Ultimately, we will have little or no choice but to own electric cars, whereby the UK will insist on a zero-emission network by 2040.
Although that is still more than two decades in the row, the transition is well underway, according to the latest data.
Last month's car sales statistics showed that electric vehicles reached their highest market share on record, accounting for 4.2 percent of all new car registrations in August.
The big questions are: have these drivers jumped the gun by switching the switch too quickly? Or do they benefit from a financial sweet spot by jumping on the electric car now? A new study claims that it is the last.
Do you have to switch to an electric car? A new study by the University of Leeds suggests that they are already cheaper to own and use than conventional petrol and diesel engines
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 94,000 new cars bought last month were a record of nearly 4,000 plug-in models.
And a new report suggests that a significantly higher percentage of motorists should consider making this transition to an electric car well ahead of the 2040 government ban on models powered by conventional internal combustion engines.
The study, conducted by experts at the University of Leeds, assessed the total cost of ownership of vehicles and found that electric cars are already cheaper to own and use compared to petrol or diesel models.
This was the case in the three countries reviewed: the UK, the US and Japan.
The analysis, which covers the years 1997 to 2015, showed that plug-in vehicle subsidies offered in all three countries made electric cars more affordable to buy and contributed to lower operating costs over a four-year period. factoring also took place in depreciation, fuel bills, insurance, taxes and maintenance costs.
Attempts to encourage motorists to buy electric cars that produce less carbon-generating emissions have been accelerated by the government in recent months to improve the illegal air pollution levels of the nation.
Particularly in urban areas it is assumed that one of the biggest contributors to the dirty air is diesel cars, with the VW Group's dieselgate scandal in 2015, which raises concerns about the emission of toxic nitrogen oxides – which is related to premature deaths – caused by these vehicles.
Ministers have responded in kind.
The government has made changes to vehicle and excise tariffs to increase the cost of diesel ownership, encouraged councils to introduce low-emission zones across the country and set a deadline to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel models from 2040 onwards. and beyond – all within the last 18 months.
This week ministers even unveiled plans for electric cars for priority lanes and 'insignia of honor & # 39; use green number plates.
As a result of all these new restrictions, sales of diesel vehicles have plummeted by 30 percent last year. On the other hand, the demand for electric cars has risen by 37 percent.
But the Leeds University report claims that there is a root to buy electric cars and not just a stick that defeats those who do not want it.
According to the report, the costs of electric vehicles dropped initially in 2001 when they were exempted from VSE car taxes.
Their cost of ownership also began to decline relatively when fuel prices rose in 2010 to make petrol and diesel vehicles more expensive.
However, it clarified that the largest allocation to lower total cost of ownership was mainly due to the injection vehicle subsidy that awarded a larger subsidy to Battery Electric Vehicles (£ 4,500) than Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (£ 2,500) & # 39 ;.
Although this may have been true in the past and the present, this may not be the case for long.
The plug-in car loan introduced in 2011 expires in the current form – next month.
According to the Transport Department, the subsidy was used to buy more than 150,000 vehicles in the past seven years.
But although the government has promised to offer the subsidy until 2020, it seems likely that it will be abolished in 2020.
The recently published Road to Zero document states: & # 39; As the market becomes better established and more competitive, the government's need for financial support diminishes.
We therefore expect to eventually realize a devalued exit from the subsidy and to continue to support the inclusion of ultra-low-emission vehicles through other measures. & # 39;
Even if these incentives are terminated, the researchers note that the costs of regular electric cars – such as the Nissan Leaf – will be just as cheap in 2025 as the current benzene equivalent.
So what are the other limitations that need to be considered before you buy an electric car?
1. Electric cars are cheaper to maintain – but not all garages can work on them
The IMI says that the independent garage network currently does not have the skills to maintain electric cars, so owners do not have a choice due to higher service accounts of franchise-bound garages
Another reason why electric cars are cheaper than petrol engines and diesel engines that emerged from the investigation was the fact that they are mechanically easier to maintain.
It said: "Costs were found cheaper for electric vehicles because of less wear and tear on the brakes and fewer moving parts. & # 39;
Although this may be the case, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has warned that in the current market, few technicians have been trained to work safely on electric cars.
Steve Nash, chief executive of the industry, said: "More than 80 percent of vehicle technicians currently qualified to work on electric vehicles are in the manufacturer's franchise network.
& # 39; But this leaves a significant part of the mechanics in the independent sector that is not yet sufficiently equipped to work on electric vehicles.
While electric vehicles are currently largely serviced by the franchise market, these vehicles will move to the independent sector as they get older.
We therefore urge independent dealers and garages to invest in quality training to ensure that their employees have the knowledge and skills to repair and maintain new technology. & # 39;
Nash added that IMI is lobbying the government for a regulatory standard being introduced for technicians to work on these vehicles, with the Road to Zero strategy recognizing that adequate training should be given to independent garages.
For buyers of today's electric cars, this means – for the time being – that you have to pay higher service and maintenance costs charged by your franchisor when it is time for your electric car to have a planned check.
2. There are not enough public charging points to go around … although most owners ask at home
A recent report claims that there is one British public charging point for ever 9.87 electric cars. However, experts have pointed out that owners throughout Europe hardly use them
A recent study by GoCompare showed that the UK is one of the top five countries in the International Energy Agency (IEA) for the number of electric cars that are already on the road – but it has one of the worst infrastructures.
Of the 30 IEA countries surveyed, the UK is in the 10 countries with the least charging points per electric car.
