Four hours are enough to charge the vehicles in UK’s largest e-bus depot, managed by First Glasgow. The operator announces it has completed Phase One of its green transformation with installation of state-of-the-art rapid charging units.
With phased completion for the remainder of the work scheduled to take place across the next 12 months, the depot has been designed to accommodate and charge up to 300 EV buses on site – and will see the introduction of 150 electric buses over the next 18 months.
As we have seen, the future of e-mobility is built on rapid charging, and ensuring the charging infrastructure is in place to make this a possibility must be a priority. Our partnership with First Bus to bring versatile, convenient charging to the city of Glasgow puts us in a unique position ahead of COP26 later this year, to make a significant contribution to the discussions at the event, as well as positively impacting fleet owners across the UK. Our unique charging offering ensures fleet owners are able to effectively deploy and manage their e-fleets while serving cities of the future.
Michael Colijn, Chief Executive Officer at Heliox Group said
First Glasgow: a depot for e-buses
The depot transformation is being delivered thanks to over £63m of funding: First Bus is investing £35.6m into the project, while the Scottish Government’s Scottish Ultra Low Bus Scheme (SULEB) is funding a further £28.2m.
Glasgow’s Caledonia bus depot has reached a key milestone in its green transformation plans with the installation of 11 advanced rapid 150kW dual cable charging units. This first phase of work has been completed ahead of a new batch of 22 electric buses arriving at the depot ahead of COP26, and marks a significant step forward in First Bus’ plans to have a zero-emission fleet by 2035.
The state-of-the-art dual cable direct current rapid charging units have been supplied by Dutch rapid charging business Heliox and installed by Powersystems.
Each rapid charging station will be controlled via smart charging software to ensure that power is used in the most efficient way. This approach will help minimize the draw down from the national grid at peak times. The digital programming will also mean that each vehicle is fully charged, and the bus interiors are preheated, ready for drivers and customers from the moment the vehicles leave the depot. With an additional 69 rapid chargers to be installed in Phase Two, Caledonia depot will soon be able to charge 162 vehicles at one time.
Following completion, the adapted depot will have the capability to charge 89% of the depot’s electric bus fleet at the same time using smart charging software. First Bus’ long-term objective is to ensure that the site is fully prepared for the transition to a 100% zero-emission fleet. This will include opportunities for further on-site renewable energy generation and storage.Future of e-mobility relies on rapid charging
Janette Bell, Managing Director for First Bus UK said: «Innovative technology and electric infrastructure are key to minimising the UK’s carbon emissions, and so it’s fantastic to see this first step of our vision for the UK’s largest EV bus depot come to fruition. Our transition to a zero-emission fleet is a bold ambition, and at every stage First Bus is committed to transforming our business for the good of the environment. We’re proud to be putting our weight behind Scotland’s green ambitions and the completion of this first phase of works at Caledonia depot give us an exciting glimpse into the future of bus. To see this first EV charging station site completed and ready to go in Glasgow, just as the city prepares to host COP26 later this year, is a brilliant achievement.
Michael Colijn, Chief Executive Officer at Heliox Group said: “As we have seen, the future of e-mobility is built on rapid charging, and ensuring the charging infrastructure is in place to make this a possibility must be a priority. Our partnership with First Bus to bring versatile, convenient charging to the city of Glasgow puts us in a unique position ahead of COP26 later this year, to make a significant contribution to the discussions at the event, as well as positively impacting fleet owners across the UK. Our unique charging offering ensures fleet owners are able to effectively deploy and manage their e-fleets while serving cities of the future.”
Powersystems are actively powering the transition to a carbon free future in the UK transport sector. The high voltage specialist electrical engineering team have delivered electric infrastructure works for First Bus Glasgow at its Caledonia depot which is to become the UK’s largest Electric Vehicle (EV) charging hub, marking a significant step towards the bus operator’s net zero targets, as well as the UK’s wider ambitions.
The parliamentary committee has produced a new report, in which it questioned whether the government will be able to deliver its current goals when it comes to electrification. The National Grid needs to be strengthened if it is to cope with the strain of millions of electric vehicles needing to be charged, the transport committee has warned.
Transport committee says the National Grid won’t be able to cope with additional EV charging demand
Concerns raised that those living in rural areas will be left behind by charging network
Report recommends more funding for local planning and transport bodies
The report raised particular concern about whether motorists living in rural areas who don’t have the ability to charge at home could be left behind by poor public charging infrastructure. The Transport Committee has set out a series of recommendations to government to increase electric vehicle (EV) uptake while ensuring the electricity demand of charging can be met.
