufacturers, chargepoint hosts and network operators – the quicker we can transform our neighbourhoods, and deliver the cleaner air and quieter streets we need.”

Other speeches were made by the likes of Transport for London’s head of strategy Lilli Matson, who emphasised the important roles EVs will play, not only for London but for the whole country. Chargemaster CEO David Martell talked about plans the company has in London, which include the addition of 30 new UltraChargers (rapid) to be installed around the city, and organisers from the Formula E London e-Prix, and race supporters Qualcomm also attended and talked about the effect the racing has had on new technology filtering down to road cars, and future developments in EV charging.

(Image: Andrew Jones MP speaking at the Chargemaster Go London Charging event – courtesy of Chargemaster)