August Marks Start Of ‘Free’ Electric Vehicle Driving

The growth of Britain’s electric vehicle market has been substantial and despite some suggestions the government might be rowing back in previous pledges to roll out such vehicles by the start of the 2030s, the direction of travel is clear.

However, the pace of take-up may be hampered by a lack of provision of charging points in some areas, with the number being highly varied around the UK.

In some local authorities, especially in central London, the number is very high, with 1,052 per 100,000 people in the City of Westminster. By contrast, at Castle Point in Neighbouring Essex, it is just 3.3 per 100,000.

Part of the solution to that is for more engineers to be trained to install such infrastructure; anyone taking an electric car charging course will have the prospect of being able to enjoy years of plentiful employment as the take-up of such vehicles improves, especially in areas where current provision is low.

A key factor driving the take-up of electric vehicles is running costs. The Electric Car Scheme, a firm that helps motorists access government tax incentives to buy electric vehicles, has revealed that August 1st was the day when driving an electric car effectively became free in comparison to using petrol.

This date was calculated to be the ‘free day’ based on the comparative annual average running cost of a motorist driving 7,400 miles a year. This is £1,265 for petrol car drivers and £740 for electric vehicle owners.

Responding to the data, AA president Edmund King remarked: “The data is clear: It’s far more affordable to drive an electric car than one powered by petrol, or indeed diesel, and that difference is likely to grow in the next couple of years.”

This is in addition to March 8th being the crossover point when the carbon footprint of running a petrol car exceeds that of an electric vehicle in a whole year, the latter only having any carbon consumption from that part of Britain’s electricity that is generated using fossil fuels, mostly gas.

At a time when issues like the ULEZ controversy in London have been hitting the headlines, it will be particularly encouraging for the electric car sector to be able to point out that being greener does not have to come with a higher price tag.

What may help the case for greener motoring in London is the high number of chargers there. Other regions need to catch up, but there is evidence that this is now happening.

Official data shows that between April and June 2023, the number of charge points rose by 9.6 per cent across the UK as a whole. London actually saw the second smallest increase at 4.6 per cent (only Scotland with 1.7 per cent did worse), whereas the East of England saw a 26.1 per cent rise (This, of course, is the region that includes Castle Point).

Indeed, the top four increases were in regions that have previously lagged behind, the other three being Yorkshire and the Humber (up 22.8 per cent), the north-west (18.7 per cent) and Wales (15 per cent).

With such growth in charger installation, it is clear that there are many opportunities for trained electrical engineers across the country.