Basing these recommendations on 148 submissions to its call for evidence, three oral evidence sessions, a survey with 979 responses and a visit to ChargePoint’s research and development lab, the committee said there are still questions on whether the government’s current plans are enough to deliver the public charging infrastructure required across all regions of the UK.
It said that there are also concerns that unless charging habits change or the national grid is strengthened, the charging needs from millions of new EVs will cause blackouts to parts of the country.
As such, the government must work with National Grid to map national coverage to identify locations where the grid won’t cope with additional usage.
Another area of the committee’s focus was interoperability, with parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Transport Rachel Maclean confirming to the committee that the government intends to regulate for interoperability between public chargepoints later this year. She acknowledged that while there is an overriding need to legislate, the right balance needs to be struck between making charging easier for the consumer and allowing the market to remain attractive for investment.
Interoperability has been on the government’s radar for some time, having detailed potential methods of simplifying payment in a consultation earlier this year, with these including an interoperable roaming platform established by the government, a requirement for chargepoint operators to open their networks and a market-led approach where the government doesn’t yet regulate.
This followed Matt Western, then-chair of the APPG on EVs, calling on Ecotricity, Pod Point and BP Chargemaster to implement roaming in October 2019, warning that “many MPs are expecting action on this issue, and we would be happy to support amendments to the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act to ensure it, if progress is not made”.
However, Ecotricity and Pod Point hit back, suggesting roaming agreements are “not really relevant” in light of contactless payments.
Alongside interoperability, the Transport Committee also said the government should explain how it plans to tackle the potential price differential faced by people who can’t charge their vehicles at home and therefore rely on on-street chargers, suggesting it could address the discrepancy between the 5% VAT incurred on electricity at home compared with the 20% VAT incurred at public chargepoints.
In May, HMRC confirmed that the VAT on public EV charging stands at 20%, having received requests for clarity from businesses around reduced rates due to the level of electricity being supplied.
While some EV charging networks had already been operating using the 20% VAT rate, InstaVolt announced its costs were increasing 15%, with this to be passed onto its customers.
As part of the government’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure strategy – announced in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan it must explain how it will ensure the rollout of charging infrastructure keeps pace with EV uptake, the committee said, and how it will support all regions and local authorities to deliver sufficient and well-maintained charging solutions tailored to local needs.
It must also use the strategy to set out how the £950 million Rapid Charging Fund – which is aiming to facilitate the installation of six rapid chargers on each Motorway Service area site by 2023 through financing connection costs – will be spent, with the committee stating the spending priorities are currently “obscure”.
Additionally, the strategy should set out the measures the government is taking to identify and address under-provision at locations outside the strategic road network, where grid connection costs and grid upgrades are expensive and the business case for investment is weak.
The strategy should show how the government will ensure that drivers can seamlessly access any charging network in any location at any time, while ensuring chargepoint operators are not disincentivised from investing in charging infrastructure.
Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman, said: “Putting guarantees in place on infrastructure is crucial but one report after another flags concerns to government about the provision of electric car charging infrastructure. Let ours be the last: it’s time that ministers set out the route map to delivering a network of services for everyone across the UK.”
The committee also recommended that the government uses the upcoming Planning Bill to make public chargepoint provision a requirement of local plans as well as making funding for the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme dependent on local authorities having detailed chargepoint plans in place which support rapid charging options.
Funding for the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme was renewed in February, however research from Centrica released earlier this year found that across the next four years, only 9,317 on-street EV chargers are planned for installation by local authorities, with this being only 35 chargers per council on average.
In response to the report, Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb said there is a need to ramp up the installation of on-street charging across the board, including in urban and rural areas.
“Without reliable, affordable and accessible public charging, households without off-street parking will be left behind,” he said.
Work to install a high-powered underground cable that will deliver electricity to the UK’s largest public electric vehicle charging hub at Redbridge Park & Ride will begin next week.
The cable will help decarbonise transport across Oxford.
Work will begin on Monday 2 August to install the four mile cable, which is an integral part of Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO), a government-backed project showcasing rapid EV charging, battery storage, low carbon heating and smart energy management technologies to cut carbon and improve air quality across Oxford.
The cable will connect National Grid’s Cowley substation to Redbridge Park & Ride, creating the power infrastructure needed to charge lots of electric vehicles quickly at once. The hub – which is expected to open in early 2022 – will provide Oxford residents and businesses with easy access to fast, reliable charging. A connection point will also be installed at Oxford Bus Company’s Watlington Road depot, ready to support electrification of the city’s bus fleet.
