Friday, 17 February 2012

The truth about recharging infrastructure

Fleet World magazine in the UK reports on research conducted by Aurora Market Research into purchase intentions for electric vehicles.

The study revealed that 58% of respondents who said that they are planning to buy a new car over the next two years would consider "going electric."
This increased to over three quarters (77%) of those in the 25 – 34 year range and 81% of respondents who live in London. Londoners had by far the most positive response to the idea of owning an electric vehicle.
Despite recent press commentary about the slower than anticipated growth of consumer demand for electric vehicles over the last 12 months, future expectations within the automotive industry are very different. 29 new cars powered by electricity are about to come on the road from manufacturers such as BMW, Ford, Vauxhall, Renault and Volvo over the next 18 months.
The research was conducted on behalf of a charging infrastructure network company and not surprisingly, the reason given as the main barrier to purchase was the lack of recharging infrastructure.

As I now work in the infrastructure business, I would say beware of vested interests. True, more infrastructure is required, but not the kind that is being put in currently (public access fast charging) and not using the current business model (pay £90 to register, pay another £10 per month for access, pay another 95p every time you recharge).

Here is what I think:

Plug-in vehicle drivers will charge where they have guaranteed access and at the lowest cost of energy – which means mostly at home and at work.

In public places, drivers want to recharge their plug-in vehicle in the same way that they refuel their conventional vehicle today at a petrol station – i.e. open access, pay to use - without membership schemes and without additional charges for access or parking.

In public places, drivers will seek out DC rapid charging for longer journeys and ‘distress recharging’, most likely at service stations (when the market is mature enough to warrant the investment), for which they will expect to pay a premium on the energy cost.

Drivers do not expect to pay for parking or normal / fast charging in retail parks competing for customer traffic.

Drivers do expect to pay to park and charge in residential on-street CPZs and long stay car parks e.g. Park and ride, railway stations, airports.