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woman in a blue top leaning on the car with her mobile phone in her hands whilst her EV charges
16 April 2024

EV News Round-Up: Charger installations up by a third, mobile phone signal hindering EV transition and new electric taxi initiative

EV Charge Point Installations up by a Third for 2024

Leading EV mapping company Zapmap published fresh statistics for public charge point installations in the first quarter of 2024. The figures show an increase of 35% in the first three months of 2024 with the rate of EV charging points being installed standing at over 1,900 per month compared to an average of 1,400 per month during 2023. 

The total figure of public charges in the UK is now just below 60,000. A 10% increase in the number of chargers since the beginning of the year and 47% more than this time last year.

Looking into the detail behind those headline figures we see a continuing trend in the installation of high-powered hubs. Of the nearly 6,000 chargers added so far this year a quarter of them are high-powered or ‘rapid/ultrarapid’ devices designed for drivers to recharge as quickly as possible. 

It seems the bigger networks are at the forefront of the charge point growth with the top five largest networks responsible for 75% of rapid and ultra-rapid charge points. This investment in delivering speedy public charging will prove useful to drivers looking for a public charge when taking a longer journey.  

Under the provision of the government’s ORCS scheme (On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme), on-street charging also saw an increase with almost 1,500 new chargers installed since the end of December, bringing the total number of on-street chargers available across the UK to 21,475. 

As more charging stations pop up, drivers will likely feel more confident about switching to electric, knowing they'll have convenient access to charging facilities wherever they go.

As the figures demonstrate this surge in the rate of installations and the positive growth is propelled by a mix of government incentives, private investments, and grassroots initiatives. It's a testament to the collaborative effort needed to drive forward sustainable transportation solutions.

UK's EV Transition Hindered by Poor Mobile Signal Quality

A recent study by The RAC Foundation sheds light on a significant obstacle hindering the UK's transition to EVs: poor mobile signal quality at EV charging points. 

According to findings, unreliable mobile phone connectivity is impacting consumer confidence and trust in EV charging infrastructure, potentially slowing down the nation's EV adoption.

The charity’s study highlights inadequate mobile network coverage affecting not only the reliability of EV charging but also drivers' ability to locate, access, and pay for charging services seamlessly. 

It’s estimated that over half of the nationwide public charge points have speeds up to 8kw and almost all will be so-called Type-2 chargers. The challenge for EV drivers is that chargers below 8kw are not obliged to provide for contactless payment and a requirement to access them via an app to pay for a charge. 

Experts emphasise the urgent need for improvements in mobile network infrastructure to support the growing demand for EV charging services as this issue undermines efforts to encourage widespread EV adoption, forcing consumers to rely heavily on mobile apps and signal coverage for navigation and payment while on the road.

Addressing these signal gaps is crucial to building trust in EV technology and infrastructure, facilitating a smoother transition towards sustainable transportation in the UK.

London Electric Vehicle Company Launches New Electric Taxi Initiative 

London Electric Vehicle Company Launches New Electric Taxi Initiative In response to dwindling government incentives for EVs in the UK, the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has unveiled a new initiative aimed at promoting electric taxis. Facing reduced grants for EV purchases, LEVC's initiative seeks to make electric taxis more accessible and appealing to drivers.

The program includes incentives of a £1,500 deposit contribution for all new TX taxi models. The model is already popular in the market with over half of London’s iconic black cab fleet capable of zero-emission operation thanks to the TX model.

Additionally, there are finance options with zero customer deposit and a subsidised rate of 10.51% APR representative for drivers transitioning to electric taxis. 

LEVC says it aims to alleviate the financial burden associated with EV adoption, ensuring that taxi drivers can embrace sustainable transportation without significant upfront costs.

By offering these incentives, LEVC hopes to accelerate the adoption of electric taxis in London and beyond, contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions and improving air quality in urban areas.

Tesla Abandons Affordable EVs for Self-Driving Robotaxis

This week, Tesla made waves in the EV headlines by halting its plans for a highly anticipated low-cost EV, marking a stark shift away from the company's original focus of producing affordable vehicles for the mass market. 

Tesla had claimed to be aiming to democratise electric mobility with this model, dubbed the Model 2, and expected to be priced around $25,000 (£19,800). The company’s cheapest current model, the Model, has a price of £39,935 in the UK. However, escalating competition from Chinese car manufacturers prompted a strategic pivot.

Instead of pursuing the affordable car, Tesla has redirected its efforts towards developing self-driving robotaxis on the same vehicle platform. This move, allegedly confirmed by internal sources despite public denials from the company founder and owner, signals a significant departure from Musk’s long-championed and public "master plan" to fund accessible family cars through profits from luxury models.

Tesla’s decision to pursue autonomous transportation underscores the company's adaptability in a rapidly evolving EV landscape, where competition from Chinese manufacturers challenges traditional strategies. This strategic realignment may redefine Tesla's trajectory in the EV industry, emphasising innovation in self-driving technology over mass-market affordability.

Musk has not commended directly to any reports of the strategic pivot but seemingly in reference he posted shortly after on his X account the “Tesla Robotaxi would be unveiled on 8/8”.

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