From Cowley substation, the cable will travel up Watlington Road (B480) before joining the Eastern By-Pass where it will travel along the cycleway from Garsington Road roundabout to Long Lane. It will then travel along the residential streets of Long Lane and Newman Road before re-joining the cycleway at the A4158. It will continue along the Eastern bypass via the cycleway to Redbridge Park and Ride.
Sales of EVs in Oxfordshire are already higher than the national average, and analysis carried out on behalf of Oxford City Council shows that to reach net zero by 2040, 25% of cars in Oxford need to be electric by 2025, 80% by 2030, and 100% by 2035. ESO will create the EV charging infrastructure needed to give more people the confidence to make the switch.
About the installation work
The works are being carried out on behalf of ESO project lead, Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, and are expected to take approximately five months.
The locations for the works are:
National Grid Cowley substation to Watlington Road (B480) – Work starts 02/08/21 for approximately four months. Temporary traffic lights will be in place along Watlington Road
Eastern bypass (A4142) to Heyford Hill roundabout – Work starts 16/08/21 for approximately four months. Temporary traffic lights will be in place for Long Lane to Oxford Road section
Eastern bypass (A423) to Redbridge Park & Ride (A4144) – Works starts 09/08/21 for approximately five months. Eastern by-pass works will make use of cycleway which will remain open to cyclists.
The installation works are expected to take place between 7am – 7pm from Monday to Sunday. However, some works may need to be carried out at night, as advised by Oxfordshire County Council highways.
High Voltage Specialist Powersystems UK, are the principal contractor for the electric works element of the project which includes the installation of the 4 miles of 33 kV cablesterminating into the 33 kV Cowley substation and ultimately will feed the transformers for EV charging. Pegasus Utility Services have also been appointed to complete the excavation works for cable installation.
Residents in the surrounding area have been informed on the upcoming work. Four teams will work simultaneously at different points on the route, with the aim of completing the works as quickly as possible with minimum disruption.
Temporary traffic lights will be in place along parts of the route where works take place on the road. Access to the cycleway will remain open throughout the works, at a reduced width, and pedestrian ramps will be installed to allow continued access to pavements.
“I am delighted that we are about to start work to install the cable works for Energy Superhub Oxford. This cable work will help to deliver power to the UK’s largest electric vehicle superhub which we will be installing at Redbridge Park & Ride. This is a key milestone in this project, and the future of Oxford’s journey to becoming a net zero city.”
Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council
“The start of the cable installation marks an important milestone for Energy Superhub Oxford as we work to deliver the low carbon infrastructure Oxford needs to accelerate net zero. With our partners, we are doing everything we can to complete these works as quickly as possible and minimise the impact they will have on the local community.”
Tim Rose, programme manager for Energy Superhub Oxford at Pivot Power
Powersystems are actively powering the transition to a carbon free future in the UK transport sector. The high voltage specialist electrical engineering team are in the process of delivering electric EV Infrastructure works for at its Caledonia depot which is to become the UKFirst Bus Glasgow ’s largest Electric Vehicle (EV) charging hub, marking a significant step towards the bus operator’s net zero targets, as well as the UK’s wider ambitions.
Powersystems, Site Supervisor, Will Tanner updates, ‘At the moment we have completed the LV cabling between the customer HV /LV substation and each charger power supply unit where the AC/DC inverters are held ready for the DC charge posts and power supply units to be delivered and installed in a couple of weeks. Our commissioning team are currently cold commissioning the high voltage switch gear and transformer substation in readiness for final connection to Scottish Powers sub-station.
Scotland is leading the world on climate action, with an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 75 percent by 2030. At First Glasgow, they are passionate about the role they must play in making this happen, and they believe that the work we are doing in Glasgow will serve as a green transport model to other cities.
The Caledonia depot in Glasgow is the UK’s largest, making its electrical transformation an ambitious project. In March 2023, once the project is complete, the depot will have space to charge up to 300 EV buses on site. The project has a phased completion schedule, with phase one expected to be complete by September this year, allowing for the introduction of an additional 22 electric buses to Glasgow’s streets. A further 126 EV buses will be delivered and in service over 2021 and 2022, taking the total electric fleet in the city to 150 (including two EVs already in service).
This transformation is in part supported by £28.2m in funding from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEB). Since the introduction of the first two electric buses by First Glasgow in 2019, the Scottish Government and Scottish operators have been keen to continue making progress towards net zero targets.
SULEB funding, which provides up to 75 percent of the gap funding between diesel and alternative fuelled buses, along with 75 percent towards the cost of infrastructure changes, has been instrumental in allowing large scale changes such as this project to take place. It’s a wonderful example of what can happen when governments, local authorities and private companies share a vision and collaborate effectively – with the right resources and the right people real progress can be made.
