In 2020, we began a series of thought leadership articles on Electric Vehicles (EVs), as part of our Decarbonising Transport series.
We share our experiences of working with clients in this sector and highlight some of the areas of development and investment which are emerging.
The Current Situation
Successive governments have set their expectations around the private sector taking the lead in the provision of charging infrastructure. The Government’s overriding assumption is that the majority of recharging would likely take place at home and at the work place. On this basis, it considers that a publically available charging network would be underutilised and therefore uneconomic. However, a number of government-backed funds have been launched to help accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure by providing funding to new and existing companies that produce and install charge points. This includes the £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund.
In the absence of a centralised strategic and integrated approach for the large scale delivery of public charging infrastructure, local government authorities and the private sector have stepped into the breach. To date, the provision of charging infrastructure has been dominated by a range of charge point providers who have been incentivised by government finance to provide a range of open access, ‘away from base’ charge point solutions. Typical ‘away from base’ charging solutions include on-street residential charging, motorway and petrol station charging services, as well as public and shopping centre car parks.
The average UK home consumes approximately 4,000 kWh electricity per year. However, an EV with a 100kWh battery also will consume approximately 4,000 kWh/annum of electricity to drive 12,000 miles. As such, a new housing development with 500 properties could need 4 megawatt-hours (MWh) per annum of capacity if each property had one EV. A total of 6 MWh/ annum would be needed if each property were to have two electric vehicles travelling at an average annual mileage.
The charge point provider market can be broken down into three types of organisations:
- Emobility Service Providers (ESMP)
- Charge Point Operators
- Charge Point Owners
ESMPs offer EV charging services to EV drivers, giving them access to a variety of charging points around a geographic area. They help drivers find charging stations, commence charging and pay with various mechanisms (ie card, app or other). Charge Point Operators operate a pool of charging points. Such organisations make sure the network works smoothly, including diagnostics, maintenance, price setting and data management. Finally, Charge Point Owners own the physical charging infrastructure.
Ubitricity (who specialises in lamp-post installations) and Ecotricity (who specialises in service station installations) are two ESMPs that offer a network of EV charging infrastructure up and down the country. Our client EO Charging and Pod Point are typical charge point operators and are a combination of tech start-up and infrastructure providers. Such organisations offer a differing range of services from manufacture and supply only, through to full turn-key solutions (ie supply, design, installation, operation and maintenance).
As a disruptive technology, electric vehicle charging solutions can suffer from a number of challenges. G&T is supporting a wide range of client organisations and supply chain partners in meeting those challenges and we already see a number of opportunities for adapting existing infrastructure to reduce capital investment and generate new income streams.
The ratio of EVs to publicly available charging infrastructure looks adequate for now, but this could change very quickly. For the first time in the UK, new EV and hybrid vehicle sales in the three months to June 2020 were greater than diesel vehicle sales. If this growth trend continues, the UK will need to invest heavily and rapidly to deploy sufficient charging infrastructure.
We need to throw the kitchen sink at the issue of charging...We need to over-provide.
Chief Executive, SMMT
Because the Government has historically left it up to the market to determine where to build the charging infrastructure, we’ve ended up with a fragmented and disorganised national charging network. However, with the right support, a clearer strategy and closer partnership between the public and private sectors, the UK is more than capable of providing a convenient and cost-efficient solution to help overcome consumer concerns and ensure mass take-up of EVs, regardless of where you are in the UK.
This is an extract from our report on GT Market Intelligence.