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WITH a move towards electrification of vehicles by 2035 we are only a few lease cycles away from saying goodbye to petrol and diesel.

As we emerge from lockdown, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that fully electric vehicles are the only vehicle segment growing in the UK.

With restrictions beginning to ease, electric vehicle registrations rose by 21.5% in May compared to the previous year, and now account for 4.3% of the UK new car market.

So, what has been happening in terms of electrification over the past three months?

Here’s a run-down starting with the latest news announced today:

Networks

Engenie, one of the UK’s largest rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging networks, has announced a partnership with retail landlord, Brookhouse Group, to install rapid EV chargers across 10 UK retail parks.

The partnership, the largest of its kind in the UK, is already opening up rapid destination charging to customers visiting major retail brands such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Argos, Next, Aldi, and Marks and Spencer.

Annually, over 18m vehicles typically visit Brookhouse’s retail sites across the UK.

The full rollout will see a total of 17 Engenie rapid chargers installed across the 10 sites throughout the UK.

Seven charging sites, hosting a total of 13 rapid chargers, are already open to the public, with the remaining three sites expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Western Power Distribution (WPD), in partnership with CrowdCharge, has launched the next phase of Electric Nation with a new Vehicle to Grid (V2G) trial across the Midlands, South West and South Wales.

The electric vehicle trial is opening up recruitment for domestic V2G users by offering the free installation of smart chargers worth £5,500 to Nissan electric vehicle (EV) drivers who live in the three regions.

The rapid growth in the numbers of electric vehicles on our roads will mean more demand on local electricity networks if EVs are all plugged in at the same time, such as during the peak between 5pm and 7pm in the evening.

Smart charging, which allows management of the time when EV charging occurs – as trialled by the original Electric Nation project – will help to avoid this situation.

However, V2G charging will be more effective than smart charging. This is due to the ability to link EVs together and put significant levels of energy back into the grid at peak times, like a huge decentralised power station.

This will help to reduce the grid’s need for additional energy generation, either through fossil fuels or renewable energy, at peak times. V2G charging will help to transform EVs from being seen as a challenge in relation to grid capacity issues to being a solution as an additional source of energy.

To undertake the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project, CrowdCharge is recruiting 100 people to trial state-of-the-art domestic V2G smart charging to help Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) and others to understand how V2G charging could work with their electricity networks.

Although the application process for the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project is now open, the timescale for charger installations is subject to confirmation based on government advice in relation to COVID-19.

Electric Nation is different to other V2G projects because it is using up to five different energy suppliers instead of just one. This means that the trial is a more realistic simulation of a future world in which many streets will have a number of EVs using V2G chargers operated by different energy suppliers.

In the Electric Nation trial each supplier will use their chargers to test their various energy services utilising CrowdCharge’s demand management charger platform, which provides optimised charging sessions.

The V2G trial follows the first Electric Nation trial from 2018/19 which at the time was the world’s largest EV smart charging trial, providing real life insight into people’s habits when charging their vehicle.

The trial provided data from more than two million hours of car charging, revealing the user habits on timings of charge, where and for how long, as well as the impact of different tariffs.

By plugging in at specified times and putting energy back into the grid, active participants of the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project are expected to earn a minimum reward up to the monetary value of £120, available over the one-year trial period from March 2021 to March 2022. Recruitment will take place from June 2020.

Trial applicants must be resident in the Western Power Distribution (WPD) licence area (Midlands, South West and South Wales), have a Nissan EV with a battery capacity of at least 30kWh or more, need to have the vehicle until the end of the trial (March 2022) and must have off-road parking.

Hyundai

Hyundai Motor UK has confirmed the supply of thousands of electric vehicles this year as it aims to become one of the nation’s largest providers of electric cars.

It said demand remains strong among fleet customers especially for Hyundai’s long range zero emission models and this increased availability will provide fleets and leasing companies with the confidence to market these products to their drivers and customers.

Hyundai currently offers the zero emission NEXO fuel cell electric vehicle, Kona Hybrid, the Kona Electric with a maximum 278 mile range, IONIQ Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid and the 194 mile range Ioniq Electric along with the 48V hybrid Tucson models. 

By the end of the year, three quarters of the entire Hyundai range will be electrified, with the addition of new 48V mild hybrid i20 and i30 alongside Hybrid & Plug-In Hybrid Santa Fe – and there is more to come.