The Caledonia depot transformation is also a fantastic example of work being done now to benefit everyone in the future. Not only will it enable us to power more electric vehicles in the immediate future, it gives us the capacity for us to expand. As it stands, we have funding for 150 vehicles, but our plans mean that we will have space for an additional 150 on top of that, leaving Glasgow well set up for more electric vehicles. This forward-thinking mindset is critical for us to meet our ambition of running a zero-emissions fleet.
Transport is the largest contributor to UK domestic greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for 24% of domestic emissions in 2019. Reducing transport emissions is a crucial part of tackling climate change, meeting the UK’s net zero target and embracing the 2030 internal combustion engine (ICE) phase out, with the additional benefits of reducing air and noise pollution and creating skilled jobs across the supply chain.
New-generation Nissan electric crossover announced for UK production
Envision AESC, world-leading battery producer and long-standing partner of Nissan, will build a new 9GWh-capacity gigafactory equipped with state of the art battery technology
Renewable energy ‘Microgrid’ to deliver 100% clean electricity for automotive manufacturing in Sunderland
2nd life EV batteries used as energy storage for ultimate sustainability
Interconnected projects create 6,200 green jobs at Nissan and in UK supply base
SUNDERLAND, UK – Nissan today unveils Nissan EV36Zero, a £1 billion flagship Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub creating a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem.
Centred around the record-breaking plant in Sunderland, UK, Nissan EV36Zero will supercharge the company’s drive to carbon neutrality and establish a new 360-degree solution for zero-emission motoring.
The transformational project has been launched with an initial £1bn investment by Nissan and its partners Envision AESC, a global player in world-leading battery technology, and Sunderland City Council. Comprised of three interconnected initiatives, Nissan EV36Zero brings together electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery production, setting a blueprint for the future of the automotive industry.
Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer, Makoto Uchida said: “This project comes as part of Nissan’s pioneering efforts to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the entire lifecycle of our products. Our comprehensive approach includes not only the development and production of EVs, but also the use of on-board batteries as energy storage and their reuse for secondary purposes.
“Our announcement today comes out of lengthy discussions held within our teams, and will greatly accelerate our efforts in Europe to achieve carbon neutrality. The experience and know-how gained through the project announced today will be shared globally, enhancing Nissan’s global competitiveness.
“Nissan will continue to leverage its strengths in electrification to become a company that continues to provide value to its customers and society.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Nissan’s announcement to build its new-generation all-electric vehicle in Sunderland, alongside a new gigafactory from Envision-AESC, is a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly-skilled workers in the North East.
“Building on over 30 years of history in the area, this is a pivotal moment in our electric vehicle revolution and securing its future for decades to come.
“Commitments like these exemplify our ability to create hundreds of green jobs and boost British industry, whilst also allowing people to travel in an affordable and sustainable way so we can eliminate our contributions to climate change.”
Unveiling Nissan EV36Zero at the Sunderland Plant today, Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer, Ashwani Gupta, said: “This is a landmark day for Nissan, our partners, the UK and the automotive industry as a whole. Nissan EV36Zero will transform the idea of what is possible for our industry and set a roadmap for the future for all.
“We reached a new frontier with the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first mass-market all-electric vehicle. Now, with our partners, Nissan will pioneer the next phase of the automotive industry as we accelerate towards full electrification and carbon neutrality.”
Building on Nissan’s historic 35 years of manufacturing excellence in Sunderland, the projects announced today represent 6,200 jobs at Nissan and its UK suppliers, including more than 900 new Nissan jobs and 750 new Envision AESC jobs at its new smart, low-carbon battery plant. Longer-term, the transformational project modernises and expands Nissan’s EV production capability in the UK.
Envision AESC, the battery arm of global green tech company Envision Group, will deploy integrated AIoT smart technology to monitor and optimize energy consumption, manufacturing and maintenance at its new gigafactory, enabling it to rapidly increase production and provide batteries to power up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles a year.
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This fantastic investment by Nissan and Envision-AESC represents a solemn commitment to the people of Sunderland, bringing further high-skilled jobs and turbocharging our plans to level up the North East. This is a huge step forward in our ambition to put the UK at the front of the global electric vehicle race, and further proof, if any was needed, that the UK remains one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive manufacturing.
“I am extremely proud that Nissan has not only reaffirmed its belief in Britain, but is doubling down on its long-standing commitment to our country. The cars made in this plant, using batteries made just down the road at the UK’s first at scale gigafactory, will have a huge role to play as we transition away from petrol and diesel cars and kick-start a domestic electric vehicle manufacturing base.”
