Apr 5, 2019 - 4min read
As far as we’re concerned, EVs have been on the road to success for a long time now - and they’ve always been the way forward for Tonik. We’ve been offering our members the chance to install EV charging points in their homes for a good while, so they can charge up their electric vehicles with their very own renewable electricity.
Now, though, with the price of electric cars falling and the price of electricity - as always - below the price of petrol, EV ownership is more financially viable than ever before.
But there are other signs that the EV revolution is underway, too - things that we can see around us in our day-to-day life that signal our world is gearing up for a brighter, cleaner EV future. Let’s take a closer look...
EV chargers in the street (and in streetlamps)
You may have noticed charging points popping up on the streets near where you live, and this could very well be a result of government plans announced last year to install hundreds of thousands of EV charging points across the UK.
This infrastructure is crucial to the effective operation of EV vehicles. Even though the range of EVs is increasing month on month, this is of little use if there are no charging stations which EV drivers can use to refuel on long journeys. Fortunately, the number of charging stations across the UK is increasing dramatically, with 20,810 connectors now available across 7406 locations - meaning the number of connectors has more than doubled since 2015.
At the same time, innovative minds are developing new ways of incorporating charging points into our existing infrastructure, such as Ubitricity’s charging street lamps currently being trialled in London. There are even completely new ways to fill EVs with green energy in the pipeline, like Gridserve’s plans for a £1bn UK-wide network of electric forecourts supplying electricity harvested from solar farms.
New kinds of EV vehicle
Now that EVs are cheaper and capable of travelling further than ever before, we’re seeing a significant uptick in public transport and large corporations’ delivery fleets switching over to electric vehicles - or, like Ikea, for example, committing to making their delivery vehicles entirely electric by 2025.
Some admirable companies are taking the pursuit of clean, electric-powered transportation even further, however. The UK’s very own Royal Mail has just begun a trial of electric, three-wheeled delivery bicycles - which use solar panels and regenerative braking to charge a 48v battery that takes some of the effort out of pedalling. Keep an eye out for the curious devices - known as “pedelecs” - on their trial routes in Cambridge, Stratford and Sutton Coldfield over the next six months!
The rise of services turning old cars electric
We’ve written before about a company in the US that makes classic vehicles into electric vehicles, but there are now more and more UK companies that will retrofit classic cars with EV technology, or provide the conversion kits for those daring enough to attempt transforming a beloved piece of motoring history themselves.
Two such companies are Electric Classic Cars and London Electric Cars, and a quick tour of their websites reveals VW Beetles, Range Rovers and Morris Minors that have all gone electric. The fact that there is a market for embracing the technology of a greener future while hanging onto vintage style shows that motor enthusiasts are beginning to recognise the all-round performance and environmental benefits that come with EV.
The high-speed innovation of Formula E
The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed we’re a little bit in love with Formula E - and that’s not just because we sponsor British driver Alexander Sims!
The 2018/19 season has seen Formula E really coming into its own as a competition that’s distinct from Formula One; the progression from first to second generation Formula E cars means the vehicles can now go a whole race on a single charge, while travelling at speeds of up to 170mph.
What we think is really exciting about Formula E, though - besides the fact that it promotes a clean energy - is the way in which it seeks to engage with its audience. Race viewers can use “Fanboost” to vote for their favourite driver to get an injection of extra speed, and “Attack Mode” allows drivers to activate their own power surge by steering through a particular section of the track.
In short, this is a sport that is not only thinking differently about EV technology and the environment, but about the rules and mechanics of racing itself.
And there’s more to come…
The most electrifying thing about all of this EV innovation is that in the grand scheme of things, we are still only seeing the beginnings of a relatively young technology - and we’ve come so far in such a short period of time.
The next phase is expanding the infrastructure to accommodate the growing market and allow EVs to take over the mainstream and become the dominant form of transportation. What’s most heartening, however, is that the will is there - on both an individual and on a policy level - with the government announcing £400m of charging infrastructure funding to launch this Spring.
These are exciting times for electric vehicles and clean energy - and we love helping our members to become part of the revolution.