Spotlight on EV charging point schemes

For workplaces and public sector organisations, providing on-site charging points for clients, visitors and employees alike will become increasingly important moving forward as petrol and diesel-powered cars are phased out and replaced by EVs.

There are a number of different schemes open to those looking to install this facility as part of their energy and carbon management, including the government-backed Workplace Charging Scheme which enables businesses, local authorities and charities to claim up to 75% of the charge point installation cost, up to a maximum of £350 per charge point installed. The subsidy is available for a maximum of 20 charge points and installations must be done by an Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) accredited installer.

Firms based in the United Kingdom (excluding the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) can claim and don’t necessarily need a plug-in vehicle on the company’s books, although in Scotland funding is available through a different scheme called the Energy Saving Trust,

A ballpark figure for a standard, double-header charging unit is around the £1,500 mark after the WCS Grant has been applied. But costs can escalate depending on the type of unit, its position and its charging speed. Ongoing operational business energy costs can be managed through Energy Management’s EM-Powered energy management portal.

Customer and visitor electric cars will have different charging connectivity needs, so it is important to install a charging point most likely to be compatible with the widest range of vehicles possible. An Energy Management EV installation project manager offers advice on this and all other aspects of the EV charging infrastructure process.

Businesses in the hotel, tourist and leisure industry can access funding from a charity called Zero Carbon World. Zero Carbon World gives eligible locations physical equipment worth £450 that comprises one wall mounted 32A Type 2 Charging Station – the European standard that can add approximately 30 miles of charge per hour – and one parking sign, among other added-on benefits.

Alternative models

In addition to the WCS, charging infrastructure providers operate fully-funded, loss leader and profit-making schemes.

The fully-funded model is attractive in that it comes with no operational cost but it may not always be the most appropriate solution for your needs.

With the loss leader model, EV charging is provided free by suppliers to grow market share by attracting and retaining customers, with costs offset by increased revenue gained through existing business activity.

A free top-up charge can be the deciding factor for a driver in choosing where to offer their custom and the costs of offering, for example, 7kW charging to attract these drivers can be relatively modest.

As such, your first consideration should be whether you can offer charging for free to maximise the number of drivers you attract to your location, grow brand loyalty and encourage on-site spending.

Meanwhile, with profit-making models, a higher fee is levied on drivers to use the charge points. This fee covers operational, hardware and installation costs and provides a profitable revenue stream on top.

If you would like more information on what we can offer in terms of EV charging infrastructure services, please visit our dedicated web page.

EV sales motor as the UK leaves France in its slipstream

The UK has caught up and overtaken France in EV car sales in the first quarter of the year, a report in The Guardian has revealed.

Demand for cars with zero exhaust emissions resulted in 31,800 battery-electric cars being sold in the UK, from January to March inclusive, outstripping sales on the other side of the channel by 1,300.

Battery EVs accounted for 7.5% of UK sales in that timeframe, according to industry data, almost doubling the market share compared with the same period in 2020.

However, the UK still lags some way behind number one ranked Germany who sold over double the number (64,700) in the first three months of the year, thanks to generous subsidies.

The UK market share is also disproportionate to that enjoyed in Norway, the first European country to sell more battery-operated EVs than diesel or petrol cars in 2020.

While all the signs point to British consumers closing the gap through a steady increase in sales, drivers still have very real concerns about whether the charging infrastructure is robust enough to support this surge in demand.

With more employees, customers and visitors switching to battery-operated EVs as more affordable, attractive models enter the car market, there is an increasing need for companies to install charge points in their offices, factories and facilities to meet the demand.

Energy Management have expert knowledge in this sector and are already supporting a nationwide roll-out of EV charging installations.

To find out more, please visit our dedicated EV charging infrastructure webpage >>

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EV infrastructure scores low in consumer survey

A survey into charging infrastructure in England, conducted by the Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England, has come out with a customer satisfaction rating of just 2.16 out of 5.

Over 1,000 EV users were asked for their thoughts and the results show there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially with 92 per cent of those polled relying on the public charging network to power their vehicles.

