London EV Show Findings

We’re getting ready to press a button. We have gotten up from our sofa and have begun the walk towards the light switch of EVs. By 2030, we know that we can’t buy any new ICE vehicles which means we will have to adopt some kind of EV in the near future. The infrastructure for petrol and diesel will fossilise (appropriately) and the charging station will be the gleaming feature of all of our roads. That means no localised air pollution from vehicles and after the silent killer contributed to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK last year- that can only be a good thing. That is what the London EV Show want to celebrate and explore with the advancements in the EV field.

There are a couple of things to overcome though.

There aren’t anywhere near enough charging stations for EVs and the adoption of EVs is increasing. Some catching up needs to occur there. When all of this investment and EV adoption occurs though, we need the extra electric juice to power them all.

The National Grid say there is enough energy created to support the adoption of EVs and that is true. However, there will be enormous pressure on the Grid if everyone starts charging their vehicles at the same time. It’s estimated that EVs will need about the same amount of power as your house does and will use around 20% of all energy in the UK when they are fully adopted.

The problem is, if we all start charging our vehicles at the same time- it may have to be provided by non-renewable sources. Although we still wouldn’t have any localised pollution, there would still be large plumes of greenhouse gas being pumped into the atmosphere to power our cars and the Maldives would still sink.

Image: If we don’t use sustainable energy to power our EVs, we will still be pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere

Fear not though, cleverer people than us have already thought of a solution to these teething problems…

Andrew Fox, Charge Enterprises, didn’t compare EV charging stations to the current network of fuel stations we currently have but he compared it to phone signal. There were early adopters of the mobile phone and there were coverage issues, but now everyone has one and you can call your partner from the top of a mountain to pick some milk up on the way home- that process occurred over about a 35-year timeline but dramatically sped-up in the last 10-15. That is the kind of thinking we need. We can’t use the same measures and parameters we used for combustion engine vehicles because their inner workings are more closely related to household electrical appliances than combustion engines.

That’s one of them slightly dealt with- or at least a new outlook on how it should be, now for the next one.

Image: Three companies highlighted during the London EV Show who delivered talks

Charge management may seem boring but it makes a huge difference…

I was talking earlier about the fact that if we move to EVs but still use dirty energy- then what was the point in moving. Well, Nick Woolley has thought about that. EV Energy manages your EV’s charging schedule. Obviously, wind turbines and solar panels don’t make power constantly because it is dependent on some environmental factors so, to make sure your EV is charged with only the kindest of electricity- EV Energy schedule your charges to synchronise with those moments.

The EV driver may seem pious, but maybe they’re smiling because they’ve just bought themself a new solid gold toilet with the money they have saved in vehicle running costs. That is something EV Energy have not overlooked. They will also schedule charges with the cheapest electricity costs, which means the savings of EV running costs will decrease even further- or your utilities costs I suppose because you’ll be charging at home.

Image: Milk floats have been electrified for decades- following from the horse and cart (picture courtesy of Milk&More)

Listen to the data

Into the fleet world though and EVs have been a staple for some time in one industry, the hovering whirr of the 4am milk float has been with us for decades. You would assume that gets a thumbs-up and a ‘carry on’ but Jan O’Hara, Managing Director of LEVL Telematics, thought Milk & More could do what the latter half of their name suggests. During the initial telematics readings, the vehicles were achieving 1 mile per kWh- for the speed of the vehicles that isn’t too bad. The thing is though, it could be better… And it was. After some driver training, as EVs require a different driving style, this increased to 3 miles per kWh. Tripling the range of the vehicles. I know going from 1 to 3 doesn’t sound like that much. But can you imagine if something similar to that ratio could be achieved with other EVs? That would quash the fears of nervous potential EV purchasers, circling the dealerships biting their nails.

What does it all mean?

Basically, what I found from the resoundingly positive London EV Show was that there is hope for the world of EV. It was like a happy COP26, rather than “We have no hope, we’re all going to die and so are all the innocent creatures” it was more, “We have responsibility to change and here are some of the ways we are going to make it easier to do it.” Encouragement is important, the switch to EV needs to happen for our health and for the health of the earth. But that is only going to happen if it actually makes sense to consumers- financial and practical. We all live in the real world- apart from Mark Zuckerburg obviously-  and that is why we need real world solutions so we can continue to do so.

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