With mobility drastically reimagined during the pandemic, we’ve been offered a chance to change the way we travel and become more efficient and more sustainable.
With this in mind, the UK Government laid out its own ‘greenprint’ – an ambitious set of plans to boost the electrification of transport and reduction of pollution. Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, has promised infrastructure investment such as charging point stations for EVs, to help work towards zero-emission goal checkpoints. However, it’s crucial that government and local authorities move past pledge-making and toward solid action that impacts the public directly.
Any decarbonisation plans will need careful co-ordination from public and private companies. Even though it requires a monumental effort, the payoff will be massive, creating cleaner air, healthier communities, and tens of thousands of new green jobs. Alongside this, the promotion of more digital solutions for drivers will help streamline travel, and make trips smarter, greener and more efficient. †
The advent of the electric age
Around one in ten new cars in the UK is electric, with uptake expected to soar over the next 12 months. Encouraging the switch to EVs will be supported by the legal requirement for new homes and businesses to have an EV charger installed from 2022. This can only be good news, given the imperative to act swiftly on global climate concerns and end the sale of fossil fuels in the coming decades.
Hand-in-hand with EV charging is parking. Drivers want the convenience of Plug-Pay-and-Play options, combining parking with charging while they go about their business – without having to set more aside time to ‘top up’ charge. To make this a reality, a streamlined digital system is required which allows motorists to pay for parking and charging simultaneously. We already see this taking place in Scandinavia today, and it must be a priority for the UK over the next 12 months, as we seek to mitigate climate change through cleaner transport.
For drivers focusing on sustainable travel, the expansion of an Open Market in parking further enables efficiency for motorists. By taking advantage of an open marketplace, drivers are exposed to a diverse range of parking payment providers, having the power to select which best suits them. Drivers are spared the hassle of juggling various digital applications and numerous payment methods – simply making paying for parking as easy as pushing a button, and this in turn makes travel more streamlined when it comes to electric vehicles, for using an app to pay for parking and locate a charging point.
EV charging and infrastructure
The lack of a high-speed charging infrastructure in the UK creates barriers to the widespread adoption of EVs, instigating ‘charging anxiety’ amongst perspective owners. This severely hinders the British Government’s progress with its net 2030 targets on the mass adoption of net zero motor vehicles.
Still, the Government remains firm on their promise of an Electric Vehicle Revolution which pledges 145,000 new charging stations to be introduced across the UK. This is in addition to the 250,000 charging stations that have already been introduced to new homes and workplaces to date. These pledges help to encourage the switch to EVs by reassuring motorists how accessible the charging infrastructure will be to them, reassuring charging apprehensions.†
Improving air quality through transport efficiency
The greatest benefit of EVs is that they are better for the environment. They do not rely on fossil fuels, nor do they emit toxic by-products. EVs reduce air pollution considerably and ensure that Earth’s finite materials are not harvested on a mass scale.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, states that road transport makes up around half of London’s air pollution. In stark contrast, just one EV on the road can save an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2. This alongside the UK Government’s target to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2040, has made the uptake in EVs paramount in reducing pollutants and saving our environment.
Ensuring sustainable post-pandemic recovery
In dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic, we have naturally grown more concerned about our health and safety, and many remain wary of using public transport. In our post-Covid recovery period we cannot discourage people from visiting British town centres to reinvigorate our local economies. Yet, we must ensure that this done sustainably.
Having accessible parking can limit driving frustrations and save valuable driving time, which reduces the use of fossil fuels. Furthermore, affordable parking would generate greater incentive for frequent visitors, also providing a steady and sustainable local income.
The future of mobility in the UK is the pursuit of green. In driving a mass uptake in EV ownership, drastically widening the scope for an EV charging infrastructure and committing to a sustainable post-pandemic recovery, the UK is paving the optimistic path to a net-zero future.
Author: Peter O’Driscoll, Managing Director at RingGo