Is the move to electric vehicles on track?

Last year the UK government pledged that the manufacture of petrol and diesel cars would cease by 2040. In July, they then amended their pledge to also exclude hybrids (cars powered by electricity and petrol/diesel).  MPs in the United Kingdom are, however, growing ever more skeptical about the viability of a majority electric vehicle future by 2040.

On the other hand, a new report has been released by the Business, Energy and Industrial Committee, ‘Electric vehicles: driving the transition.' They believe that the initial pledges by the government were ‘vague' and lacked ambition. They recommend that government ban the sales of fossil-fueled vehicles by the year 2032 and make the necessary investment to facilitate it.

Chair (and engineer) of the Business, Energy and Industrial Committee said:

“We cannot expect consumers to overcome ‘range anxiety’ and switch to electric vehicles if they cannot be confident of finding convenient, reliable points to regularly charge their cars. The government needs to get a grip and lead on coordinating the financial support and technical know-how necessary for local authorities to promote this infrastructure and help ensure that electric cars are an attractive option for consumers.”

Source: ABB

The technical know-how across many facets of the global rollover to electric vehicles will be an essential focus in the next few years. Training a league of engineers to focus specifically on electric cars is vitally important.

Electric Car engineering courses, and Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Engineering Academies are popping up fast to meet the potential skills shortage that the automobile industry might face as 2040 approaches. Despite these efforts experts worry that deadlines cannot be met for a 2040 deadline, let alone one in 2032.

Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), as quoted by Verdict UK, said:

“The government’s 2040 ambition was already extremely challenging, so to fast-track that by eight years would be nigh impossible. We said we need world-class infrastructure and world-class incentives to have any chance of delivering so the recent cuts to the Plug-in Car Grand and lack of charging facilities - both of which are severely criticized by the Committee - show just how difficult it would be to accelerate this transition.”

The overarching reason for lessening the number of combustion engines on the road is to minimize emissions. The current government ambition is named the ‘Road to Zero Strategy.'


The current situation

EV Volumes analyses the electric car market - it has reported that there were 3 million electric vehicles in operation worldwide, by the end of November 2017. Another 2 million are expected to be on the roads by the end of 2018.

The technological requirements of EVs seem to be holding back this replacement industry. Charging stations are currently only charging vehicles at up to 120kW - and can typically only service one car at a time. The EV charging stations need to have increased capacity and be peppered around a city.

ABB have, however, released a new electric vehicle charger called the Terra HP. It can run three times faster than the current EV chargers on the market and can also service two vehicles at the same time. The development of faster EV charging technologies will encourage consumers and potentially fast-track the uptake of EVs. ABB confirms that in just eight minutes 200km (120 miles) of driving range will be added to the latest EVs on their new charging stations.


Works Cited

“ABB Powers e-Mobility with Launch of First 350 KW High Power Car Charger.” ABB Group - Leading Digital Technologies for Industry, 24 Apr. 2018, new.abb.com/news/detail/4439/abb-powers-e-mobility-with-launch-of-first-350-kw-high-power-car-charger.

Migliorato, Lorenzo, and Christopher Marchant. “Government Committee Considers 'Road to Zero' Petrol Ban by 2032.” Motor Finance, 19 Oct. 2018, www.verdict.co.uk/motor-finance-online/news/government-committee-considers-bringing-petrol-ban-forward-2032/.

“UK Government EV Plans Vague and Unambitious Claim MPs.” The Engineer, 19 Oct. 2018, www.theengineer.co.uk/mps-criticise-uk-government-ev-plans/?cmpid=tenews_6443514&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=tenews&adg=5A0EAC12-A7C5-4FD9-9AA8-84D6979695B5.


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