Hyundai already offers the broadest range of electrified powertrains in the industry and now with increased supply and no waiting time, on top of the enormous cost saving benefits of electric vehicles to fleet buyers, it will ensure that low and zero emission motoring will be more accessible to company car buyers and managers than ever before. 

Throughout lockdown, Hyundai’s Fleet team – which remained fully operational thanks to the Company’s decision not to seek government support or to furlough staff – worked closely with end users and fleet leasing companies who were using this period as an opportunity to review fleet policies and in many cases moving to Whole Life Cost methods and ultra-low emission vehicles. 

In total, 125 new fleet policies have been signed, with a broad spectrum of new and high profile customers turning to the brand. 

The team was also able to provide support to existing fleet customers, some of whom were hit hard, by accommodating cancelled orders and delayed deliveries as well as arranging special dealer deliveries where it was necessary to keep key workers moving.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz EQC customers now can get access to EV charging network. Polar, operated by BP Chargemaster through one optional subscription, via Mercedes me Charge.

A three-year subscription to Mercedes me Charge comes as standard with the EQC, and due to the unique cooperation between Mercedes-Benz Cars UK and BP Chargemaster,

Mercedes me Charge customers in the UK can upgrade their basic plan to have access to a Polar Plus membership (6 months subscription free). This membership provides the driver with a lower cost electricity tariff than on the basic option.

The EQC’s route-optimised navigation system calculates and directs drivers to their nearest Mercedes me charge points, taking into account the remaining electric range.

Ford

Ford is adding a new electrified option to the Fiesta Van line-up with an EcoBoost Hybrid model that introduces intelligent mild hybrid technology for the company’s compact van customers.

FiestaVanEcoBoostHybridfurtherexpandsFordselectrifiedCVrangeAvailable to order from August, the Hybrid model is powered by Ford’s advanced 48-volt EcoBoost Hybrid powertrain.

The new Fiesta Van variant is designed to deliver responsive petrol engine performance and reduced cost of ownership for urban hatchback van owners and operators.

The Fiesta Van Hybrid is also designed to allow continued access to areas restricting or banning diesel vehicles. The mild hybrid system does not compromise Fiesta Van’s 1.0m³ load area in any dimension and the payload is 531kg.

Fiat

The New 500 ‘la Prima’ hatchback EV has made its debut and its £26,995 pricetage includes the the fitment of the easyWallbox.

Its lithium-ion batteries, with a capacity of 42kWh, give the New 500 a range of up to 199 miles in the WLTP cycle. To optimise charging time, the New 500 is equipped with an 85kW fast charge system.

New500HB15It takes only five minutes to build up a sufficient energy reserve to travel 30 miles, more than the average daily commute. Using a fast charger can also power the battery to 80% in just 35 minutes. The Combo 2 socket, located on the rear right side panel of the car, has the ability to accept both AC and DC charging.

The easyWallbox is a home charging system that can simply be connected to a normal home outlet. ENGIE EPS developed the solution exclusively for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

It’s a simple, accessible ‘plug-and-charge’ solution can be managed easily via Bluetooth. It can stabilise energy load by charging a 500 at home with up to 3kW of charging power, without the need for professional installation.

The easyWallbox can be upgraded to 7.4kW, providing a full charge at home in just over six hours. The New 500 also comes with a Mode 3 cable for charging at up to 11kW from a public charge point.

Audi

Audi has a new solution for executive class drivers who have financial and environmental considerations increasingly at front of mind, but who don’t want driving enjoyment to take a back seat.

The new Audi A6 50 TFSI e plug-in hybrid delivers on both fronts, supplying 299PS via quattro drive for performance while suppressing fuel consumption and CO2 output through extensive electric-only driving range capability.

A1914174 largeThe 2.0 TFSI petrol engine and powerful 105kW electric motor is available to order in the UK now in Saloon form, with an Avant version to follow later.

The TFSI e has a very competitive taxation position of as little as 10% BIK for company car drivers and no VED in the first year.

Charging is possible at public charging points with an output of up to 7.4 kW, in which case the recharge process can be completed in upwards of 2.5 hours.

Vauxhall

The new Mokka is the start of a new direction for the Vauxhall Brand. A bold new design with elements like Vauxhall Vizor and Pure Panel that will become part of signature look for future models.

It also encompasses everything that Vauxhall will define in the future. Fully electric from launch and packed with innovative technologies bringing the best of automotive mobility to all.