A new-generation electric crossover
As part of the £1 billion announcement, Nissan will invest up to £423 million to produce a new-generation all-electric vehicle in the UK. Building on Nissan’s expertise in crossovers and the worldwide success of the Nissan LEAF, it promises next-generation vehicle styling, efficiency and battery technology, making the switch to electric driving even more accessible.
Designed for global markets, UK production will be exported to the European markets traditionally served by Nissan’s Sunderland plant. The new crossover will be built on the Alliance CMF-EV platform, with a forecasted production capacity of up to 100,000 units to be installed.
Production in Sunderland will create 909 new jobs at the plant, and more than 4,500 in the UK supply chain, while safeguarding a further 75 R&D jobs. The transformational project takes the total capital investment by Nissan into the plant past £5bn, and also includes:
R&D at Nissan’s European Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire
Support for UK suppliers to transition to electric vehicles
Plant competitiveness and environmental improvements
Skills development in the Nissan workforce for future technologies
Other production locations have not yet been confirmed. More details about the new vehicle, including pricing and technology, will be released closer to the car’s sales launch.
With next-generation EV batteries
Envision AESC already owns and operates Europe’s first battery plant in Sunderland, established in 2012 for the localisation of Nissan LEAF battery production. The factory’s UK team has nine years’ expertise from supplying batteries to the Nissan LEAF and eNV200, having produced enough cells, modules and packs to power over 180,000 electric vehicles in 44 countries, meeting global benchmark levels of quality, performance, safety, reliability and cost.
Supporting this new model allocation, Envision AESC will invest £450 million to build the UK’s first gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), adjacent to the Nissan plant, powered by renewable energy and pioneering next-generation battery technology.
The formal planning process is about to begin for the new gigafactory, which represents an initial 9GWh plant, with potential future-phase investment of £1.8bn by Envision AESC, generating up to 25GWh and creating 4,500 new high-value green jobs in the region by 2030, with potential on site for up to 35GWh. The new plant will increase the cost-competitiveness of EV batteries produced in the UK, including through a new Gen5 battery cell with 30% more energy density which improves range and efficiency. This commitment will power Nissan’s new vehicles, supporting the continued localisation of vehicle parts and components with advanced technology. This will make batteries cheaper and EVs more accessible to a growing number of customers in the future.
The new gigafactory will create 750 jobs and safeguard the jobs of 300 current employees.
Lei Zhang, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Envision Group, said: “Envision Group’s mission is to be the net zero technology partner of choice for global enterprises, governments, and cities. We are therefore delighted to be a part of EV36Zero with Nissan and Sunderland City Council. As part of this, Envision AESC will invest £450m in a new, cutting-edge, low-carbon gigafactory in Sunderland creating 700 new jobs. ,
“This commitment builds on our long-term partnership with Nissan to achieve our global ambition to make high performance, longer range batteries for EVs affordable and accessible for millions more motorists.
“Growth in demand could bring future investment of up to £1.8bn, additional capacity of 25GWh and 4,500 jobs by 2030. This will put the North East at the heart of a new EV hub in the UK, collaborating on R&D around the whole battery lifecycle, from storage, to second life use, V2G smart charging and closed loop recycling.”
Zero Emission vehicles and Zero Emission Manufacturing
Bringing this ecosystem together, Sunderland City Council is leading a project that aims to deliver a 100% renewable electricity ‘Microgrid’ that will save 55,000 tonnes of carbon annually.
With the ability to incorporate the existing Nissan wind and solar farms, initial plans suggest there could be as many as ten solar farms created, with an anticipated 132MW generation, and with a direct connection to renewable energy from the UK grid for ‘firm’ supply to Nissan and automotive companies located on the adjacent International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP). Plans will continue to be developed in close discussion with potential private sector green investors.
A first-of-its-kind, this project is estimated to be an £80 million investment and also includes plans for a 1MW battery storage system using second-life Nissan/Envision AESC batteries, which will also allow for excess energy generated during daylight hours to be captured and used at another time, helping to balance demand on the grid. Additional infrastructure projects enabling the creation of the new EV Hub take the total initial investment above £1bn.
Sunderland City Council leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “Sunderland is an ambitious city, and today’s announcement is game-changing one for us, for the region and for UK Plc, and the culmination of many months of partnership working with Nissan, Envision and UK Government to ensure that we landed this transformational project.
“We’re proud to be acting as a key enabler, working to secure an £80m infrastructure project that could be the first of its kind in the UK, bringing together energy generation, consumption and storage through a dedicated microgrid.