Based on the feedback, the EVA England has made a number of recommendations to government that they feel would improve the EV roadmap, including standardised signage and payment options and a universal pricing policy of pence/kWh.

Chargepoint charter

Whilst acknowledging that the charging infrastructure has improved greatly in recent times, Gill Nowell, an EVA England Director, believes that more needs to be done to support the year-on-year growth in EV sales.

Nowell said: “There are many benefits of making the electric switch, from the pleasure of driving to improving local air quality. With automotive manufacturers, fleets and businesses all now choosing to go electric, we need to improve the consumer experience at public chargepoints to take EV adoption mainstream.

“Based on the outputs of this survey, paving the road for the mass adoption of EVs looks like contactless card payments, roaming, consistent chargepoint reliability, simplified billing, and easy access to information about what chargers are where.

“We recognise that the pace of chargepoint deployment is increasing and that the infrastructure going in the ground today is greatly improved from that which was being installed even five years ago. However, we encourage Government to intervene now in order to ensure that all charging infrastructure is reliable, safe and user-friendly, across all driver groups.”

Business motors ahead in Electric Vehicle take-up

Affordability and a lack of confidence in the charging infrastructure are two of the factors holding back consumers from buying EVs.

However, due to stronger incentives in the business world, the take-up has been much greater – almost double.

To support organisations looking to install electric vehicle charging facilities at their workplace, the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) provides a grant – The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS).

Plug-In grants are available to the public but the government has recently been criticised for reducing them by £500.

Analysis of new car registrations in 2020 by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that just 4.6 per cent of privately bought cars were battery electric vehicles (BEVs) – compared to 8.7 per cent for businesses and large fleets.

Consumers registered 34,324 pure electric vehicles in 2020, compared to 73,881 corporate registrations, it was reported at the trade body’s day-long industry conference last week.

The number of fully electric Uber cars in London, for example, has increased from 100 to 1,600. Whilst this still represents a small percentage of its 45,000-strong fleet in the capital, the will to go electric is clearly there.

The SMMT said: “Ahead of the phase out of new pure petrol and diesel car and van sales in 2030, manufacturers have invested billions in new technology, with plug-ins now accounting for one in four of new car models available – with one in 10 powered purely by electricity.”

Given the rising uptake, the installation of more on-site charging points is a top priority for businesses and public sector bodies helping to drive through the green revolution.

If you want to know about the EV infrastructure installation options available to you, please get in touch with one of our advisors or click here to submit a no-obligation enquiry.

UK set for EV explosion after government declaration

The government have brought forward their ban on the sale of diesel and petrol cars to 2030, as the UK bids to become the second all-electric motoring country behind Norway.

Originally 2040 was mentioned, then 2035, but now the cut-off point is just under a decade away as Prime Minister Boris Johnson sets about putting his ‘green revolution’ in motion.

As of the end of October this year, Electric Vehicles (EVs) accounted for just over 6 per cent of car sales in 2020 (76,000 vehicles), mainly due to concerns of customers over the cost and the limited range capabilities of EVs.

To go from that low mark to 100 per cent will take some doing, but the government has pledged £2.8 billion to ensure the target is met.

Investment in the installation of more charging points and the development of mass-sale EV battery production in the UK will take place as part of a wider plan to make the UK carbon-neutral by 2050.

Businesses looking to install charging points on site have a number of hurdles to overcome, but from initial scoping through to installation, Energy Management has the expertise to help smooth over the process.

For more information on EV support, please contact a member of the team on 01225 867722

UK’s electricity system could go carbon-negative from 2033, say National Grid

A combination of carbon capture technology and continued reliance on renewable forms of energy generation could result in the UK’s electricity grid becoming carbon neutral by 2033, according to the latest Future Energy Scenarios report from National Grid.

With investment in renewable energy generation growing, National Grid expects at least 3GW of new wind power capacity and 1.4GW of solar generation every year from now until 2050 as a result of the upsurge in projects.