Vauxhall 512185 1Vauxhall has also launched its electric Corsa-e with 50kWh battery providing a zero-emissions range of up to 209 miles from a single charge and supports up to 100kW rapid charging technology – allowing for an 80%  charge in as little as 30 minutes.

It comes with a free home charging wall box, and a six-month subscription to the Polar public charging network.

Through the MyVauxhall app, Corsa-e owners can check the charge status of their vehicle via their smartphone, pre-select charging times for their vehicle and even turn on the air conditioning remotely.

The Vauxhall Corsa-e is available now priced from £27,665 OTR, after the Plug-in Car Grant.

Vauxhall has continued the electrification of its product portfolio with the all-electric, flagship variant of the Vivaro Life multi-seat passenger car.

It has up to nine seats and available in two lengths, it also has the unique option of a trailer hitch enables the Vivaro-e Life to tow trailers with a maximum capacity of 1,000kg.

AXW0949With 100kW of power (136hp) and 260Nm of maximum torque from the electric propulsion system, the Vivaro e Life offers higher performance than most electric multi-purpose vehicles (MPV).

“Vauxhall Connect” e-services, numerous charging options: e-mobility made easy Charging the Vivaro-e Life is as easy as using it.

Via wall box, fast charging or even a cable for charging from a domestic plug socket if necessary, every Vivaro-e Life is ready for a variety of charging options.

The offer of cables and wall boxes varies according to the energy infrastructure of each market, ensuring that Vivaro-e Life customers can find and make use of a charging station almost anywhere.

Using 100kW of direct current (DC), it takes around only 30 minutes for the 50kWh battery to reach 80% state-of-charge. Vauxhall offers on-board chargers that ensure time spent plugged-in is as short as possible and that the battery (covered by an eight-year/100,000 mile warranty) has a long life.

The Vivaro-e Life features a single-phase 7.4kW on-board charger as standard, with a three-phase 11kW on-board charger available as an option.

“Vauxhall Connect”, the “myVauxhall” app and “Free2Move Services” – the mobility brand of Groupe PSA – offer special solutions for all Vauxhall electric vehicles, including the Vivaro-e Life. The services are accessible via apps.

The “Charge My Car” function from the “Free2Move Services” app enables access to more than 140,000 charging points throughout Europe, including payment.

To make it even easier for customers to choose the right charging point, the “Free2Move Services” app makes a preselection based on the distance to the charging point, the charging speed and the current charging price of the possible public charging options.

With the “Vauxhall Connect” e-remote control functions, customers can use their smartphones to check the battery’s state-of-charge or programme air conditioning and charging times.

In addition, the “Vauxhall Connect” portfolio ranges from eCall and breakdown calls to numerous other services, such as vehicle status and information. LIVE Navigation provides online traffic information in real time.

Dacia

Dacia has something a bit different, becoming the first manufacturer to offer LPG versions across the range, available direct from the factory

LPG sales are on the increase in Europe and already popular in many countries, costing around 50% less on average to refill than petrol.

LPG versions of Dacia Duster, Sandero and Logan MCV models are now available, badged TCe 100 Bi-Fuel

All use new 1.0-litre turbocharged dual-fuel powertrain, combining petrol and LPG capabilities and delivering superior torque in LPG mode

Customers benefit from choice of both LPG and petrol on the move, a combined range of more than 620 miles, as well as CO2 reductions in LPG mode

Emissions savings of up to 11% for the award-winning Duster, and 9% for the Sandero while owners can see an average of £594 savings on their annual fuel bill with the new dual-fuel system, or nearly £2,400 over a four-year PCP

Finally

Chris Black, Commercial Director, Leaseplan, said that it’s critical we preserve the improvement in air quality after lockdown.

“Lockdown has given us a taste of what a greener future could feel like and has prompted many to reconsider owning an electric vehicle.

“It has accelerated this mindset shift where people have appreciated less traffic noise and fewer, shorter journeys and would therefore actively make the switch to an electric car. Shorter journeys make for less range anxiety; a key concern affecting take up before lockdown.

They could even be seen as even safer than traditionally fuelled cars if you have a home charging port, as this will allow drivers to avoid the potential safety hazards associated with public fuelling stations.

Although it’s tempting to assume this will spark the EV revolution, practicalities must be considered.

Consumers have taken a financial battering from the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and appetite for spending maybe dented, not wanting to overreach on an expense like a new car.

 

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