The UK government has today revealed that rail ticket prices across the UK will rise by well in excess of inflation and in some circumstances commuters will see a 9.1% increase in the cost of their rail travel. When you bear in mind that inflation is currently 3.1% this is an enormous increase, especially taking into account the current economic situation. There is speculation that ongoing increases in the cost of public transport will play into the hands of electric vehicle industry.
At this moment in time, a one-off increase of 9.1% looks fairly minimal but if you look back over the last few years and expect above inflation price increases in the future, there may be some benefits to looking at alternative modes of transport.
Electric vehicle efficiencies
The electric vehicle we see today is very different to that of five years ago and the electric vehicle we will see in five years time will be very different to the one we see today. Efficiencies in this technologically advanced sector continue to emerge on an ongoing basis whether in the form of more efficient batteries, more efficient drive systems, etc., which help create a more cost-effective mode of transport.
Quote from EletricForum.com : "There is speculation of an air aluminium battery pack which could give electric vehicles journey capacity in excess of 1000 miles. Would this make a real difference for you?"
There is ongoing speculation that the price (the headline price) of an electric vehicle will undercut that of its traditional gasoline/petrol counterpart in 2017. When you also take into account the potentially enormous fuel savings of the future, every increase in the cost of travelling on public transport could be yet another plus point for the EV sector.
EV sales in the UK
As we see across the world, electric vehicle sales in the UK are starting to pick up and while not increasing at the rate we see in the U.S. are expected to double in 2013 giving us reasons to be confident. The UK government is investing significant amounts of money into the electric vehicle industry, both directly and indirectly, and after today's news of a 9.1% increase in some rail tickets we can only assume this is at the expense of public transport.
It is difficult to justify a 9.1% increase in the cost of a rail ticket against the current economic climate, other modes of transport now available, and ongoing significant investment by the government behind the scenes. It is perhaps not common knowledge but an array of rail services in the UK are in fact subsidised by UK taxpayers, although these privately operated services now seem to require more direct taxpayer’s money!
It will be interesting to see whether this 9.1% increase in the cost of some rail tickets, with average increases well in excess of inflation, does have a positive impact upon the electric vehicle market. At a time when public transport was becoming more popular and more affordable, in many ways these ongoing inflation busting increases are turning the tables yet again. After decades of investment in public transport this could all be undone in a short space of time if increases continue to hit consumers in their pocket.