“We have a commitment to making Sunderland as a city carbon neutral by 2040 and electrification is a key part of that vision. Today’s announcement places Sunderland at the centre of electric vehicle production in Europe. It vindicates the unwavering belief this council has in the city’s ability to drive the electric revolution, working in partnership with the private sector and Government to bring nationally significant projects to fruition, creating jobs and prosperity for our people and businesses, and delivering cleaner, greener cars in the process.”
Nissan in the UK
Nissan started production in Sunderland in July 1986, 35 years ago this month. Since then the plant has grown into the biggest plant in the history of the UK automotive industry, supporting 46,000 UK jobs.
Also based in the UK are Nissan’s European Design Centre in Paddington, London (NDE) and R&D Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire (NTCE), designing and engineering Nissan vehicles for customers across the region and beyond.
Current production in Sunderland includes the Nissan Qashqai, Juke and LEAF, most of which (70%) are exported to mainland Europe, with 20% sold in the UK and a further 10% exported to markets than span the globe, from South America to Australia, and from the Nordics to South Africa.
The new £1 billion Nissan EV36Zero development heralds the next phase of Nissan’s electrification plan and its UK operations.
Consumer tastes and preferences are changing. The driver to these behavioural changes can almost be linked to technological innovation. Technology is one part of a three-pronged phenomenon that’s behind the electric vehicle revolution. The other two key drivers are environmental awareness and political policy changes.
Is the UK geared up for the rise in electric vehicles?
Most recently, point 4 of Boris Johnson’s Ten Point Plan announced in November 2020 stated, ‘We’ll invest more than £2.8bn in electric vehicles, lacing the land with charging points and creating long-lasting batteries in UK gigafactories. This will allow us to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030. However, we will allow the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe until 2035.’
The UK has committed to Net-Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Transport is currently the largest emitting sector of the UK economy, responsible for 27% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions; within this, cars are responsible for 55% of transport emissions. Electric vehicles (EVs, or sometimes known as Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVS)) offer one method of reducing emissions, with the Committee for Climate Change (CCC) suggesting that all new vehicles should be electrically propelled by 2035, if not sooner, to achieve the Net Zero target.
Simply, the nation will only be in a position to ban new petrol cars by 2035 if the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is fit for purpose….
What are Electric Vehicles (EVs)
EVs run, either partially or wholly, on electricity, stored on board the vehicle in batteries or produced from hydrogen. Whilst cars represent 92% of the 432,000 ULEVS licensed (1.1% of all licensed vehicles) at the end of 2020, there are also electric motorcycles, taxis, buses, vans and heavy goods vehicles. The market for EVs is immature, yet growing, with 8.5% of registered vehicles ULEVs in 2020. Meanwhile, only 1.8% of used car sales, responsible for approximately 80% of transactions, involved alternatively fuelled vehicles.
‘The ban’ on the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles
Reported by Powersystems The original deadline for the ban on new petrol and diesel sales was 2040 but in February this year, Boris Johnson announced at the UN climate conference (COP26) that the government will bring this forward to 2035 or earlier if feasible, subject to consultation. Another five years has been taken off the original deadline, but the 2035 date is reportedly being kept for the end of hybrid car sales.
Unofficially In February, 2020 Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced his intention to bring forward the ban on sales of new petrol, vehicles from 2040 to 2032. The subsequent Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown and accompanying economic downturn brought the car industry to a standstill in the UK, the Government has since put the 2032 target back to 2035.
2020 was set to be a landmark year for electric vehicle innovation. However, in April 2020 new vehicle sales were down 97% on the previous year. According to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders which show pure battery-electric cars held just a 1.6 per cent share of the new car market last year.
As of May 2021, the number of total electric cars registered in the UK were more than 535,000 plug-in vehicles with approx. 260,000 BEVs and 280,000 PHEVs registered. Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) made up 8.4% of all new cars sales in May 2021, with 13,120 registrations. That was down from 12.0% in May 2019, when the figure was boosted by EV firms such as Tesla continuing contactless deliveries. In the first five months of 2021, the 54,051 BEVs sold accounts for 7.5% of the market, compared with 4.3% in 2020.
Launching a car scrap-page scheme?
And of course to support the conversion to electric vehicle the government is reportedly considering launching a car scrap-page scheme, in which drivers could be given up to £6,000 to trade in their diesel or petrol vehicle for an electric one. However, earlier in March this year the government cut the electric car grant from £3,000 to £2,500, and lowered the upper price limit for eligible vehicles from 50,000 to 35000. The move attracted criticism from industry experts who said it sent out the wrong message. Should the reported £6,000 initiative go ahead, it would mean price parity between many electric vehicles and their petrol counterparts.
Is the UK charging infrastructure fit for purpose?
