David Mitchell explores the crucial role companies need to play in tackling consumer anxiety around electric vehicles and where more needs to be done
Covid has sparked a heightened sense of environmental awareness which bodes well for upcoming diesel and gasoline internal combustion bans planned by some markets. Yet while use is booming – electric vehicles accounted for 11.6% of new car sales in the UK in 2021 – the pandemic has created other, more intractable problems.
The hangover from major supply chain issues is creating lead times of up to 50 weeks for some parts, including automotive chips. Meanwhile, businesses of all sizes are just beginning to emerge from the crisis of survival mode, with renewed interest in overlooked EV lenses. Add to that fuel shortages and the cost of living crisis, and the result is that many consumers and businesses are hit by the boom. While the desire to go electric is there, consumers may be deterred by the rising cost of home EV charging and uncertainties about range.
There is, however, a countercurrent, namely a new cohort of EV gamers helping to tackle these pain points.
Being able to retain and reward EV talent in a fiercely competitive market will be crucial to meeting the challenges ahead
From Spotify to Audible to Netflix, consumers have grown accustomed to the easy-to-use, easy-to-remove subscription model. This translates into services such as Onto, which allows drivers to experience different EV models from a month at a time. Onto aims to make it as easy as possible for customers to switch to electric vehicles, without charging or service fees, in order to remove this basic fear of trying.
Other pioneers have their eyes on the other side of the coin: keeping pace with growing demand. The infrastructure in many markets is simply not robust enough to handle even the current peak in EV adoption. But companies like Zap-Map are paving the way for stronger interconnectivity. Zap-Map is tackling range anxiety with a platform that has mapped 95% of public spots on the UK charging network (its 300,000+ members also provide insights to fine-tune the product). It’s joined by Bonnet, a subscription platform that connects users to the estimated 40 UK charging networks in the UK and offers 24/7 support, to make the process more seamless and at affordable prices. competitive.
Bonnet is also working with the UK’s Rural Electric Mobility Enabler to tackle charging blackspots in less populated areas, including national parks. The latter counts in a category of real estate partners nationwide that will be essential to the development of the future fleet of electric vehicles and commercial capabilities.
With companies such as LEVC revolutionizing the iconic Black Cab market and ABB’s new Panion tool designed to enable the management of electric vehicle fleets, we now need to connect the dots when thinking about installing dedicated infrastructure for fleets in supermarkets or gas stations. In addition to commercially oversizing the potential of electric vehicles, this will also allow a trickle-down effect at all levels of the market.
When it comes to scaling up infrastructure, industry innovators would also benefit from keeping an eye on technological learnings in the luxury high-end electric vehicle landscape in areas such as Formula E and Formula E. space exploration.
The UK is currently in the process of freeing itself from pandemic cuts to catch up with the tidal wave of EV adoption. It is urgent to become aware of the magnitude of this obstacle to help overcome it. The same goes for intelligent solutions for fleet infrastructure. Being able to retain and reward EV talent in a fiercely competitive market will be crucial to meeting the challenges ahead.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.
David Mitchell is managing director of digital design and engineering consultancy Futurice UK
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