Juice Technology, producer of electric charging stations and software and the market leader in portable chargers for electric vehicles (EV), is joined by futurologist Lars Thomsen to provide some insights into the most important trends that will shape the development of electric mobility over the next few years within the markets in the UK and Ireland.
In December 2019, the EU declared its intent to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of road vehicles by 90 percent by the year 2050 based on the 1990 benchmark. Achieving this goal as part of the European Green Deal will entail, among other measures, building an efficient network of electric-vehicle charging infrastructure. Planning calls for installing adequate charging capacity for cars and lorries every 60 km in both directions along the Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T) by 2030. And while the goal of having one million charging points installed by 2025, however, appears rather ambitious, it’s nothing short of imperative in view of the stunning pace at which electric mobility is developing.
Status quo – Where does electric mobility stand in Europe today?
Electric vehicles accounted for some 20% of new car sales in Europe in 2021. In the five largest European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain), the market share claimed by e-vehicles (including all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrid EVs) rose from 8% in the year 2019 to 38% in 2021. In September 2021, Tesla’s Model 3 became the first all-electric car to be crowned best-selling car in Europe (based on all drive types). While the market for diesel- and petrol-fuelled drives in new vehicle registrations for road use is shrinking, the share held by “plug-in vehicles” is growing at double-digit rates.
In Europe, the combined share of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) will exceed that of newly registered diesel- and petrol-fuelled vehicles already in the first half of 2023. In virtually all vehicle segments and classes, electric vehicles will reach a tipping point by 2025 where their attractiveness in terms of both economics and comparative performance clearly overtakes of their internal-combustion-engine counterparts heading towards phase-out. E-vehicle ranges are increasing, while charging times are steadily shrinking, and charging opportunities in both the public and private spheres becoming more and more the norm. Thanks to the growing competition, decreasing prices and broader range of vehicles on the market, EVs stand to gain steadily greater dominance in the high-volume mid- and low-price segments.
USA lagging behind BEV leader China
China has meanwhile reached a staging point for tapping into and scoring on the European and US markets with new (and highly attractive) all-electric cars and PHEVs. Lars Thomsen expects at least six Chinese car brands to launch multiple models on both markets by 2025. The move will simultaneously stimulate even more the already hotly expanding US market for electric cars, which has grown by 190% over last year.
China will remain the world’s largest BEV market.
The US anticipates a surging market for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure beyond the metropolitan hot-spot regions so far. Especially the simultaneous entrance of multiple players into the prime US market for pickup trucks will power a jump of 15% or more in the EV share of new-car registrations in the United States starting in mid-2022. Depending on the availability of batteries and vehicles, the EV share in new car sales in the United States will rise to 40% or higher by 2025. In this same time frame, the volume of EV charging technology on the US market could increase twenty-fold or more compared to today.
Development of charging infrastructure in Europe
Multiple trends are taking shape in the charging infrastructure sector.
- For AC charging in Europe, three-phase 11-kW charging devices are winning out as the most frequent solution: at the vehicle end, this size of on-board charger is easily installed and capable of fully charging batteries with 80 kWh or more overnight.
- For direct-current charging, the Combined Charging System (CCS) connection delivering up to 350 kW of charge power is the standard along motorways. Installations offering 50 to 100 kW are coming into use in public parking structures, etc., in urban settings, and at points of interest.
- By 2024, practically every motorway service area in Europe will be outfitted with fast-charging connections, entailing enormous investments for the facility operators. These costs will be passed on to users in the form of relatively high prices per kilowatt-hour (kWh), unless the users conclude a premium contract with the given operator for a monthly base fee. Current forecasts project that three to five networks will form across Europe that compete for long-term customer retention similarly to today’s mobile phone network operators.
UK, one of the best-prepared countries for EV adoption
16% of all new cars bought in the UK in March 2022 were fully electric, according to data collected for the month of March by New Automotive, the independent transport research organization transport with a mission to accelerate and support the switch to electric vehicles in the UK. This percentage went up from 8% of the market in March 2021. Both diesel and petrol share of the market has fallen in the last 12 months, from 72% of sales last March, to 58% now.
Sales of all EVs were up by 63% year on year, whilst sales of hybrids were actually down by 2%. The recent electric car sales boom is the result of growing consumer interest and falling battery costs, but with another 300,000 electric cars set to hit the roads in 2022, the demand for charging points is increasing.
The government has recently announced its plan to reach 300,000 public EV charging points by 2030. The strategy Electric Vehicle Infrastructure is supported by £1.6 billion and aims to expand the UK’s charging network over the country as well as to improve the consumer experience at all charging points.
Regarding this, Christoph Erni, CEO, and founder of Juice Technology AG says: “According to the report, the people are continuing to move from the combustion engine towards pure EVs. Access to reliable charging infrastructure, both at home and across the road network, is a key requirement to EV adoption, so I think that the Government’s EV Infrastructure Strategy to expand the UK’s charging network by 2030 is a step in the right direction. This requires a significant investment which contributes making UK one of the best-prepared countries in Europe for EV adoption. However, you usually charge your car where you park longer. That means mainly at home, in front of the building where you work, or in shopping areas. These spaces need to be equipped. This because this will make really the difference in the process of electrification”.
About Ireland, there are currently 45,000 EVs registered, but the number is expected to increase over the coming years because Electric Vehicles play a central role in the Climate Action Plan, which aims to achieve 945,000 EVs on the road by 2030.
A national EV charging infrastructure strategy in development will seek to prioritise the delivery of fast and rapid charge point infrastructure with a special focus on charging at home, which is considered the most convenient way to recharge in Ireland.