It is also anticipated that the Electrical Vehicle (EV) market, set for a boom year in 2020 until Covid-19 put the brakes on, will play a big role moving forward with the potential for as many as 30 million EVs effectively acting as smart-charging “batteries” to help balance the electricity grid. For this to be realised, there needs to be a serious upgrade in vehicle to grid networks

Meanwhile, homeowners will play their part by consuming up to a third less electricity after switching from gas boiler central heating systems to heat pumps fitted with thermal batteries.

Mark Herring, head of strategy at National Grid ESO, said: “Across all scenarios, we see growth in renewable energy generation, including significant expansion in installed offshore wind capacity. There is widespread uptake in domestic electric vehicles, and growth and investment in hydrogen and carbon capture technologies too.

“Although these are not firm predictions, we’ve talked to over 600 industry experts to build this insight and it’s clear while net-zero is achievable, there are significant changes ahead,” he added.

EV sales hit the breaks

We take a look at how the coronavirus is affecting the Electric Vehicle (EV) market

Until the coronavirus took hold, 2020 was shaping up to be a big year for sales of EVs and the development of EV charging infrastructure in the UK. But like a lot of best-laid plans, this is no longer the case and the number of charge points available to drivers of EVs remains at 340. These can be located via the website, Zap-Map.

In the 12 months prior to the pandemic, EV sales had jumped by 144% but they are now set to take a nosedive. Rather than move into the fast lane of the car world, sales of EVs are forecast to plummet by as much as 43% in 2020.

Nissan has taken the decision to halt production of EVs, aware that there won’t be the demand for them given the restrictions on travel and the insecure financial position many people find themselves in.

Tesla, the world’s highest-profile EV manufacturer, had targeted production of half-a-million EVs this year but due to the manufacturing slowdown and economic concerns, that looks highly ambitious.

However, there are still some EV schemes going ahead amidst the crisis, with Siemens announcing at the end of March that they had just completed the UK’s first whole street of lamp post to EV charge point conversions.

The first EV-only motorway service station is also set to be unveiled in Braintree, Essex this summer. When fully operational, the site will have 24 rapid chargers, a supermarket, and an EV education centre.

While the number of car journeys has dramatically reduced since the lockdown period was enforced, key workers still need to get to and from their place of employment and, as a result, Pod Point is reportedly continuing with home charger installations for people operating in the frontline of this crisis who rely on EVs as their mode of transport.

For more information  on how Energy Management can assist with EV infrastructure please contact one of the team on: 01225 867722 / sales@energymanagementltd.com

The impact of COVID-19 on energy and the environment

covid-19

The Coronavirus is seeming to have a spiralling effect, causing major disruption to people’s lives in one way or another. It is also having multiple side-effects on the energy industry and the environment, including very turbulent market pricing.

So far, we have seen the following direct impacts on multiple suppliers/companies we work with on a regular basis, some of these include:

  • A number of suppliers are now only taking emergency phone calls, meaning regular tasks cannot be undertaken.
  • Suppliers are either not quoting which could result in out of contract rates (OCR) or taking up to 15 working days to quote or not taking on any new clients at all
  • Western Power Distribution (WPD) has stopped all contracting other than emergency work only, with many Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) set to follow suit.
  • If businesses are unable to pay bills, and this, in turn, creates a poor credit rating. Energy suppliers will charge a bond as a result which can disrupt cash flows with the knock-on effects potentially felt over the next few years.

Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, Carbon Zero was a major talking point, however, the conversation has gone quiet as short-term thinking has taken over. Personal income and wealth are the primary concerns for people at the moment.

Sustainability on hold?

Many companies had outlined their plans to Carbon Zero targets prior to the pandemic took a grip, which included green energy, renewable energy sources and Electric Vehicles (EV) and installation.

However, since the Coronavirus began it is now estimated that EV battery demand could be downgraded by 4% and solar installations are likely to be 16% lower than previously forecast. It is also expected that 7 in 10 businesses are planning on partially or fully pausing any sustainability announcements.

