Future-proofing the EV revolution
2 October 2017 | Author: Johan Birgersson, CEO, EasyPark Group

In a bid to encourage the use of electric cars, the UK government recently announced a controversial plan to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040. As traditional petrol cars become less popular, a strong infrastructure for charging electric vehicles (EVs) is essential to underpin growth in consumer adoption. The upgrade in infrastructure will need to come not only from the technology industry but, more importantly, from cities and their local governments. They will need to future proof themselves and ensure they are preparing for a future in which electric vehicles are the dominant mode of transportation.

Rise of EVs

The UK market is steadily moving towards the EV transition. In fact, according to research, the government evaluations on the uptake of electric vehicles significantly underestimates the reality. According to the most recent figures, there are currently 100,000 hybrid and pure electric vehicles on UK roads.

The National Grid has predicted that by 2050 there could be up to 26 million electric vehicles on the road in the UK. This predicted increase will create significant challenges for national grid capacity, parking and availability of charging stations.

Consumer concerns

One of the biggest concerns for consumers when purchasing an EV is that they fear being at the mercy of a charging network which is becoming overburdened. In the US, there have even been reports of 'charge-rage' at charging ports, as EV drivers compete to use the limited resources and struggle to find parking in cities which are already congested beyond capacity.

Another concern for the transition to EVs in the UK is the fact that Britain will need to invest billions of pounds to drastically change its infrastructure. This will include investment into new power plants, grid networks and EV charging points, if it is to avoid local power shortages when the planned ban on diesel and petrol cars comes into effect. However, the benefits of EVs cannot be ignored – most notably pollution in cities will be alleviated as the impact of exhaust emissions is lessened. This is also good news for our health, as better air quality will lead to less health problems and associated costs caused by air pollution. It is no wonder that governments across the world are making the move.

Improving infrastructure

Luckily, there are plans to expand and improve resources for EV charging. There are ambitious targets to increase the amount of EV charging points across Europe, with ten percent of all residential buildings' parking spaces being required to have electric vehicle charging points by 2023. On top of this, all new builds must be fitted with EV charging points from next year onwards.

So, with EV use on the rise, there's a need for EV drivers to be able to quickly find, book and pay for their charging to improve convenience levels, as well as easing congestion on the roads. Parking apps make it easier for EV owners to do just that. This can help the struggles they face, which include 'range anxiety' and 'charge anxiety', by showing them in the app where the nearest available charging station is.

With EV charge apps, drivers can use one single interface to search for a place to park and a charging station, as well as options to start, stop and extend charging and parking transactions. By keeping charging and parking together in one user flow, there is no need for dual interfaces and separate flows. For drivers who are used to mobile parking, there is no need for a change in user behaviour. Not only this, but by improving the parking situation from the outset, already heavily congested cities won't be at risk of worsening traffic bottlenecks.

Case study: Norway – at the forefront of the EV revolution

Norway is leading the EV revolution - in fact, over a third of new cars sold there are now either fully electric or plug-in hybrid. The country is so committed to this transformation that the government have even suggested that by 2025, gasoline and diesel-powered cars will no longer be sold in the country.

The key driving force behind this rapid transition to electric vehicles in Norway is linked to generous government incentives. Electric vehicles are exempt from car-purchase tax and the 25% sales tax on most goods sold in the country. Not only that, but municipal power points are free and EVs are eligible for privileged parking.

Norway shows us that with the right incentives in place, and ensuring that traditional vehicles are no longer the cheapest option, many people will opt for electric. As 98% of Norway's energy comes from hydropower, this approach is fully sustainable.

If the UK is to achieve its ambitious goal of phasing out diesel and petrol cars by 2040, there is much to be learned from the Norwegian model.

Getting ahead

Whilst the UK is already taking steps in the right direction to accommodate the transition to EV with legislation in place to upgrade infrastructure. If steps aren't taken to address the need for more charging stations and subsequently more short-term parking, the current congestion situation could be made much worse. Predictive parking apps are the key to helping manage this situation, and ensure that EV drivers are always able to quickly locate a charging station.

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