New partnership to boost electric uptake

The AA has partnered with a provider of charging point and services to accelerate the uptake of electric cars.

In a bid to help drivers make the most of the EV revolution and cut motoring costs, the AA has teamed up with Chargemaster to provide advice, support and access to a UK-wide network of chargers.

The first of its kind in the UK, the new partnership will deliver a range of benefits, including bespoke home charging units, access to thousands of charging points and preferential charging rates.

Edmund King OBE, AA president, said, ‘We think that the EV revolution is about to take off and we want to help consumers understand the benefits of low cost, low emission driving and to show them it is accessible and affordable. Per mile driven an EV is five times cheaper than the average petrol car and carries no vehicle excise duty.

‘Modern electric vehicle designs and performance are comparable to conventional internal combustion-powered vehicles. Concerns and regulations about diesel emissions may also prove to be a tipping point.

‘Sales of new ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEV) doubled over the last year. And 63,000 drivers have taken advantage of the plug-in car grant. We expect the market to grow substantially, as buyers overcome their misconceptions.

‘The vast number of car journeys are under 25 miles and a third of households have two or more cars. Hence, we estimate that more than two million second cars could be electric tomorrow, with no disadvantages and many cost-saving benefits.’

The partnership is a reaction to AA research predicting there will be more than 500,000 electric and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2020. However, it believes that rate could increase once drivers overcome myths and misconceptions about electric cars.

Among the most common misconceptions, according to the AA, is the high purchase price with 82% of respondents to an AA Populus poll citing that as reason for their reluctance to go electric.

However, the AA says government grants are available to motorists of up to £4,500 off the list price of a new EV, while many plug in hybrids are already priced at a very similar price to the equivalent diesel.

The lack of charging points was a concern for 81% of respondents, but the AA says there are more than 4,000 publically accessible charge points available in the UK through Chargemaster’s POLAR network alone and a further 500 will be added in 2016.

Nearly 70% of respondents were also concerned about the time to offset higher purchase price through fuel and taxation savings. The AA says it can cost as little at 2p per mile to power an EV, while drivers pay no vehicle excise duty (VED) or congestion charge in London. Fleet drivers also benefit from Benefit in Kind (BiK) savings, meaning motorists stand to save significantly.

Battery durability and range were also among the top five concerns of motorists.

The AA says batteries in older EVs are aging much better than engineers had ever predicted, while many EV car manufacturers are now providing battery warrantees of around eight years.

Regarding range, it added that national statistics show that 95% of car journeys are under 25 miles while 32% of UK households have two or more cars. Increasingly, new EVs coming on to the market have an extended battery range. Within two years it is expected that the norm will be around 200 miles on a single charge.