The Week in Mobility News — 25th September
The Trouble with Charging
Smartphones need to be charged more frequently than Nokia 3210s. If there was only one socket per household, the strategic planning around when to charge your phone would no doubt be a constant cause of irritation. If you had to share that single socket with 308 others, the faff would likely convince you to stick with a Nokia 3210.
In the UK, 32% of homes don’t have access to off street parking, meaning if the Climate Fairy Godmother was to wave her wand and switch all vehicles in the UK to electric overnight, these households would be dependent on access to public charging points. With 34,171 public chargers today, this means approximately 308 vehicles per charger.
It is no wonder then, that availability of charge points remains one of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle adoption.
The trouble is, electric charge point deployment is often dependent on local government strategy, not the OEMs trying to convince consumers to purchase the vehicles. In the UK, there is great disparity between areas, Oxford has a meagre 8 public chargers compared to Milton Keynes’ 192. The Netherlands meanwhile is steaming ahead with almost 60,000 public chargers despite having a fifth of the cars in the UK.
However businesses are waking up to the revenue opportunities that installing charge points can offer. In Florida, it’s quite possible to own an electric vehicle without ever paying to charge it. ChargePoint for example, doesn’t pay to install charging stations. Instead they will generate cash from the electricity used once installed. Many malls in Florida pay for the installation and cover the electricity cost of charging as a means to attract more customers to their stores. VW meanwhile, have announced that the new ID4 will come with three years of free charging via Electrify America charge points (also owned by VW).
Technologies that are dependent on major investment in infrastructure are already creating new forms of inequality. During lockdown access to education was determined by access to the internet, exposing the vital need for companies and governments to install more internet lines. Whilst major tech companies know that investing in internet connections in Africa means unlocking opportunities enabled by a tech enabled society.
As the ban of ICE sales looms ever closer, innovative business models to incentivise mass installation of charge points are paramount. If we are serious about mass adoption of sustainable mobility we need to ensure that means enabling access and usability, as well as affordability.
Elsewhere in the industry
- Microsoft lands exclusive license to GPT-3 AI program
- Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to require all new cars sold in California to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035
- Human Horizons announced the rollout of its world-first Level 4 Autonomous Valet Parking (AVP) system on the HiPhi X production vehicle
- Airbus revealed its first zero emission commercial aircraft concept
- Hyundai Motor, KT, Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) and Hyundai Engineering & Construction will team up for air taxi service pilot projects
- VW ID4 sold out in a single day in the USA
- Ford plans to build 5 electric vehicle programmes in Canada from 2025
- Ahead of the Beijing Motor Show, Geely’s premium electric sub brand, Lynk & Co, revealed its first all-electric vehicle, the Zero Concept
- Canoo showed off its skateboard platform in the desert
- Renault Trucks to offer financing for e-trucks
- Amazon orders 10 Lion trucks
- Porsche unveils a mobile charging unit
AI planners in Minecraft could help machines design better cities. A competition to see which AI produces the best settlements in the game is helping to explore new techniques for urban planning
Have a wonderful weekend!
Imogen Pierce, Head of Experience Strategy, Arrival