A report issued on the 19 May by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the 2030 target would be missed without urgent action to improve infrastructure – The government has a “mountain to climb” to reach its goals of phasing out new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and for all new cars to be zero-emission by 2035.
PAC criticised the government for lacking a plan to achieve these targets and tackle the consequences of an all-electric car society, including the impact on the future power needs, the impact on the skills and capabilities required to support the changeover and the impact on the government tax-take due to the loss of fuel duties.
PAC also detailed recommendations into charging infrastructure, stating it isn’t convinced that the government has “sufficiently thought through” how this will expand at the pace required to meet the targets.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has made assumptions about the types of journeys people will make and how they charge their car, but not estimated the number of charge points required across the country to keep up with the increase in electric vehicles (EVs).
Alongside the additional work needed on on-street charging, both the DfT and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also need to work with other departments to consider the practical implications of the transition to zero-emission cars, the PAC said.
In particular, they should set out how they are going to manage the wider societal impacts such as the impact on power generation and transmission and retraining the workforce.
According to National Grid Future Energy Scenario (FES), the UK needs approximately 87-113GW (scenario dependent) of renewables capacity by 2030 and 197-231GW by 2050. The current market and options available for new-build renewables are inadequate to keep the UK on track to meet its net-zero target.
As Baroness Brown, vice chair of the Committee on Climate Change, stated at June 2021 launch of the Hydrogen Strategy Now campaign, “the UK missed the boat on wind technology and missed the boat on batteries. We can ‘t afford to miss the boat on hydrogen”.
It looks like the UK is on track for missing the annual ramp up rate of 5 GW as well, with new build renewables currently facing a tough choice regarding their route to market options, with challenging and volatile market conditions making it tough to secure investment and ultimately build-out projects. Reform is needed now!
The National Grid believes that consumer behavior will change to avoid charging at peak times, therefore resulting in a less significant increase to peak demand.
Wider proliferation of electric vehicles will add demand to the grid. However, “smart charging” or “vehicle to grid” can reduce charging at peak times, and the batteries in the vehicles could become an asset to the National Grid, as they have the potential to be used for grid balancing. ‘Smart’ use of the electricity system involves using power at times when demand (and therefore prices) is low. Consumers can benefit from cheaper power, and operators benefit from an easier to balance system and avoiding all cars being charged simultaneously, such as at the end of rush hour.
Smart meters, which are currently being rolled out, have the potential to allow more detailed information on consumption to be sent to energy suppliers, and more reactive use of power for customers. For example, ‘Time-of-use’ tariffs are already available from some energy suppliers, rewarding customers with smart meters who choose to sign up for using power at times of low demand. Integrating smart devices, such as smart charging electric cars, into this mechanism could mean that additional demand for electric cars is significantly reduced.
An extension of smart charging, the concept of ‘Vehicle to Grid’ (V2G), is that when supply is low and demand high, EVs connected to the grid to charge can instead release power back into the grid. Owners of the vehicles can then be paid for this balancing service in a similar way to electricity storage unit operators. In theory, if a vehicle is needed to be charged for a certain time the owner could register that time and this would override the use of the car as a power source. Some suppliers have been developing V2G offers for their customers, though availability is currently limited
Are consumers ready to switch to EVs?
Today, it is a widely held view by the man on the street that a petrol vehicle is more reliable than an electric vehicle, because you are never to far from a petrol pump! The majority of the car-buying public aren’t ready to switch to an electric car.
Perceptions by approx. 27.8 million households advised by the energy regulator Ofgem found that they were unlikely to get an electric vehicle, because batteries do not offer enough range between charges, lack of on-street charging points near homes and of course the price is to high. All points play a significant concern when thinking about switching to an EV.
Statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 13.6% of new cars sold in the past four months had a plug, while figures from the Department for Transport show that more than half-a-million ultra-low emission vehicles are now being driven on roads across the country.
New research suggests that around one in four households across the UK plan to buy an electric car or plug-in hybrid in the next five years.
It has been reported that there are more public places to charge an Electric Vehicle in the UK (around 30,000) than there are petrol stations, but like all statements ‘the context’ is really important…
Zap-Map.com a UK-wide charging points map for electric cars, says that 24,649 charging points have been installed in 15,680 locations, and 700 added in the last 30 days, with more being added every day. To give you an idea, currently there are charging locations for example 7,526 in London, 2,558 in Scotland, 1742 in the South West.
However, at the time of writing there are currently only 1,080 ultra-rapid charge points and 2,970 rapid chargers at locations in the UK, and this means the difference in facilities on offer between a 20-minute ultra-rapid charge, to hanging around for what could be literally hours.
