Toyota this week announced it will be investing £240 million in its UK manufacturing facility to enable it to produce its range of electric vehicles. This is yet another big win for UK industry, but also for the electric vehicle (EV) market, which continues to grow.
Interestingly, this news was announced around the same time that the UK Transport Minister, John Hayes, claimed electric cars are putting increasing pressure on the nation’s power grid.
If even the modest number of EVs currently on the road is overloading the infrastructure, what will happen as numbers rise?
A couple of other potential infrastructure issues threatening the take-up of EVs also spring to mind. For starters, it’s fair to say there aren’t enough charging stations in the UK.
Secondly, there is little consistency in the rate of charge at public charging stations, which means some chargers are much faster than others. The issue here is that when you’re on the road and need to charge quickly, you may be waiting some time for the vehicle to reach the percentage of charge needed to resume and complete the journey.
It’s clear that to allow mass take up of electric vehicles, solutions to these issues are essential. Fortunately, these are merely temporary road blocks to progress, not an impasse.
The number of public charging stations, for example, is on the increase. Nissan predicts electric vehicle charge points will outnumber petrol stations by 2020.
As for the speed of charge, this comes down to the type of charger installed. The most typical charger found in the UK is the Level 2 charger. While this typically charges at the same rate as a home charging station, the speed of charge can be improved by installing super charging stations similar to those used by Tesla.
Given the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, overcoming these infrastructure issues could be the tipping point in the adoption of electric vehicles and signal a new era for the automotive sector.