Friday reading: #EV surveys, #electromobility infrastructure, charger etiquette & more…

August 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

vw eup2Government report out this morning on uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles: full 70-page document here, but a quick summary of findings… In the last quarter of 2014/Q1 2015, they represented over 1% of the UK car market for the first time; two-thirds of these ULEVs were PHEV, one-third all-electric; their 2014 market share was at a similar level as in the US, France and Germany, though Norway reached 17.8%; most EV owners are male, middle-aged, well-educated, affluent and in urban areas in households with two or more cars and the chance to charge at home; this demographic dominance is not expected to change significantly in the next 3-5 years, with more similar buyers anticipated, though these may split into three groups according to whether they’re motivated by environmental concern, new technology or saving money. Private-sector businesses represent the bulk of fleet EV purchases and this is likely to continue.

Privately-owned EVs are being driven for mileages comparable to ICE cars (average 8,850 miles a year, compared to 8,430 for all cars), and are typically used as a main car in a household (82%, for most day-to-day journeys; 20% of EV drivers had no other car); owners are mostly satisfied and positive about buying another, though range is still the biggest perceived downside, followed by purchase price and a lack of knowledge about EVs; home charging is preferred over workplace or public, most owners charging overnight at home, but they consistently report a desire for more extensive and fast public charging to enable them to undertake longer journeys. Fleet EVs are being regularly used, driven for high mileages, and if used as pool cars, are mainly charged at workplaces.

The report also discusses policy on financial incentives (upfront grants have been important; financial incentives may be effective in encouraging further uptake), and investment in public infrastructure (important for encouraging further uptake; more research needed to work out how much/where to put it). It also says that “more up to date evidence is needed on the characteristics, behaviours and attitudes of current EV owners in the UK” (well, maybe I can help…) as well as representing fleet owners and users, and looking into the differences between EV and PHEV owners.

In other news today:

  • Zap-Map is reporting 132 new rapid-chargers (AC and DC) installed in the UK in the last 30 days, bringing the total up to 1345. These are 43 CHAdeMo (i.e. Nissan Leaf), 41 CCS (BMW i3), 34 Type 2 Mennekes and 14 Tesla. Don’t get me started on the different connector types
  • There’s a joke in here somewhere about an electrified yellow brick road… Kansas City Power and Light has a plan for 1,100 EV-charging stations and removing range anxiety, and is working with partners to install a network and promote EV uptake. Report from Forbes (via electrive.com).
  • Closer to (my) home, Oxford City Council is the latest to moot a ban on petrol and diesel cars in its centre by 2020, with a city-wide ban proposed for 2035. More here.
  • Audi’s upcoming all-electric SUV is to have a 500km range; batteries will be sourced from LG Chem and Samsung SDI. More here. This car – Q6 e-tron – is expected to be previewed in concept form at the Frankfurt Motor Show this autumn.
  • Millennials aren’t the only demographic group out there, of course, but the automotive industry is rather obsessed with these youngsters (born 1982-2004, by common definition) right now. Some nice number-crunching from a UCLA student (reported here at Citylab) who looked at  US national travel surveys in 1995, 2001 and 2009 and the habits of 16-36 year-olds at each point; Kelcie Ralph identified four groups, the car-less (14%), multi-modals (4%, going 30-60% of their journeys by a non-car mode), trekkers (3%, high-mileage drivers doing twice the mileage of the main proportion, which is…) and, yes, drivers (79%, doing the majority of their travelling by car and averaging 24 miles a day across four trips). However, these stats (the 2009 data) show little change since 1995, with drivers down only 4% from 83%, the car-less up 4% and multi-modals only up 1% (from 2.5 to 3.5%). So on this analysis, Generation Y isn’t exactly shunning motor transport wholesale, although Ralph’s data does only look up to 2009.
  • Some feedback from Finland on its progressive intelligent mobility programmes, notably in Helsinki: apparently the Kutsuplus on-demand shared taxi service isn’t actually being used much, because short round-the-city journeys are already well-served by public transport or other means, i.e. walking. The writer, who also discusses autonomous vehicles, warns against relying on tech-fix solutions, pointing out that, in cities, very good low-tech transportation modes already exist – walking and cycling – and notes: “much of the tech visioning within the transportation circles is way too disinterested about integrating the enormous amount of work that still needs to be done with the physical realities of our cities to their future scenarios. Apps are not going to help you ride a bike to the nearest transit stop if the physical infrastructure doesn’t exist.” A thought-provoking Friday read.
  • Montreal’s second-largest taxi operator is aiming to put 2000 electric taxis on the city’s roads by 2019, with the first in action by the end of this year; more here. Green Car Reports also has the lowdown on an EV rental/sharing scheme in rural Japan, aimed at tourists touring the country’s onsen (hot springs).
  • And DEWA, the electricity and water authority in Dubai, is to set up 100 EV-charging stations this year as part of its Smart Dubai initiative (for when the oil runs out?). These will include fast-chargers at petrol stations and on highways, at commercial zones, parks and offices, and domestic chargers will also be supplied, reports Intelligent Mobility Insight.
  • An issue of charging etiquette: Tesla appears to now have concerns that some of its ‘frequent’ Supercharger users (USA) are taking advantage of the provided free electricity when they could be charging at home, and blocking up facilities for others. This does raise questions about the viability of the whole free-charging thing, how it can be scaled up as numbers of EVs increase, and how this affects the commercialisation of the network. Problem is in this case, there is some debate as to what ‘frequent’ use entails, and some unrest has ensued among the Teslerati… debate outlined here at Cleantechnica.
  • Report from the Royal Town Planning Institute, using commuting data from the 2011 Census, claims that adding 1million new homes by building on the green belt around London could mean up to 7.5million more car journeys each week. The RTPI says that it challenges the assumption that these new residents would commute by train, analysing data from Hemel Hempstead, High Wycombe, Bracknell, Maidenhead and Watford to show that only 7.4% of commuters travelled to London by train despite living within easy cycling/walking distance of a station. 72% went to work by private vehicle, though mostly to jobs within their home town rather than driving into London. More here; full report here.
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