Written evidence from Mr David Willis (ELV0025)


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?

The replacement technologies are inferior to those that they are replacing. Limited range, a poor charging infrastructure and long charging times are major drawbacks. Few would buy the latest high definition TV if it was more expensive and only displayed in black and white !

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?

It comes down to a business decision for the user. Costs v benefits. The capital cost is significantly higher for the same vehicle if it is the electric model. Can it do the same as the cheaper model if not more ? I recently discovered that depreciation on my non luxury EV has been £1000 p.m over the last year – that’s incredibly expensive motoring.

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 original grants for purchase of vehicle and home charge point installation were a success. Imposing road tax is not helpful for encouraging uptake. The lack of open access to the charging networks (most require use of an app and an account to pay), the lack of additional charge points as uptake of EV’s have grown and the unreliability of the charge points. Charging costs (£ per kW) vary greatly.

4. Given that the Government should apply a behavioural lens to policy—which involves people making changes to their everyday lives, such as what they purchase and use—is there a role for clearer communication of the case for EVs from the Government? If so, who should take the lead on delivering that?

A car is a major purchase with a long term usage period for a private buyer. Seemingly random policy changes by local and national government make it very difficult to justify investment in a ‘new’ technology.

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

It is poor. Manufacturer’s quoted WLTP ranges are inaccurate. How difficult it is to access charging is never mentioned. Few garages can maintain the cars, body shops insist on changing the battery pack after an accident (Hyundai Kona battery pack costs £10200), insurance is higher due to higher costs for repairs, reliability (in my experience) is lower.

6. What are the overall environmental benefits that would result from achieving the 2030 and 2035 targets?

Very few. Given the population growth, and increasing numbers of consumers, the mitigations will at best stabilise the environment as it is now.

7. What are the likely costs that will be faced by consumers as a result of the Government’s phase-out dates for non-zero emissions vehicles? Are there policies or initiatives that the Government could use to specifically target barriers arising from unpredictable costs to the consumer, for example significant fluctuations in the cost of electricity, changes to road taxes, or the introduction of low emission zones?

Regulation of the charging network providers with open access via RFID credit or debit cards and 95% availability being requirements. There should be a limited price band for the cost per kW that the various providers have to price within. ICE cars should be fined for parking in charging bays.

EV Market and Acquiring an EV

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

8. What are the main routes for acquiring an EV? Which aspects of these routes are working well, and which aspects could be improved?

Private buyer via garage / dealership.

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

Availability and lack of demonstrator cars.

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

Nothing from government.

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?

I am deeply concerned regarding China dominating the EV market (London Taxis, electric buses and cars). Since the UK doesn’t make EV’s in great numbers we are importing cars made for countries with bigger roads. The larger batteries these vehicles use only negate the extra weight of the vehicle and do not increase the range. We don’t make cars because we cannot make steel given our current energy strategy. Renewables will not run many smelters.

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?

No one knows how they will be regulated, the costs associated with owning or running one etc.

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?

I paid £37000 for my EV 5 years ago, it is now worth £15000. The equivalent ICE version would have been £23000 new and would today be worth £13000. The economics of EV ownership don’t make sense. I’m trading it in for a Hybrid.

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

Company EV cars are being dumped back into the market and have seriously skewed the second hand values of EV’s

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?

Given that battery life is the big worry, ex company leased EV’s with high mileage are not appealing to private buyers. Dealers / manufacturers need offer battery warranties on second hand EV’s.

16. What is the value and role of alternative transport models such as car clubs and micro mobility vehicles in the Government achieving the 2030 phase out date, and how should the Government consider their roles and opportunities for use in transport decarbonisation?

Given governments record on recommending diesel cars (I bought one) and EV’s (I bought one) I don’t rate their recommendations. I wouldn’t believe any ‘advice’ from government.

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?

Yes EV insurance costs more. I am getting a refund when I change my EV for a hybrid. Repairers want to change EV batteries after an accident as a battery pack fire is a possibility – these cost over £10000. Insurers know that it is more cost effective to write an EV off than repair it after an accident. Until there are more trained and skilled EV technicians there will not be proper assessment procedures in place to assess battery packs. Government should be encouraging training of EV technicians.

Experience of using an EV

18. What are the main challenges that UK consumers face in their use of EVs?

Usable range and a reliable, easy to use, charging infrastructure.

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

After 5 years running an EV, and usually charging on my drive, I have concluded there are no great benefits other than not having to visit a petrol station for 5 minutes to fill up.

20. How prepared are car dealerships, service networks, repairs and maintenance organisations, breakdown services and aftermarket suppliers to meet the growing EV uptake?

Unfortunately I have discovered that the AA are well prepared. The dealerships are very variable in being able to sort out issues and, given that an EV is run by software, glitches arise after a service after the software has been updated. My EV turned into the most unreliable car I have owned since 1977.

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?

Standardisation is sensible however there will need to be charge points for legacy EV’s that do not use CCS.

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?

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?

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?

On street charge points should have adjacent designated EV only bays that can only be used when an EV is actually charging.

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?

Road tax is being introduced, reduced cost parking has been withdrawn, charging costs have increased, grants have been withdrawn, depreciation is very high, insurance costs more, tyres are more expensive, range is limited, charging away from home is a nightmare – I don’t see much benefit these days hence my return to a hybrid ICE after 5 years.

End of life disposal of EVs

26. What options are there for consumers for end-of-life management of batteries and EVs, and what impact does this have on consumer attitudes towards buying an EV?

I suspect the consumer may have an unexpected disposal cost if the EV battery pack is end of life.

27. What are the current regulations and responsibilities of disposal and recycling for EVs, and how effective are they? How much of the battery can be recycled from a technical standpoint, and how much of that is economically feasible?

28. Is there a risk that the residual value of EVs may be lower than the value of the EV as a source of recoverable critical minerals, and how might this effect the flow of EVs into the second-hand market?

A very high risk if there is a good battery recycling industry.

National and regional issues

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

30. What is the role of distribution network operators in ensuring EV infrastructure can be rolled out sufficiently to meet 2030 target?

31. What are the requirements, challenges or opportunities for the development of public charge point delivery across the UK? How will the development of EV charging infrastructure in the UK interact with existing planning regulations?

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

I have found the charge point networks to be poor outside of cities and away from major trunk routes. Friends in the countryside are clear that they would not consider an EV and that with no public transport they need a car.

33. What role do you see local authorities playing in the delivering the 2030 phase out target, particularly in relation to planning regulations, charge points and working with District Network Operators? How can government best support local authorities in their roles?

I worry that local authorities are poor at deciding what is practical for the majority and are more likely to respond to demands made by small (but loud) groups who take over Meta / X etc. We need a clear, long term, national strategy from government so that consumers can invest with some confidence.

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?

Norway has cheap available energy and has invested in a comprehensive charge point network. We need to build our economy and this requires cheap energy to enable manufacturing for home consumption and export. Once the country is making money we can then invest in building a greener economy. Currently we are seeing UK capital leave our economy to buy foreign EV’s, foreign wind turbines, foreign nuclear power stations, foreign solar panels. We may end up being green however we will be poor and have an economy with no ability to grow and be sustainable. I believe the priorities are the wrong way around, economy first then invest in going green.