In 2017 there were 133,670 electric cars in the UK, but only 13,534 charging points found it.
That means that there were 9.87 cars for each charging point.
However, insiders have argued that this is more than sufficient when you take into account how electric car owners charge their vehicles.
Campaign group Transport and Environment argued that public chargers are only used for about five charging events. It showed that the vast majority of EV levies (with owners throughout Europe) happen at home or at work.
In Norway, the country with the highest number of EV owners across the continent, the proportion of drivers that had to count on slow charging daily was only two percent last year.
3. Is your home suitable for home charging?
Not all British properties are suitable for home loading. Only half in London has off-street parking that is suitable for installing a charger, according to a recent report
While the argument that 95 percent of all charging events are performed at home or at work, many Brits simply do not have the ability to recharge the batteries of the electric vehicles at home.
A recent survey of real estate for sale in the UK highway.co.uk, a service for buying cars, showed that only half of the London houses have off-street parking where charging points can be installed.
This is the case in large cities, where many live in apartment buildings and flats with little to no parking facilities.
And if you live in a home that is suitable to have a charging point, you will soon have to pay the full cost of installing a charging point.
The Road to Zero strategy said the electric vehicle-home charging scheme – a subsidy of £ 500 to help electric car owners to cover the costs of charging stations – will not exist in its current form until March 2019 Or up to 30,000 installations are supported.
Like the plug-in subsidy, Ministers will review subsidy levels with a view to removing financial support for having plug-in points at home, as the uptake increases and the market sustains itself.
Places with the least houses with off-street parking
1. London – 48.6%
2. Dundee – 50.4%
3. Hastings – 53.6%
4. Portsmouth – 55.9%
5. Brighton – 59.4%
6. Salford – 60.2%
7. Aberdeen – 60.7%
8. Liverpool – 63.6%
9. Blackburn – 64.0%
10. Hull – 64.6%
4. Can the grid meet the strong power requirement?
The National Grid has called for a flexible tariff structure to prevent electric vehicles from interrupting the power supply in the future
Contrary to what is often thought, the National Grid of the UK has sufficient energy in its system to support a road network consisting of fully electric vehicles.
Currently, however, there is no capacity to charge all of them simultaneously.
Energy regulator Ofgem has proposed introducing new incentives to encourage people to recharge their electric vehicles outside peak hours.
The National Grid has called for something similar: a flexible charging system that would halve the estimated additional energy generation needed to manage demand.
Others have also found ways to reduce the burden on the network.
The vehicle-to-grid consortium of Powerloop has unveiled plans to transform electric vehicles into mobile battery packs that supply energy to the electricity grid instead of taking electricity out of it.
Energy stored in a vehicle's battery would be used to power a customer's home and find a balance between demand on the electricity grid, especially during peak hours.
Off Grid Energy also claims that it has developed modular technology that can be built into portable systems that can support the charging needs of large commercial fleets such as delivery or public transport to alleviate network load.
5. The prices of electric cars – new and used – have a premium
The price of a new electric car is still slightly higher than with a conventional petrol or diesel model. And used values for popular zero-emission vehicles are increasing
Even with a full subsidy subsidy of £ 4,500 – of which we mentioned above that this could soon expire – a battery electric vehicle will still not be cheap.
The latest Nissan Leaf starts from £ 29,690 once you have removed the government subsidy.
For about the same price you could have a Volkswagen Golf with high specifications and a petrol engine.
And it is a similar story on the second-hand market. Recently announced supplements for diesel cars – especially older models – have lowered demand and more buyers consider the idea of owning a used electric model.
However, with so few examples on the market and an increase in interest, the values of some older EVs – believe it or not – increase.
A recent report from the car inspection expert HPI showed that the second-hand Renault Zoes had appreciated by 30 percent last year.
It means that the price of buying a new or used plug-in car will probably not soon become more affordable.
However, some new incentives are available for motorists.
A new fund announced this week by Lloyds Banking Group will provide £ 1,000 worth of contributions for 1,000 new, pure electric vehicles.
The £ 1million fund is for the first 1,000 customers signing up for a pure electric vehicle from Lex Autolease, the car leasing department of the Group, from January 2019.
Theresa May promises a funding commitment of £ 106 million for green vehicles
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit on Tuesday
Theresa May has drawn up plans for the UK to become a world leader in the development and production of zero-emission vehicles.
The Prime Minister used a speech in Birmingham Tuesday to provide a £ 106 million financial incentive for research and development in the sector, which also covers new batteries and low-carbon technology.
Ms. May told the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit that the government has an "ambitious mission & # 39; to ensure that Britain is a leader in green technology.
"I have imposed an ambitious mission on this country," said the Prime Minister.
& # 39; Provide the UK with the design and production of zero-emission vehicles and for all new cars and vans to actually have zero emissions by 2040. & # 39;
She added: "Today we have provided more than £ 100 million in funding for innovators in vehicles with ultra-low emissions and hydrogen technology.
& # 39; With another £ 500 million in investment from the major industries in this sector, with more than 1,000 jobs in the UK. So we send change, further and faster.
Together, all these measures will stimulate the design, use, take-up and infrastructure needed for cleaner, greener vehicles – and thus help us dramatically reduce a significant contribution to our greenhouse gas emissions. while we try to meet Paris climate change agreement. & # 39;
At the same event, it was also confirmed that the largest independent manufacturer of vehicle batteries in the UK will open in early 2019 in Coventry.
The plant will be operated by a new joint venture called Hyperbat Limited as part of a joint venture between Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group.
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