Opinion

Moving over to EV – what do we need to do?

We heard last week that, from next year, all new homes and buildings in England will be required to have electric vehicle charging points.

Griff Thomas from GTEC

In his fourth regular column for Renewable Energy Installer, Griff Thomas, managing director from GTEC, looks at this growing market and its potential to contribute to net zero 2050, exploring what needs to happen to facilitate a successful transition to EVs. 

If we are to reach our target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the transport sector must be tackled. It is the highest emitting sector within the UK economy, responsible for 27% of total greenhouse gas emissions.  

EV sales have soared in recent years and were seemingly unaffected by the pandemic. In 2020, 11% of new car registrations were plug-ins, up from 3% the previous year. As of October 2021, there are 345,000 pure-electric cars and over 675,000 plug-in vehicles on UK roads.  

Why do we need EVs? 

Electric vehicles (EVs) offer a partial solution to the decarbonisation challenge. Although there are lifecycle carbon implications, EVs reduce point-of-use emissions and improve local air quality.  

Of course, there should be a focus on improving public transport networks rather than encouraging car ownership, however, aside from inner-city locations, car driving is a necessary part of life for many people, a move away from polluting fuels can only be a good thing.  

How do we get there? 

In recent years, the public has become much more switched on to the climate change issue. While so many climate solutions are out of reach to the average person, replacing an old petrol or diesel vehicle with an EV is a tangible investment that makes a difference.  

There is clear consumer demand, but it takes more than that to create meaningful change. 

Policy and incentives: Under current plans, the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be outlawed from 2030, followed by hybrid vehicles from 2035. The plug-in grant scheme was updated last year to reflect a greater range of affordable vehicles and make it more accessible to the average driver. Under new rules, consumers can get £2,500 funding towards the purchase of an EV up to the value of £35,000. 

Home charging: The government recently announced plans to make EV charging points compulsory for all new homes and buildings from next year. This would mean around 145,000 new domestic charging points each year, but Ofgem predicts we need far more than this – around 19 million by 2035 to meet demand.  

Public charging infrastructure: To combat ‘range anxiety’ and to make EV driving easy, we need a secure network of public charging points everywhere from supermarkets and retail parks to leisure centres and hotels.  

While the market is growing, becoming an EV charging destination allows businesses to gain an advantage over their competitors, increasing footfall and improving brand identity. The CCC estimates that we need at least 370,000 public charging devices to meet demand by 2035 and we currently fall way short of this figure, with around 27,000. 

EV charge point installers: This rapid growth and demand for infrastructure creates a business opportunity for those with electrical skills. We deliver LCL Awards’ Level 3 qualification in the installation and commissioning of EV charging equipment in domestic, commercial and industrial locations, which is ideal for tradespeople with experience of electrical installations looking to expand their service offering and take advantage of rapid growth in this emerging sector. 

EVs fit into the electric future, where homes will generate their own power with solar PV, use off-peak energy to charge their cars and store surplus electricity for later use through an Electrical Energy Storage System (EESS). It’s time for installers to lead the charge and skill up to facilitate the electrification of the transport sector. 

For more information, visit www.gtec.co.uk