Posted: 18 Jun. 2021 3 min. read

Electric cars: let’s look behind the buzz

Missed seeing new releases of The Green Room appear in your favourite podcast app? Fear not, after a little break planning some fantastic episodes for you, we're back with a bang, or should we say a buzz? Last week, we dropped a great episode all about electric vehicles. In fact, we found the topic so fascinating we built on this, and previous Deloitte research, and are now ready to share some interesting things we discovered in this post. (We weren’t car shopping and called it a day’s work – promise). Find out more below or listen to the actual episode – the choice is yours!

The main thing we learnt when looking into electric vehicles (EVs for ease)? If we’re to reduce emissions, meet the UK’s climate change targets and reach the forecasted 30+ million EVs worldwide in 2030, we’ll need to start driving electric vehicles sooner rather than later. Well, that’s all good in theory. But what about the reality?

Everything is currently a bit chicken and egg, though. The sale of new fossil fuel powered vehicles is banned after 2030. But for us to jump from petrol and diesel cars to zero-emission EVs, in significant numbers, some things need to change. Fortunately, they are. But what’s driving this change?

Two things; innovation and infrastructure.

The two are inextricably linked. Combined, they’ll create the positive environment, technologies and impetus to power mass switching to EVs.

Let’s take a drive through some wonderfully interesting things we discovered that we think you might like too. Buckle up…

Range anxiety relief

76% of UK households currently have a car and for millions of drivers to switch, the biggest barrier that needs smashing is range anxiety. Drivers of diesel cars are used to being able to fill up and drive anything up to 500 miles on a single tank, sometimes more. But stop and think about it. How often do you actually drive 250 miles without a break? More to the point, should you?

One thing that can increase range is the battery life and efficiency of EVs. Advances in lithium-ion cell technology are slowly extending range, however, some of the big car manufacturers are investing in new lithium-silicon and solid-state battery technology. These will improve performance, hold more energy, last longer and cost less.

Balance of power

Another interesting thing we came across is the idea of bi-directional charging. Just think, in a decade or so, there’ll be millions of extra power cells spread across the nation. EV batteries could be used as energy storage points that can balance and settle our renewable energy needs. This could put an end to dirty ‘peaker plants’ and inch us nearer to net zero.

Dump the pump?

Not so fast. Before we rip up forecourts and install multiple ultra-fast chargers, it’s worth considering green fuels that could be pumped into our existing combustion engines. Considerable investment is being made into developing e-fuels – carbon-neutral synthetic fuels that can run the vehicles we currently own. Could e-fuels be the stepping stone we need to going fully electric? 

Take a ride

Serious question... why drive when you can ride? Yes, we’re attached to our cars, but there are other ways you can get about independently. There are the obvious healthy options such as bikes and e-bikes. Then there are e-scooters, which are a hot topic of debate regarding their legality, but they’re carbon emission free and a fraction of the price of an EV.

And did you know you could always hail a fully driverless ‘Robotaxi’? These EVs offer the public rides in autonomous vehicles without drivers and are being trialled in numerous countries. It doesn’t stop there. In Amsterdam, they are testing autonomous electric ‘Roboats’ on canals. Closer to home in Cambridge, British autonomous vehicle company Aurrigo has started trials of its lightweight EV Auto-Shuttle service, involving three 10-seat autonomous shuttle vehicles. After you?

Powering change

Without access to power and charging points, EVs are pretty useless. That’s why the infrastructure is vital to the wholesale adoption of carbon emission free EV travel.

Charging times are the important numbers. Slow home charging can take several hours whereas ultra-rapid EV charging points can slash that just to 20-40 minutes – fully charged in the time it takes to have a coffee and stretch your legs.

Streets ahead

A third of UK drivers don’t have access to off-street parking, which makes charging at home a very real issue for millions. That’s why investment in infrastructure is so important. However, could on-street charging be the answer?

Following successful trials in London, Kingston Council, in partnership with JoJar Solar, is aiming to install EV charging points into 100 kerb side lamp posts to avoid hazardous cables trailing across pavements. How cool is that?

Charging lanes

Last fun fact. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to bother plugging into a charger – we’d just drive. Well, wireless EV charging is on the horizon that lets you charge your car when parked or on the move, without any cables.

Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) is a similar principle to wireless smartphone charging, but on a much grander scale. This could involve electrifying special ‘charge lanes’ on our busiest roads which you simply move into when you need to charge your EV’s battery. They could also be fitted at car parks to charge EVs when parked or at traffic lights while queuing.

So should your next car be electric?

Well, that’s the question we posed to guests in our recent episode of The Green Room podcast, which looks at everything from the cost of owning and living with an electric car to the effect 2030 will have on the motor industry and where we are compared with other countries. Happy listening!

Liked this post? There’s more where that came from. Visit our website to follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Soundcloud. We also share what it’s like behind the scenes in our blog, Inside The Green Room. And if you've got any feedback or a great suggestion for an episode then we'd love to hear it. See you in The Green Room.​

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Tiffany De Koninck

Tiffany De Koninck

Tiffany is one of the project leads for The Green Room by Deloitte. Get in touch if you'd like more information or if you have any questions.