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What can we expect from electric vehicles in the future?

By Amanda | 02-03-2018

In 2018, electric cars have become a very real proposition for car buyers. Five years ago, only 3500 electric cars were registered on UK roads, but by September 2017 this increased significantly to 170,000.

Many vehicles classed as 'electric' are actually Plug-in Hybrid vehicles known as PHEVs which house an electric battery working in conjunction with a petrol engine, decreasing running costs significantly, but as the need for all-electric vehicles increases their stats are predicted to rise.

What's evident is that sales of petrol and diesel cars are set to decrease, with the UK and France stating that these cars will be banned from 2040. Furthermore, experts have predicted that all new car sales in Europe could be electric from as early as 2035.

Based on the above statistics, what can we expect for the future of electric cars? We take a look below at four of the key predictions.

Choice of EVs will increase

This year, a number of car manufacturers are planning to launch new all-electric cars in order to keep up with competitors, so if you're thinking about buying or hiring a vehicle you'll have plenty of choice. Tesla's success was a catalyst for other major manufacturers to develop their own EVs and buyers can now choose from a wide range of cars to include the popular Renault Zoe, BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf. Furthermore, VW plans to introduce 80 new "electrified vehicles" to its range, to include 30 hybrids, by 2025, while Volvo has recently announced it will only launch PHEVs or all-electric cars from as early as next year.

Charging will become easier

One of the factors currently putting buyers off purchasing an all-electric car is the distinct lack of EV charging points across the UK currently available to the public. Owners of EVs have the freedom to charge their vehicles from the safety of their own home, but what happens when they need a top up while out on the road? In 2010, there were very few EV charging points, but following the UK government's Plugged in Places programme, which provided support to a number of regions in the UK to help them install the current charging infrastructure, there are now 112,500 public or semi-public charging points in Europe. Over the next few years, the government has said it will remain focussed in the build of more fast charge networks, with rapid chargers that could enable a 300km charge in 20 minutes being made available to the public as early as this year.

Battery life will increase

The cost of ion battery packs used to power most EVs has come down significantly over the last seven years, according to David Greenwood, head of advanced propulsion systems group VMG at Warwick University, with battery density also doubling in the last 15 years. This has enabled some of Tesla's EVs to reach ranges as high as 370 miles. At present, most EVs, particularly the more affordable ones, can only manage around 100-150 miles before needing a charge, which many buyers consider to be too low for their driving needs. New battery technology that's currently under development, aims to improve the range significantly to meet with consumer's expectations by the year 2020 onwards.

Government support will continue

Its predicted that support to EV buyers will continue over the next few years to encourage more people to make the switch to al electric vehicle and save some cash. Over the past 10 years, European governments have offered a range of incentives to encourage drivers to switch to EVs, to include the current government grant. The grant was set up in 2011 and offered buyers a maximum £5,000 off an electric car. This has since been reduced to £500 as the popularity of EVs grows, but it also runs in conjunction with the Homecharge scheme which allows buyers to get £500 towards the cost of installing a car charging point within their home.

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