Low Emission Vehicles Update – Part II
December 2020 to January 2021 was a busy period for the electric vehicle (EV) sector. Part I of this update covered December’s headlines. The following are the major sector headlines for January:
- Zap-Map released its annual EV charging network satisfaction rankings. The results, based on a sample of more than 1,500 Zap-Map users, show that Tesla retains its top spot as the UK’s preferred EV charging provider. InstaVolt retained its place in second while Osprey (formerly Engenie) jumped to third from eighth in 2019. PodPoint, which was third placed in 2019, ranked fourth this time.
- Amidst a backdrop of falling car sales in 2020, demand for battery EVs (BEVs) grew by 185.9%, while registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rose 91.2% according to published statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The statistics show that 68% of these registrations were for company cars which, according to SMMT, indicates that private buyers need stronger incentives to make the switch, as well as there being a need for more investment in charging infrastructure, especially public on-street charging.
- The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid (V2G) trial, a project run by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and CrowdCharge has announced Green Energy UK as one of its energy partners. Green Energy UK will send instructions to the CrowdCharge platform, which connects to the EV driver’s V2G charger, to tailor the charging schedule to help align generation and supply. The company will also supply qualifying participants with 50 free miles of electricity per week (up to 2,600 free miles of electricity per year) calculated at its Low-TIDE electricity rate (when the EV is expected to do most of its charging).
- It was announced that Coventry has successfully bid to become one of the UK’s first all-electric bus cities. Coventry and Oxford were selected from 19 towns and cities who applied. The project aims to improve air quality, lower greenhouse gases and reduce the costs of running buses. Up to £50mn will be invested by the Department for Transport to put an all-electric bus fleet on the streets of Coventry by 2025. As well as funding for new vehicles, the grant will also cover investment in wider infrastructure such as chargepoints and upgrades to the electricity grid. Additionally, the £50mn will be supported by a further £75mn of investment from local bus operators into the new electric buses.
- Zouk Capital, manager of the UK Treasury’s Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, announced that the fund has now reached a total of £380mn in signed commitments after its third close. It has a target of £400mn and is aiming for final close in early 2021.
- Hitachi Capital UK announced a £10m investment in GRIDSERVE Holdings, the parent company of GRIDSERVE Sustainable Energy. Over the course of 2020, Hitachi put over £24mn into GRIDSERVE projects. The partnership aims to “revolutionise” the UK’s approach to solar power and build infrastructure to accelerate the adoption of EVs.
- UKPN has announced plans to collaborate with Cambridge City and Cambridgeshire County Councils, Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council and the London Borough of Redbridge to eradicate EV charging blackspots through a pilot project, Charge Collective. By sharing data and expertise, local authorities will help UKPN to identify chargepoint blackspots, which will enable the network operator to hold a competition to incentivise investors to bid to deliver priority chargepoints.
- The RAC announced that there are currently upwards of 150,000 zero-emission battery powered EVs on UK roads, and of these 100,000 were registered in 2020 alone.
- EDF bought a controlling interest in Pod Point in February 2020. Now EDF has reportedly instructed investment bankers at Barclays to consider the timing and structure of a proposed IPO.
- New research commissioned and published by Centrica has revealed that councils are planning to install an average of 35 on-street EV chargers between now and 2025. Commissioned under a Freedom of Information request to over 400 councils, the research finds that there are 7,682 on-street chargers installed across the UK and a further 9,317 are planned over the next four years. Out of drivers who do not have a driveway or off-street parking, just 7% already have an EV, less than 24% are considering switching and 53% are not considering purchasing an EV at all. When asked about barriers to EV ownership, 49% of drivers who said they would not consider purchasing an EV blamed the lack of access to on-street or public charging points in their area.
- Published in Nature Energy, scientists at Penn State University have announced the invention of a new type of EV battery (the lithium-ion phosphate battery) which is able to recharge in around 10 minutes and could potentially prolong the lifespan of an electric vehicle to greater than 2 million miles.
- ev.energy announced it has partnered with Flexitricity with the aim of forming what it says is the “first aggregated balancing mechanism unit” comprised of domestic EVs. Utilising ev.energy’s smart charging platform with over 10,000 EV assets, Flexitricity will be able to trade this domestic flexibility as a virtual power plant, giving energy suppliers and their customers access to grid balancing revenues.
- Gulf Oil International announced that it has entered a commercial agreement to invest in EV and smart charging technology firm Indra, based in Worcestershire. Gulf has also announced its intention to accelerate its investments and partnerships in the EV sector in the near future.
- Ohme announced the launch of its new Ohme App for Intelligent Charging. The app allows EV drivers to select the cheapest daily charging times. It is estimated that this could result in a saving of up to £350 a year. The app has initially been launched exclusively for Tesla users but it will be rolled out to other vehicle manufacturers over the next month.
- BP Pulse announced that it has signed a new contract with Jumptech in order to expand and streamline EV charger installations as part of plans to expand its public chargepoint portfolio to 16,000 by 2030.
- It was reported that Shell is set to acquire Ubitricity, the UK’s largest public EV charging network with a 13.1% of the market. The deal will be completed later in 2021.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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