Volvo have recently announced that they will exclusively produce electric or hybrid cars from 2019. Their aim is to sell 1 million electric vehicles by 2025 – including plug-ins, hybrids and purely battery-powered cars. (source the Guardian).
It has long been believed that the electric car was the future. In 2015 the Guardian posted this article. It would seem over estimations were made about the number of electric cars that would be on the road. And the technology and infrastructure wasn’t in place to support them. So what’s changed, and are electric and hybrid cars really a more environmentally sound choice?
As electric cars run on batteries, they need charging. One concern has been the lack of charge points around the country – that as a whole the UK hasn’t been ready for the electric car revolution. But is that the case? A great website, Zap Map shows all the charging points around the UK which are being added to daily. According the website stats there are currently 13,041 connectors in the UK and these have gradually increased from 9,125 in February 2016 to nearly 12,000 in January 2017. So it would appear the UK electric car infrastructure is certainly improving. Volvo must feel confident enough in it to have made their announcement.
But with all this charging required, is there enough electricity? According to a report from the Green Alliance, the National Grid is not yet prepared for the surge in requirements from electric cars. Changes in Vehicle Excise Duty recently means that drivers may be more likely to purchase ultra-low emission vehicles in the future so the ability to provide electricity needs to be in place. And it would appear it is not yet in place.
Finally, what is the environmental impact? According to the EPA, transportation accounts for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions – not just cars. Trains, planes and ships all use petrol and diesel. But if the entire motoring industry followed Volvo’s suit it could certainly make a huge difference in emissions and demand for oil.
So with Volvo’s announcement it is likely other manufacturers will follow suit.