Electrifying

Petrol vehicles are reliant on a dwindling commodity: oil. Meanwhile, electric vehicles are reliant on a commodity which is arguably in shorter supply – patience. The typical electric car takes 4 hours to charge from empty using a 7kW home charging point, and around 30 minutes to achieve an 80% charge from a rapid charging point at a service station. No problem if you are making short trips around town; however, a significant barrier to the adoption of EVs intended to make long motorway journeys. In an attempt to solve this problem, Volkswagen’s Electrify America has begun to install 350kW charge points across America, able to provide a 200-mile range within 10 minutes of plugging in. The interesting point is that the only cars able to handle a 350kW charging point won’t hit the market until 2020. This is a rare case of the infrastructure being in place, without a product ready to use it (chicken vs egg?). The former is an issue in the UK, where a report published by Emu Analytics earlier this year found that by 2020 the UK needs a minimum of 100,000 charging ports (16,600 currently exist) to sustain demand by EV owners. This figure is only set to grow with the Government announcing a ban on the sale of new cars with petrol or diesel engines by 2040. The question is where these points will go. Even with 10 min charge times, the existing petrol station model won’t work – cars would be queuing around the block. The shift needs to be towards decentralised charging, which presents an opportunity for anyone who owns a car park, including of course shopping centre owners.