Written evidence from Augustus (ELV0001)

I am an EV user and have owned a Nissan Leaf EV since November 2021. I use this car for long and short journeys.

My answers to the questions below are based upon my experiences over the last several months since November 2021. I have deleted questions that I was not qualified to answer.

Government approaches

1. What are the main obstacles to the achievement of the Government’s 2030 and 2035 phase-out dates? Are the phase-out dates realistic and achievable? If not, what steps should the Government take to make the phase-out dates achievable? Anecdotally the transition seems to be progressing well. Government messaging that the dates may change is not helpful and would appear to undermine confidence from consumers.

3. What specific national policies, regulations or initiatives have been successful, or have hindered, EV adoption to date? Are these policies or initiatives fit for purpose? The plug-in car grant and OLEV charger grant made it easier for me to purchase my car (PCP) and install a charger at my home. The return of these would be a good sign of support for the transition and car users.

5. What is your view on the accuracy of the information in the public domain relating to EVs and their usage? This is distinctly variable. There are good resources for accurate information (Eg Ev-database). However, in the summer of 2023 it would appear that the transition to EVs is the pet peeve of more than one national newspaper with almost daily stories of disinformation. It would be good for the government to communicate clearly that this a transition to electric vehicles and not a blanket ban and that fossil fuel cars will be present on our roads for years to come.

6. What are the overall environmental benefits that would result from achieving the 2030 and 2035 targets? Over time cleaner/healthier air for all of us, reduced pressure on the NHS. Less reliance on fossil fuels and the resulting reduced environmental impact.

EV Market and Acquiring an EV

These questions relate to the UK EV market and uptake of EVs by UK consumers.

9. What are the main consumer barriers to acquiring an EV, either through purchasing, leasing, or other routes? For new vehicle purchases the barrier is one of cost. Manufacturers charge a premium for these vehicles compared to fossil fuel equivalents.

10. How is the Government helping to ensure that EVs are affordable and accessible for consumers, and are these approaches fit for purpose? I’m not aware of any government help in England. In Scotland there is a grant for the installation of chargepoints and interest free loans for the purchase of used EVs.

11. Do you think the range of EVs on offer in the UK is sufficient to meet market needs? Which segments are under-served and why? Why is the UK market not seeing low cost EVs, particularly in comparison to China? This is clearly improving all the time however there is still a shortage of truly budget EVs. Anecdotally one of the barriers would appear to be that we are a right-hand drive nation and there are several costs incurred by manufacturers to adjust cars for our market.

13. What is your assessment of the current second-hand EV market? How is the second-hand EV market projected to develop between now and the phase out dates? Anecdotally this is maturing well with greater choice and much more affordable options and the cars trickle down.

15. What barriers are there to achieving a sufficient supply of second-hand EVs, mindful that second-hand vehicles make up a high proportion of all vehicles purchased? Support consumers in purchasing new vehicles, support the leasing market in making these vehicles affordable to allow trickle down.

17. Are consumers charged higher rates of insurance for an EV when compared to an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and if so, are these higher rates justified? Can the Government do anything to mitigate this? I do pay a premium for insuring my EV, compared with an equivalent fossil fuel car. My understanding is this associated with the perceived higher value of the vehicles.

Experience of using an EV

18. What are the main challenges that UK consumers face in their use of EVs? Education as to the difference of owning an EV compared to a fossil fuel car. What they should expect regarding range, charging and general ownership.

19. What are the main benefits that UK consumers could realise from using an EV? Reduced running costs due to electricity being a cheaper fuel (increased saving further from EV specific electricity tariffs). Significantly reduced maintenance costs compared to fossil fuel cars, due to regenerative brake and fewer moving parts (simplified drive trains).

20. How prepared are car dealerships, service networks, repairs and maintenance organisations, breakdown services and aftermarket suppliers to meet the growing EV uptake? Breakdown services such as the AA are ready for the EV transition, having onboard systems to charge cars that have broken down.

21. How does the charging infrastructure for EVs need to develop to meet the 2030 target? Does the UK need to adopt a single charging standard (e.g., the Combined Charging System (CCS)) or is there room in the market for multiple charger types? As of July 2023 there were over 45,000 charge points across the UK, representing a 40% increase over 2022. This pace needs to continue and increase, with particular focus on destination and street charging for those without driveways. CCS is now considered to be the standard charge method, the addition of other standards will only lead to confusion for consumers. While my current vehicle has a CHADEMO standard connector I am fully aware that this standard will become obsolete in time.

22. The Government recently published the draft legislation of “Public Charge Point Regulations 2023”. What assessment have you made of the draft legislation text, and what contribution will it make in ensuring the charging experience is standardized and reliable for consumers? This legislation is a very positive step in ensuring reliability in our charging network.

23. What assessment do you make of the requirements set out in the draft legislation of “Public Charge Point Regulations 2023” for charge point operators to make data free and publicly available, and how may this improve the EV charging experience for consumers? It will allow consumers to know when a charger is working and have confidence that when they arrive at a charger, they will be able to use it.

24. In terms of charging infrastructure, are there unique barriers facing consumers in areas of low affluence and/or multi-occupancy buildings, such as shared housing or high-rise flats? Do you consider public EV charging points to be accessible and equitable compared to home-charging points? What can be done to improve accessibility and equitability? Easy access to destination charging in car parks of these buildings and street parking needs to be ensured in these places. I believe only government support/legislation can ensure this.

25. Is there a financial benefit to the consumer of choosing an EV over an ICE vehicle? Are there further benefits, aside from financial, that a consumer may gain from EV use? Reduced running costs and maintenance costs and currently, reduced road tax costs.

National and regional issues

29. What are the challenges or concerns around grid capacity in relation to significantly increased EV adoption? The National Grid project director has previously stated that grid capacity would need to increase by around 10% to facilitate the transition to EVS and is confident that this is doable given the projected role of renewables in our future supply.

International perspectives

34. What are the successful approaches to the rollout and uptake of EVs in other countries, and what can the UK learn from these cases? The United States and Scandinavian countries are experiencing greater uptake of EVs due to the introduction of tax breaks/rebates, scrappage schemes and subsidies to enable easier access to new and used EVS.