Opinion: Rush To EV Future Must Not Stifle Innovation

Some interesting thoughts on electric cars and battery tech here. We must not assume that one type of fuel cell is a panacea to all transport problems. updated with comment from the BVLRA and RAC below as well.

As the UK Government prepares to bring forward a complete ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030, former CEO of Aston Martin and one of the UK’s most experienced and well-known industry experts, Dr Andy Palmer has today welcomed this news as a step towards achieving a net zero carbon future and potentially reviving the UK’s automotive industry. He stated today, ‘investment in pioneering battery technology could offer the key to saving Britain’s car industry from decline.’

Dr Palmer, who in October this year joined InoBat Auto, a European electric vehicle battery producer that has developed the world’s first ‘intelligent’ battery, produced through a combination of AI and High Throughput technology, continues:

“If the UK is not investing in batteries and pioneering battery technology, then ultimately Britain’s car industry will decline. Creating an environment where engineers are innovating through competition is Britain’s opportunity to become a global leader in zero carbon transport.”

However, Dr Palmer has warned of the potential risk of interference in the bid for net zero emissions:

“Governments’ should define the problem and let engineers innovate the solution. Too many are putting in place legislation that picks a technology winner. Those that discourage Darwinism within technology run the risk of losing out on that all-important first mover advantage.”

Dr Palmer continues: “I was excited to join InoBat as their Non-Executive Vice Chairman because they are leading the charge to electrification by prioritising ground-breaking technology to create the best batteries for all types of electric vehicles. Innovative technology offers a way forward for Britain to catch up with China, the USA and Europe in the race for the decarbonisation of transport.”

Instrumental in bringing the first modern day EV, the Nissan LEAF, to market, Dr Andy Palmer was also responsible for building the UK’s first electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in 2009. Palmer is now set to bring his expertise to help InoBat realise their vision for a Gigafactory to be built in 2024 in Slovakia to serve the European market at scale.

InoBat’s patented technology led-approach which combines AI and HTP technology, means that the company’s road to discovery for new battery chemistries is 5-10 times faster compared to that of a traditional lab. InoBat’s first physical battery, which promises an almost 20% increase in operational range for current best-in-class electric vehicles’ is already outperforming its competition. The company’s Co-Founder and CEO, Marian Bocek stated in October that, “no other battery cell maker has the technology to discover and develop battery chemistries as quickly as InoBat.”

For more information, visit https://inobatauto.eu/

BVLRA Comment

The BVRLA has welcomed the Government’s decision in taking a phased approach to ending the sale of petrol and diesel car and vans but warns that setting dates is only the start of the process.

The association’s members own and operate over five million cars, vans and trucks and are responsible for around half of all new vehicle registrations. All of them are committed to decarbonising, but some face a much harder challenge than others. Many fleet operators are unable to source appropriate electric vehicles for their needs while others have a business model that struggles to absorb the additional cost and charging constraints of running EVs.

BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said, “2030 is an extremely aggressive phase-out target, but one that will be embraced by many drivers and fleet operators.

“The 2035 extension for plug-in and full hybrids provides an essential lifeline for those facing a greater zero-emission challenge. Vehicle rental companies and van fleet operators will be very relieved to have this additional breathing space but will need clarity on exactly what types of hybrid are in scope.

“Setting these phase-out dates is just the start of the journey, now the Government needs to create the supportive environment that will enable fleets and motorists to step up to the challenge of decarbonising road transport. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be cheap.”

The BVRLA believes that there are three support areas that the Government must focus on:

First, the Government needs to maintain a set of powerful tax incentives and grants that will drive demand across all segments of the UK fleet and retail automotive market. Research produced for the BVRLA by Cambridge Econometrics estimates that this stimulus package could cost up to £95bn.

Secondly, electric vehicles are in high demand across the globe. The Government must ensure that the UK remains an attractive market for OEMs to sell their products.

Finally, the UK needs a comprehensive strategy on charging infrastructure. This must include an adequate supply of affordable, accessible and reliable public charge points and incentives to unlock private sector investment. EV infrastructure rollout should not be held back by arguments about who pays for upgrading the local electricity network and how this work is prioritised. The Government has announced £1.3bn in funding to accelerate the roll-out of charge points across the UK, but recent research produced for the SMMT suggests that £16.7bn needs to be spent on public charging infrastructure alone.

RAC Comment

Reacting to the news that the Government is to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said:

“With the Government formally bringing forward the date for banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030, the car industry and those responsible for charging infrastructure now have an enormous task on their hands. Production lines that for decades have been set up to build cars powered with internal combustion engines will have to be transformed to allow manufacturers to profitably build a wider range of EV models in sufficient quantities. Meanwhile the country’s public charging network will need to grow exponentially to cater for the surge in EVs on the road.

“There’s also lots for consumers to get used to in order for them to feel confident about going electric. Running an EV is currently very different to a petrol or diesel car which can be refuelled in a matter of minutes, so those switching in the next few years face a big learning curve which involves different types of chargers, connectors and varying charging speeds.

“And while many EV drivers will charge at home and start with a ‘full tank’, this won’t be possible for everyone, particularly those without off-street parking. Right now running an EV requires a level of planning as charging generally takes significantly longer than a visit to a fuel forecourt. While the early EV adopters are motivated to cope with this, some drivers could find it daunting and inconvenient. Some of these problems will disappear as the average range of EVs increases, but it’s vital that the Government continues to invest in developing a fast, reliable and widely available network of chargers that support electric vehicle owners no matter what their circumstances or travel plans. Charging aside, EVs will also spell the end of the manual gearbox that so many drivers will have been used to.

“But for the time being the biggest barrier to going electric remains the comparatively high upfront vehicle cost, so we hope the Government’s announcement will pave the way to lower list prices, thereby accelerating take-up. This in turn will help lead to EVs being more readily available on the second-hand market which is where the majority of people choose to buy their vehicles.”

 

About alastair walker 4785 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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