After a record year in 2017, the forecast for the electric vehicle market in 2018 seems bright. Only 3,500 electric vehicles were registered in the entire year of 2013, yet over 4,000 new registrations per month on average were made in 2017. These figures show significant growth over the past few years – with the newfound popularity attributed to the developments in the industry that are slowly but surely overcoming the initial setbacks of electric vehicles.
To battle against the challenges facing the industry, the UK are working hard to provide more charging points across the country, whilst manufacturers work to improve battery life and mileage range. Nissan have recently launched their new Nissan Leaf with longer mileage range. The new Leaf is said to be able to travel around 50% further on one single charge than previous models. The Nissan Leaf is already branded as one of the most popular all-electric motors with over 283,000 sold since the model launched in 2010 – only coming behind the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The new updates to the Leaf could push it up to the top spot, now it is able to travel further without needing to be charged.
The brand-new model also features Nissan’s innovative one pedal driving system that is expected to transform the driving process. The system, which at the press of a button turns the accelerator into an e-Pedal, can function to start, accelerate, brake and stop the vehicle. Whilst drivers can still choose to operate their vehicle with a separate accelerator and brake, the system, if used, will also provide added energy efficiency gains.
Here, VW dealership, Vindis looks at what we can expect to see from the market in the near future.
Keeping up with demand
The UK have installed several additional charging points in recent years. By May 2017, there were more than 4,300 charging locations, with 6,700 charging devices and 12,500 connectors. However, if the popularity of EVs continues, we will need to continue to build more charging points to fill demand. And if we are to overcome the ongoing headache that is a full battery charging time of 8 hours, we will need an influx of rapid charging points which can charge up to 80% of an electric battery in just 30 minutes, as opposed to slower charge points. Thanks to a multimillion pound deal with ChargePoint back in May 2017, InstaVolt are installing at least 3,000 rapid charging points across fuel station forecourts across the UK.
As the National Grid warn that peak demand for electricity could increase by 50%, if and when the nation switches to electric vehicles, now is the time to consider reconstructing our current infrastructure – which could be needed sooner than we think now that a new pan-European EV charging network has been announced too. IONITY, set up by the BMW Group, Daimler, Ford, and the VW Group with Audi and Porsche, launched the network early November 2017, and plans to work on 20 ultra-rapid charging points has already begun as they target for 400 points across Europe by 2020. 2018 is forecast to see the network expand across more than 100 locations with the intentions of making long distance EV travel easier.
Beat the competition
Electric engines have always faced serious competition with petrol and diesel alternatives – especially when it comes to refuelling and charging. The faster charging batteries available, take up to 30 minutes at a rapid charging point to fully recharge, whereas you can refill a tank of fuel in a matter of minutes. However, new research, as reported on by the Express, suggests a solution to this problem. Researchers claim they could have developed an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that recharges an electric battery in the same time as it would take to fill a gas tank – a solution to the biggest headache of electric vehicles. This would revolutionise the EV industry, as battery life and its charge has been the biggest challenge for the industry. The new method is said to use fluid electrolytes to re-energise battery fluids – reducing the need for new infrastructure to support further recharging solutions.
Further developments from the EV market can be expected as the UK government continue to outline their plans to reach their 2040 target of eliminating petrol and diesel cars. If manufacturers can truly cut down the time it takes to recharge the battery, and develop batteries that can travel further, the industry could be revolutionised and experience an influx of drivers wanting to get their hands on an EV. Watch this space!