Written evidence from Mr Malcolm Lisle (ELV0005)

I am a motorist who lives in Rotherham on the outskirts of Sheffield and has a limited income. I am taking part in this discussion because of my concern about the effects of the electric cars on people in outlying areas who have a low income and no off road parking.

2. Do the 2030 and 2035 phase-out dates serve their purpose to incentivise the development of an EV market in the UK? To what extent are car makers focusing on one date or the other? What are the impacts of the deadlines on the ability of the UK supply chain to benefit and how could the Government seek to further support the development of the UK EV industry? Would the introduction of a plan with key dates and timescales support the development of the EV industry in the UK?

The phase out dates are very ambitious. Electric cars make up 1.8% of the second hand car market and new cars are not much more popular. To fine car manufacturers for selling too few electric cars and too many petrol cars will have a devastating effect on the industry. Electric cars are likely to remain a minority product for many years, for all the reasons outlined below. Financial penalties should not be imposed on companies and quotas for the sale of electric cars should not be set.


5. What is your view on the accuracy of the information in the public domain relating to EVs and their usage?

The news often report huge increases in the number of electric cars being sold but these figures are only compared to the number of electric cars that sold the year before, not to the total number of cars being sold. It looks like a huge increase but in fact is less than 2% of the total number. Other news reporters are honest in their experiences, reporting a pleasant driving experience but real problems finding public chargers, for example.


9. What are the main consumer barriers to acquiring an EV, either through purchasing, leasing, or other routes?

The car batteries are cheaper than they were originally but still add an enormous amount to the cost of the electric car. This is the main barrier to affordability of electric cars. The cost is between £30,000 and £40,000 new and this is considerably more than the cost of an equivalent petrol car.



10. How is the Government helping to ensure that EVs are affordable and accessible for consumers, and are these approaches fit for purpose?

Government grants (now abolished) complicate the process of buying a car. Instead of having grants and schemes it would be much better not to have cut off dates in the 2030s but to wait until manufacturers can bring the price of the batteries down, as they are trying to do with improved materials for car batteries and manufacturing processes.


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?

The EVs sold in the UK are nearly all luxury vehicles. These are not good for the person who only has £20,000 to spend on a new car. We need to commit more resources to developing small, cheap, family electric cars.


12. What is the future role of L-segment and personal light electric vehicles, and how will that impact car ownership and usage? What is inhibiting their uptake?

Citroen recently produced a personal light electric vehicle, the Citroen Ami. The main problem with this is that it is too slow. It’s maximum speed of 27mph is frustrating when stuck behind one on a dual carriageway. This inhibits the uptake of these vehicles. A Citroen Ami capable of 60mph would be useful for the export market, saying as the original French was deliberately designed that way so that, under French law, the vehicle was classed as a bicycle and didn’t need a full driving licence. Perhaps another company could further develop the idea. For such cars to be practical they must be at least capable of travelling on a speed that would be considered safe on a motorway. Even if the vehicle was designed for local travel and other arrangements should be made for holidays, it is still necessary to drive down short stretches of dual carriageway, in Sheffield, where the maximum speed of the vehicle should be at least 50mph.





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?

The second hand electric car market is improving. I could buy a second hand electric car but this would not be as good as the petrol car I now have. For the same amount of money, I could only buy a much older car.


14. What is the relationship between EV leasing and the second-hand market and how do they interrelate?

The Nissan leasing process for the car battery was complicated (the customer didn’t have to pay £26,000 for the battery up front.) This makes it more difficult to buy a Nissan second hand, as most people would be confused by the leasing of the battery and how this worked. It also increases the cost of the car, so that this is considerably more than the advertised price. The lease for the battery has to be paid monthly as well as the advertised price of the car.


19. What are the main benefits that UK consumers could realise from using an EV?

A lot of people I’ve met like driving an electric car as it seems to be a less stressful driving experience. The cylinder engines and manual gearboxes of traditional British cars seem old fashioned by comparison to the simplicity of driving a car with an electric motor. City centres would also have less polluted air.


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?

It would be very helpful to have a standard charger as there may be considerable confusion having more than one charger type. Any electric car should be able to use a standard charger. The provision of chargers is too small in the UK. Every car park should have at least 2 chargers in case the other is in use. We are nowhere near this level of provision.



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?

I have lived in places where I had to park my car in the street, some considerable distance from my house. It would be very difficult to provide electric charging provision at random places in the street. In my new block of flats we have parking spaces with people’s door numbers painted on them. I have considered installing my own car charging equipment in my personal parking space. As many people as possible should be encouraged to have personal, numbered parking spaces with their own chargers. It is still necessary to have sufficient provision of public chargers where people could charge up if someone else has parked in their parking space (as does happen at our flats) or if they are using the car on holiday.



29. What are the challenges or concerns around grid capacity in relation to significantly increased EV adoption?

We need to increase the number of power stations to generate the necessary amount of electricity and to improve the national grid, which is not presently up to the standard required for electric cars. Electric car chargers are also useful for storage of large amounts of electricity. This has become a problem in this country due to the use of large amounts of renewables like solar power and wind farms. These produce excess electricity under good weather conditions and often need to be turned off, wasting electricity. Car chargers in car parks could store this surplus electricity in an accumulator and put it good use.


32. What are the issues facing rural residents, urban residents, and sub-urban residents and how do they differ?

Rural areas have problems with the provision of electricity. In Stannington (Sheffield) there were recently power cuts that were caused by a burst water main effecting the gas supply and the local council providing everyone with electric heaters. The electricity system in rural areas is not adequate and often uses 2 phase instead of a modern 3 phase system. People in some rural areas can not have heat pumps because of problems with the electricity grid. The electricity in rural areas needs to be considerably upgraded so that new initiatives like heat pumps and electric car chargers can be installed.