We have the missing piece for the EV puzzle

7 Dec 2021 01:39 PM

We all want a more planet-friendly, sustainable way of living, but the problem of practicality isn’t going away any time soon. Electric Vehicles (EV) are part of the answer to living a low carbon life, but how are we going to make that EV infrastructure work?

At COP26, global leaders agreed to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans. 2040 is the target date, but the UK government plans to phase-out the sale of new fossil-fuelled car and van sales by 2030. Ambitious, necessary, and challenging.Abbas Lokat, Senior Consultant

Almost 1 in 10 new cars are now totally electric. We have around 330,000 battery-operated vehicles in the UK, and the Tesla Model 3 was the UK's best-selling new car in September. In fact, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports growth of almost 90% in EV registrations, year on year – and with good reason. People like them. When I bought my car in 2014, a VW Golf, I had one eye on the future. I was driving perhaps 16,000 miles a year, and it's only been over the last 18 months that mileage has reduced, due to the pandemic. The car is ageing well but I will need to think about what to buy, soon.

An EV will make sense for me, my family, and, yes, for the planet – this is not a fad or a ‘tree-hugging’ statement of days gone by but questions such as ‘how will I charge it?’ and ‘how much will it cost me to own and run it’ still exist.

Sustainable transport is important. People I know and work with have abandoned the concept of car ownership altogether and use different modes of transport and associated charging models to satisfy their transport needs. The Transport Decarbonisation plan published by the DfT in July 2021 and the Net Zero Strategy published by BEIS in October 2021 talk about decarbonising all forms of transport and making public transport, cycling and walking the natural first choice for all who can take it with a £2bn investment over 5 years. This facilitates choice in how we travel, shop and use our leisure time in our local neighbourhoods and areas without the use of a car.

In the RAC’s 2021 report on motoring, 82% of respondents said they’d find it difficult to live without a car, a higher proportion than ever before. There’s a greater dependency on personal vehicles now, even though we’re doing fewer commuter journeys. 71% said they use their car for commuting instead of alternatives because it’s quicker, with just over half (55%) saying there are no feasible public transport options. 42% of drivers aged 17-24 said they’ll use their cars more in the future as a result of the pandemic.

This is a real challenge for government departments and local authorities. They carry the burden of putting the practical plans in place that will help the UK to reduce its current emissions by 78% in 2035 and to achieve Net Zero by 2050. Not surprisingly, 300 local authorities (60% across unitary, metropolitan and county authority types) have now declared a climate emergency.

The focus on ‘finding answers’ has never been greater: the question is, ‘where do we find the missing piece in the EV puzzle?’

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