In a sign that electric cars are finally making it towards the mass market, there was an electric car rally in Cornwall this week. The event was organised to commemorate a number of green innovations by the UK government, not least the promise to cover 75% of the cost of installing new charging points.
The event saw over 40 "green" vehicles massing by Truro’s Lemon Quay, making their way across the county in a blaze of colour and noise. The 26 mile circuit brought them to the Cornwall Hotel in St Austell and the event has certainly caught the imagination of the UK motorists not to mention journalists.
Is there passion for electric vehicles in the UK?
While many will point out the procession of 40 vehicles as tiny, the fact is that any improvement in awareness of electric vehicles will very quickly spread across the motoring population. Once UK motorists see that more and more people are trusting of electric vehicles, the technology is improving and thankfully, as was commemorated today, the UK government is investing in charging stations, then this should be a positive signal for the future?
The fact that the 75% financial incentive is appropriate for charging stations installed at homes and public places across the UK should not be forgotten. Indeed, Nissan recently released a video which perfectly illustrated the ongoing development of the electric car charging network and compared this to the petrol station industry 80 years ago. Very often we are the first to throw the stones of doubt at the electric car industry when in fact it is developing much quicker than the petrol station network ever did in the early days.
Electric car charging stations
The vast majority of media coverage of electric car charging stations mentions anything up to 6 hours for a full charge, which is obviously not what the mass motoring public want to hear. The reality is that the new ABB Terra SC charging station can bring electric car battery system up from 30% to 80% in around 30 minutes, giving drivers the confidence to take on electric vehicles on a regular basis.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Last week saw an electric car rally in Cornwall to commemorate the UK government's promise to cover 75% of the cost of installing charging stations in public areas and private homes. Many hope this will kick-start the UK electric car market which has encountered some turbulence during the recent economic turmoil."
The race to create a charging network across the UK, and indeed across the world, began many years ago although until recently it was not seen as financially viable. There are all kinds of options available today, new companies entering the market and a variety of promotional and advertising income streams on offer. The UK government, and other governments around the world, have invested a significant amount of money into this particular venture. It will be interesting to see how quickly the network of charging stations builds and indeed whether the UK government's financial incentive continues for the medium term.
The technology now associated with electric car charging stations, and electric car batteries, has improved dramatically over the last couple of years. There is still much work to be done but this progress should not go unnoticed even if the stigma of years gone by still hovers over the industry.
It will be interesting to see how the UK electric car market develops in the short, medium and longer term but even relatively small rallies such as that seen in Cornwall over the last few days will help. This is a market which has been bursting to take off for many years, this is a market which has encountered a number of false dawns, but this is also a market which has recently attracted billions upon billions of dollars of investment. Quite simply, governments, companies and consumers cannot afford for the electric car market to fail.