e L ectric Avenue
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Rewinding to electrify driver training Let’s begin by travelling back in time over 100 years to the late 1800s and the early 1900s. This was an era when electric cars were the preferred option over combustion because of their quietness, reliability and lack of fumes. Yet the rise of the petrol station infrastructure, the invention of the electric starter motor and the discovery of cheap Texas crude oil effectively killed off the electric car by 1935.
Fast forward to the modern day, and in less than 10 years since their recent revival, EVs are now achieving exponential demand, triggering long waiting lists and $300 billion dollars of investment from manufacturers reacting to 42 Intelligent Instructor
demand. Environmental and public health concerns from traditional combustion engines, along with the ‘dieselgate’ controversys, but also the huge leaps in design and technology, not least by Tesla, and the vehicle user and ownership landscape is changing beyond recognition – it would seem that the tipping point has now been reached. Despite a few tentative trials of EVs across the decades, especially during the 1970s oil crisis, it wasn’t until the release of the first Nissan Leaf in 2010 that the resurgence began. Up to 2018 electric vehicles remained under 1% of new car sales in the UK until 2018-2019 demonstrated a dramatic and sustained rise in uptake, currently at 2-3%. Compare
ROB COOLING ADI, Nottingham EV Owners Club
that to Norway, where EV sales as of March 2019 represented a stunning 58.4% of all new cars, with their infrastructure evolving alongside the transition.
Upfront costs and range limitations initially stalled mainstream adoption but these issues are eroding away. As economies of scale take effect we will continue to see list prices falling, but also because the huge up front development costs are now beginning to realise their potential, not least in battery technology that now allows for standardised 200-300+ mile range. Price parity with traditional cars is expected in the next few years and in some instances has already been achieved, and we will be getting a modern and better product with lower running costs and emissions for the same upfront prices as conventional cars. Even now we know the lifetime cost of an EV is less than an internal combustion engine model – very few moving parts, low servicing, cheap fuel, no VED and so on. Personally, I used to spend £240 a month on petrol , now it’s £70 a month on electricity, impressively offsetting a large portion of the £300 per month lease cost I pay for my training vehicle – a Nissan Leaf. These savings don’t even account for the improved reliability, reduced servicing costs, lack of vehicle excise duty and a more