The electric vehicle (EV) industry celebrated incredible progress in 2017, averaging over 4,000 new registrations per month, and by December, over 132,000 units. Considering only 3,500 electric vehicles were registered in the entire year of 2013, the industry has witnessed significant growth over the past few years — with the popularity growth attributed to the developments in the industry that are slowly but surely overcoming the initial setbacks of electric vehicles.
Manufacturers are progressively working to rid the industry of their initial setbacks. The plan is to build more charging points across the country, whilst manufacturers continue working to improve battery life and mileage range. Nissan has recently launched its new Nissan Leaf with longer range and a one-pedal driving system. The new Leaf is said to be able to travel around 50% further on a single charge than previous models. The Nissan Leaf is already branded as one of the most popular all-electric motors with over 283,000 sold since the model launched in 2010 — only coming behind the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The new updates to the Leaf could push it up to the top spot, now it is able to travel further without needing to be charged.
Using just one pedal to drive is an innovative technology that could completely transform the driving experience. With just the press of a button, the accelerator can be transformed into an e-Pedal, which can function to start, accelerate, brake, and stop the vehicle. Whilst drivers can still choose to operate their vehicles with a separate accelerator and brake, the system, if used, will also provide added energy efficiency gains.
Here, Audi dealership, Vindis, explores what other developments the industry is experiencing and what effects they are having on it as a whole.
Quicker charging batteries
Electric batteries are not known for charging quickly — in fact, the fastest-charging battery takes up to 30 minutes to fully recharge and that is even at a rapid charging point. However, a solution could be on the horizon. New research, as reported on by the Express, suggests a solution to this problem. Researchers claim they could have developed an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that recharges an electric battery in the same time as it would take to fill a gas tank — a solution to the biggest headache of electric vehicles. This would revolutionise the EV industry, as battery life and its charge has been the biggest challenge for the sector. The new method is said to use fluid electrolytes to re-energise battery fluids — reducing the need for new infrastructure to support further recharging solutions.
An influx of charging points
A vital cog in the continuous progress of the electric vehicle industry is readily available charging points. And if popularity continues, an influx of points is exactly what is needed. By May 2017, there were more than 4,300 charging locations, with 6,700 charging devices and 12,500 connectors — but this will not be enough for the progressive demand. We will need to continue to build more charging points to fill demand. And if we are to overcome the ongoing headache that is a full battery charging time of eight hours, we will need an influx of rapid charging points which can charge up to 80% of an electric battery in just 30 minutes, as opposed to slower charge points. Thanks to a multimillion pound deal with ChargePoint back in May 2017, InstaVolt are installing at least 3,000 rapid charging points across fuel station forecourts across the UK.
According to the National Grid, peak demand for electricity could increase by 50%, if and when the nation switches to EVs — but our infrastructure may not be able to cope with the demand as it stands, leading us to develop a new infrastructure. We might need it sooner than we think now that a new pan-European EV charging network has been announced, too. IONITY — set up by the BMW Group, Daimler, Ford, and the VW Group with Audi and Porsche — launched the network in early November 2017. Plans to work on 20 ultra-rapid charging points have already begun, with a target of 400 points across Europe by 2020. 2018 is forecast to see the network expand across more than 100 locations with the intentions of making long-distance EV travel easier.
As drivers are becoming more aware of the harmful emissions of their petrol and diesel automobiles, we can expect to continue to see significant developments within the EV industry to overcome some of its biggest headaches, and make EVs more appealing to drivers. If manufacturers can truly cut down the time it takes to recharge the battery, and develop batteries that can travel further, the industry could be revolutionised and experience an influx of drivers wanting to get their hands on an EV. Watch this space!