Many of us are currently working from home or not able to work at all, and that has affected how we communicate with one another. All key green policy meetings have also been postponed and it will be a minimum of six weeks before any UN climate meetings are held in person.

With 16.8 billion people working from home, domestic energy bills could look to increase by £5.2million – which could put a lot of strain on energy providers as well as individuals/family out of work and with no income.

So how does the rest of the world fare?

China has just announced for the first time since going into isolation that they will be relaxing their regulations slightly and allowing individuals involved in the manufacturing sector to go back to work. This could, therefore, cause problems for the rest of the world in terms of energy usage. As their energy output increases and our work decreases, how will this leave us? Will China have the energy they require? Prior to this, China had seen a 25% decrease in its emissions.

Italy has been one of the country’s worst affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, with energy demand on the 18th March recording at being down by 7.45% week-on-week.

Will this ever end?

We all know drastic measures are needed to combat the pandemic, one of which is the cancellation of flights. On the 24th March, we saw 15,650 flights cancelled – the highest number this year.

Another consideration is the number of people – 4.2 billion at the last count – who do not have access to proper sanitation and are unable to follow World Health Organisation guidelines as a result.

What do we expect to see going forward?

In terms of CO2, we could see a similar scenario to the 2008 recession when there was a 6% increase in year-on-year emissions due to businesses and policymakers making up for a loss of productivity. Much depends on the longevity of the lockdown.

Obviously this could have a detrimental impact on businesses attempts to hit their carbon zero targets and the government’s target of being Carbon neutral by 2050.

What does the election result mean for the UK’s energy industry?

Green issues were discussed in the election like never before, amidst a climate of fear around the future of the planet.

The main parties all stated they want to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by at least 2050, if not before. While progress on this front has been positive, the UK is still nowhere near meeting its target and the Committee on Climate Change has said radical changes need to happen in the next few years.

Planning for the future

It is hoped that by 2025 that the UK will have a plan in place to replace gas as a source of domestic heating with all cars and vans on the road being electric by the early 2030s.

The withdrawal bill, paving the way for Brexit on the 31st January 2020, is due to have its second commons reading this Friday. In February, a huge reshuffle will occur once the UK has left the EU with an expected budget statement in March.

Once Brexit has taken place, the UK will be released from any renewable energy targets set by the EU. The availability of funding from EU institutions may impact the deployment of innovation or capital-intensive projects.

EU funding

There are several EU initiatives that promote investment of energy infrastructure and they currently represent an important source of funding for UK energy projects. Therefore, Brexit could leave the UK short of funding or having to look for other means to support renewable infrastructure projects.

Although the UK would still be bound by national and international decarbonisation obligations, it is expected low carbon energy development will carry on forming part of the government’s climate change policy.

In terms of pricing, UK energy prices would be affected if the EU imposes export tariffs on gas flowing to the UK.

Electric Vehicles – who’s in charge?

Who will charge our electric vehicles?

The UK’s Electric Car (EV) market is constantly growing and the growing demand for charging capacity will be met by dedicated charger companies, utilities and the government, rather than car makers themselves.

Research shows that very few of the 60 plus car brands operating in the UK are putting funds towards charging infrastructure. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders admitted: “We consider it is up to the private operators and the government.”

The boss of the PSA group, which owns Peugeot, has declared he does not see charging networks as a core business activity, even with this potentially affecting the sales of EVs due to concern over the lack of charging opportunities – as well as the EVs lack of range.

Ford buck the trend

However, Ford is an exception and has opened 350kW fast-charge sites in the UK as a plan to mirror the Tesla supercharger network.

Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini and Porsche are all part of Ionity, founded by Ford. Ionity has three sites that are operational with a fourth being built.

In 2012, Nissan became co-funder of the Ecotricity 50kW charging network, which has now got up to 300 charging points. This marked the limit of its public charging investment, though.

If the government aims to expand EV use, with the aim of sales going up 50%-75% by 2030, a significant expansion of the charging network is needed.