E-mobility: The long and winding road…

E-mobility: The long and winding road…

The government’s Road to Zero Strategy, and the wider UN initiative under the Paris Agreement to tackle global warming, will at some point see the demise of petrol and diesel vehicles around the world. 

The ambition to reduce emissions will mean a ban of all new petrol and diesel cars, and vans, by 2040 and puts unprecedented pressure on manufacturers to develop the technology and the country to implement the necessary infrastructure. 

These measures, should however, put the UK at the forefront of the next automotive revolution with focus on the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and alternative fuels, such as CNG and LPG.  

Phil Killingley, Deputy Head of Office for Low emission Vehicles, gave an update on the UK’s Road to Zero strategy at Cenex-LCV 2019 in September, where an enthused audience were reassured that the uptake in EVs, and the supporting infrastructure, is on track.  

There have been many grumblings about the measures required to support the growth of EVs and the ‘range anxiety’ that comes with not knowing if an EV can get from A to B without losing power. But the technology and the infrastructure are escalating exponentially with around 10,000 UK charging points and 523 new charging devices added in the last month alone, around the country.  

Furthermore, the time it takes to charge a vehicle is improving vastly. Zap-map.com shows the growth of rapid chargers which deliver a charge of 60-200 miles in 20-30 mins.  These can be found at around 1,800 UK locations with 100 rapid charging devices added in the last 30 days. 

In the birthplace of the automobile, the German government coalition has outlined their policy to achieve the 2030 climate targets. Germany’s goal is to reach a million charging stations by 2030 with all service stations expected to install charging points by then.  Meanwhile, similar to the consumer incentives in the UK, Germany is including reduced taxes for pure electric vehicles and is prolonging allowances for company cars with batteries or plug-in-hybrid engines. 

Going back to the early years of the automobile, German inventor Karl Benz (yes, that Benz!) launched the very first motor car in 1885. In the UK, the first four-wheeled car didn’t hit the road until 1894 by a young inventor who was a plumber and gas fitter by trade. Fredrick Bremer, struggled for 2 years to get his incomplete car moving but there are several claims and counterclaims as to who did what first on the British highways 

It’s now generally accepted that the Hon. Evelyn Ellis was the first to import a car in 1895. Which begs the question, how quickly the petrol station and petrol pump were introduced after these revolutionary and world-defining moments? 

It was another nineteen years before the very first roadside petrol station opened in Aldermaston, Berkshire in 1913 and a further eight years, before pumps came into general use. In fact, the very first self-service petrol station wasn’t operational until 1961, in London.  

Incredible to think how much we rely on the petrol station now, to run out and get the car filled up, a pint of milk or a last-minute bunch of flowers. It was a long, long time coming to get to this point. How long will it be before the petrol station will be known as the charging station? We suspect it will be part of our everyday vernacular long before 2040. 

The Road to Zero strategy will mean the end of one revolution but it will fuel another. One that will be undeniably better for our planet. The automotive industry and the infrastructure to support this revolution, will be transformed over the coming decades and without a doubt, we will see more change in the next ten years, than we have in the previous century. 

Dawson Shanahan is proud of its history supplying components for the automotive industry over the last 75 years. We look forward to continuing to deliver precision engineered components to support the astonishing technological advances in Electric Vehicles, in the months and years ahead.