The Future of Electric Vehicles in the UK

Feature

The ownership and use of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the UK is on the rise with over 170,000 EVs registered in the UK in 2019. At 0.5% of the 31.2 million cars on the road, they currently represent a small but growing part of the UK car market.

Compared to traditional petrol or diesel vehicles (ICEs), EVs offer a vast amount of benefits for the environment, including reducing air and noise pollution. Within the last few years, EVs have made their way into the used car market, making them accessible to a wider range of consumers.

However, the country still has a long way to go in terms of ensuring the necessary infrastructure is in place to support these vehicles, for example having more flexible charging points.

Throughout the UK there is concern that replacement parts and repair work, are more costly on complex EVs, compared to traditional petrol and diesel cars.

Here at Assurant, we have you and your business covered. By understanding your concerns, we’re seeking to alleviate the ‘repair anxiety’ associated with electric vehicles, by providing our customers with our latest innovation – EV One.

Let’s take a look at how the future of Electric Vehicles is changing the UK landscape and what these characteristics are for current and future EV owners.

UK ADOPTION OF EVs

The high adoption of EV cars in the UK, is evident by the fact that the UK has the second largest EV market in Europe. This is supported in our own data, with EV or Hybrid car sales volumes increasing by 135% from 2018 to 2019. On a societal level, consumers are conscious of the impact that cars are having on the air we breathe and the cities that many of us live in. There have been numerous reminders in the press recently that air pollution is having a huge impact on our lives and there are increasing concerns for the future generations of the British public.

 

Although adoption of EVs is rising and they are more readily available to the masses, there are still many factors that the average car owner will be considering, when potentially looking to purchase an EV. However, it is predicted that some of these challenges (in particular cost of ownership), will reduce over time. Deloitte go as far as saying that ‘…the market will reach a tipping point in 2022 – when the cost of ownership of a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) is on par with its internal combustion

 engine counterparts’


The used car market has seen changes to the way UK car owners are shifting their attention to buying EVs over traditional cars. With EVs becoming ‘…the most in-demand products currently on the market, selling an average of… six days faster than a diesel car and nine days faster than a petrol car…’. All of this is great for the environment and the UK as a whole, but there are still many things that need to be considered when we think about purchasing an EV…

 

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF OWNING AN EV?

Although there are many highs and lows of owning an electric vehicle (…and we could go on for a while looking at each individual consideration) let’s look at the top three for EV ownership, starting with the most important aspect for any prospective purchaser - cost.

Cost

Cost is always going to be one of the top priorities when people decide on whether an EV is for them. In particular, there are questions around the total purchase cost and the lifetime costs of an EV. Although there are many varied industry reports looking at EV cost as a contributing factor to purchasing, there is widespread agreement that the total cost of ownership will be lower for EVs versus ICEs, especially in the near future. This is predominantly because there will be a smaller requirement for fuel and maintenance costs. However, the total purchase cost remains a sticking point for many. Research by PwC UK, concluded the number one ranked reason why (UK respondents) had not considered a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), was because of the initial price.

 

The UK government does offer an incentive for people who want to purchase an EV, with up to

£3,500 given towards the cost of a brand new electric car. However, this doesn’t apply to the used car market. The shift of EVs to the used car market over the last few years has meant that the purchase price of a used EV can be found for less than £7,000. According to several sources including The Guardian, … ’used electric vehicle prices have, in recent months, started rising – a near unheard- of thing in the used car market – as demand outstrips supply.’

 

Battery Life

Another important factor to acknowledge, is the concerns around how long lithium-ion batteries in EVs can last. The Deloitte Automotive Consumer Survey 2018, sited that 26% of people surveyed had ‘‘Driving Range” as a consumer concern regarding BEVs’ – this was the UK’s largest apprehension, out of the seven questions asked within the topic. In the last few years, EV batteries have had ‘marked improvements in range. In 2011, the greatest range an EV could achieve was 93


miles, compared to more than 330 miles in 2018.’. This is just short of travelling from London, England, to Dumfries, Scotland, in one go. As technological advances happen over the next five to ten years, there is a strong possibility that this range could increase even further. And really, that is more than enough to get you to and from work daily, or chase around after the kids, when they have a busier social life than everyone put together!

Charging Capabilities

The final aspect to consider is the charging capabilities that EVs have. The public charging infrastructure in the UK has been evolving quickly, but not at the same rate as the EV cars themselves. There is approximately one public ChargePoint for every eight EVs in the UK. However, change is on the way, as there are many industry players working on how to advance the life of EV batteries or looking at solutions on how charging points can be made to increase their power, to charge EVs faster. For example, The Information Age reported that ‘Superfast’ charging points will provide 350kW of power and will be able to charge compatible electric vehicles within 5-12 minutes. The National Grid has looked at the motorway network and identified 50 sites where superfast charging points could be installed. That would mean a driver would never be more than 50 miles away from a superfast charge whilst using Britain’s motorways.’

As for domestic charging, the ‘My Electric Avenue’ trial conducted by EA Technology, showed that local electricity networks in some areas may struggle to cope with the charging of electric cars when 40 to 70% of properties connected to a substation feeder have EVs. But the UK Department of Transport has outlined that new regulations which are proposed to come into play in the first half of 2020, will require every new home with a dedicated parking space to install an EV charger. There is also an existing government incentive that provides UK homeowners up to £500 to install EV chargers, which has funded the installation of nearly 100,000 ChargePoint’s. In summary, it looks like the UK is getting ready to ensure that ChargePoint’s will be more easily accessible on the go, or at home. Your EV will just need to be added to you ‘charging list’ before bed, after your

mobile…tablet…Kindle…. and any other daily devices!

 

SO, WHAT’S NEXT?

Whether you currently have EV vehicles in your stock mix, or are planning to in the future, there is no doubt that the mounting environmental concerns are helping to further drive the adoption of EV technology in the UK. For customers who choose to ‘go green’, it’s important that they are offered


the right kind of cover they would need for their Electric Vehicle. Assurant can provide the most comprehensive cover to date, with our latest offering ‘EV One’. To discover more, visit: EV One


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