Quick guide on the the main types of chargers
There are three main types of EV charging – rapid, fast, and slow. These represent the power outputs, and therefore charging speeds, available to charge an EV. Power is measured in kilowatts (kW). Each charger type has an associated set of connectors which are designed for low- or high-power use, and for either AC or DC charging.
50 kW DC charging on one of two connector types
43 kW AC charging on one connector type
100+ kW DC ultra-rapid charging on one of two connector types
All rapid units have tethered cables
Rapid chargers are the fastest way to charge an EV, often found at motorway services or locations close to main routes. Rapid devices supply high power direct or alternating current – DC or AC – to recharge a car as fast as possible. Depending on model, EVs can be recharged to 80% in as little as 20 minutes, though an average new EV would take around an hour on a standard 50 kW rapid charge point.
Ultra-Rapid DC chargers provide power at 100 kW or more. These are typically either 100 kW, 150 kW, or 350 kW – though other maximum speeds between these figures are possible. These are the next-generation of rapid charge point, able to keep recharging times down despite battery capacities increasing in newer EVs. For those EVs capable of accepting 100 kW or more, charging times are kept down to 20-40 minutes for a typical charge, even for models with a large battery capacity. Even if an EV is only able to accept a maximum of 50 kW DC, they can still use ultra-rapid charge points.
7kW fast charging on one of three connector types
22kW fast charging on one of three connector types
11kW fast charging on Tesla Destination network
Units are either untethered or have tethered cables
Fast chargers are typically rated at either 7 kW or 22 kW (single- or three-phase 32A). The vast majority of fast chargers provide AC charging, though some networks are installing 25 kW DC chargers with CCS or CHAdeMO connectors. Charging times vary on unit speed and the vehicle, but a 7 kW charger will recharge a compatible EV with a 40 kWh battery in 4-6 hours, and a 22 kW charger in 1-2 hours. Fast chargers tend to be found at destinations such as car parks, supermarkets, or leisure centres, where you are likely be parked at for an hour or more.
3 kW – 6 kW slow charging on one of four connector types
Charging units are either untethered or have tethered cables
Includes mains charging and from specialist chargers
Often covers home charging
Most slow charging units are rated at up to 3 kW, a rounded figure that captures most slow-charging devices. In reality, slow charging is carried out between 2.3 kW and 6 kW, though the most common slow chargers are rated at 3.6 kW (16A). Charging on a three-pin plug will typically see the car draw 2.3 kW (10A), while the majority of lamp-post chargers are rated at 5.5 kW because of existing infrastructure – some are 3 kW however. Charging times vary depending on the charging unit and EV being charged, but a full charge on a 3 kW unit will typically take 6-12 hours. Most slow charging units are untethered, meaning that a cable is required to connect the EV with the charge point.
Investment to get Britain ready for more electric vehicles
Ofgem unveils £300m investment to get Britain ready for more electric vehicles. – Ofgem is to invest £300m on more than 200 low carbon projects to get Britain ready for more electric vehicles, with motorway service areas and key trunk road locations across the country set to get the cabling they need to install 1,800 new ultra-rapid charge points. This £300m down payment is just the start of building back a greener energy network which will see well over £40bn of investment in Britain’s energy networks in the next seven years. “The payment will support the rapid take up of electric vehicles which will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets. Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to. We’re paving the way for the installation of 1,800 ultra-rapid charge points, tripling the number of these public charge points. Drivers will have more charging options for longer journeys.”
UK businesses are set to invest £15.8bn in the electrification of their vehicle fleets over the next year. – A 50% uplift on their spending during the previous 12 months, according to research, commissioned by Centrica Business Solutions, which revealed that UK firms spent £10.5bn on electric vehicles (EVs) and on-site charging points during the year to March 2021 but are now planning £15.8bn of investment in the same area over the next 12 months– a 50% increase year-on-year. Of these businesses, six in ten (58%) cited the need to meet corporate sustainability targets as the biggest driving factor behind their increased adoption of EV, followed by reducing operational disruption caused by low and zero-emission zones (51%) and the attraction of the lower maintenance and whole-life costs offered by EVs (37%). Range anxiety was reported as the chief concern for a third (34%) of these firms, followed by the need to prioritise business investment elsewhere during the height of the coronavirus crisis (32%).Despite this, two-thirds (67%) of all companies polled claimed they are well-prepared to operate a fully electric fleet by 2030, when the Government’s ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles comes into effect.
Now that 2030 is set in stone as the end of new petrol and diesel sales we need to ensure three things to help get us there, sufficient affordable electric vehicles to meet demand, reliable affordable charging infrastructure that’s available to all and a flexible affordable energy system that can deliver green power where it’s needed.