In this week’s electric vehicle (EV) roundup, the news was dominated by the government’s decision to delay the ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2035, which many companies felt sent an inconsistent message to investors and drivers.
Other news from the EV sector includes, Motor Fuel Group (MFG) has installed its 500th ultra-rapid chargepoint, Ireland’s EasyGo has appointed Techniche to help maintain its network of EV chargers, Fastned has launched its second charging site in the South West of England, and expense payment company Allstar has launched EV payment software Chargepass.
Automotive industry rallies against gov decision to delay ICE car ban
UK EV companies have been expressing their concern at the delay announced to the phase out of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants to delay from 2030 to 2035.
Ashley Tate, managing director of Allstar Chargepass, whose launch is covered below, said: “The car industry appears to be rallying against the Government, and we understand why. The lack of certainty is unsettling for businesses, but will it really change the course of the transition? We don’t think so. The shift to EVs is happening whether we like it or not – there will be lots of twists and turns ahead, not to mention the upcoming general election next year. But none of this will deter the industry”.
Nick Woolley, chief executive of ev.energy, added: “Rishi Sunak has condemned the UK public to release a minimum of 10 million additional metric tonnes of carbon into our atmosphere with the announcement of the ICE ban pushback [see below].”
“Scrapping the 2030 target puts more money in the coffers of oil companies and increases costs for the motoring public. To decarbonise, we need to accelerate the transition everywhere, all at once – extending the life of fossil fuels in vehicles by 5 years is completely the wrong approach.”
“The great thing about EVs is they help us accelerate faster, integrating more renewable energy – as they can be used as flexible demand, matching the intermittencies of wind and solar. Powering EVs with wind and solar is also cheap, saving drivers hundreds of pounds a year, and if employed at scale, would help save an additional 2 million metric tonnes of carbon being released into the atmosphere,” he added.
Meanwhile, motorway services operator Moto called the policy u-turn “inconsequential to its goals on the rollout of ultra-rapid EV chargers”, and called on the government to reduce barriers to entry for drivers adopting EVs by reinstating the Plug-in Car Grant for more affordable models and extend it to used EVs, scrapping the higher rate of VAT on public chargers, and introducing Vehicle Duty for electric cars in a slower and fairer way.
The chair of Ford UK also said the UK risked undermining the transition to EVs, and hinted that it could put future investments at risk.
“Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and consistency. A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three,” Ford UK chair Lisa Brankin said.
ChargeUK members are investing over £6 billion to 2030 to roll out EV infrastructure in all parts of the UK at an unprecedented rate. Our sector needs certainty in the form of a firm commitment to a strong zero emissions vehicle mandate.— ChargeUK (@ChargeUK_) September 20, 2023
On September 21, the Financial Times revealed that companies selling cars in the UK still face an EV mandate, meaning they must sell 22% electric vehicles in 2024, and 80% by 2030, meaning they will only be allowed to sell 20% ICE cars between 2030-2035.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said they were told on 18 September that the 2030 deadline was still in place. Responding to the news, Hawes said that “The automotive industry’s commitment to a zero-emission new car and van market remains unchanged. Net Zero cannot be achieved without this sector’s decarbonisation.”
“Today’s announcement must be backed up with a package of attractive incentives and measures to accelerate charging infrastructure to give consumers the confidence to switch. Carrots move markets faster than sticks.”
MFG installs 500 ultra-rapid electric vehicle chargepoints
Forecourt operator MFG has announced that it has passed the milestone of 500 ultra-rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints installed in the UK.
MFG has said it has around 900 chargepoints in total and is one of the largest networks in the UK, with 5.4% of the ultra rapid UK public charging network.
MFG launched its chargepoint rollout in March 2021, and plans to install a total of “c.3,000 Ultra-Rapid 150kW, 300kW and 400kW EV Chargers at c.500 sites by the end of 2030”, according to the company. The rollout is planned for completion in 2035, the date at which the UK hopes to fully decarbonise its electricity grid.
We are delighted to announce that we have installed over 500 EV chargers across our network! By 2030, we’re aiming to have chargers at over 500 separate sites nationwide and over 3000 ultra-rapid chargers across our network.— MFG (@MotorFuelGroup) September 19, 2023
Read more: https://t.co/FjBt5jb1SU#EV #EVCharging pic.twitter.com/axkj6jnDpL
MFG’s 500 ultra-rapid chargers are spread across 112 hubs throughout the UK, which the company said is “by far the highest rollout in the independent forecourt sector.” The company is committing around £400 million investment in ultra-rapid 150kW, 300kW and 400kW EV Chargers.
MFG has installed 230 Ultra-Rapid EV chargers at 59 locations across its network in 2023. The company says that: “the velocity of MFG’s EV roll-out will continue to accelerate as MFG invests ahead of the curve, giving drivers who were contemplating purchasing an electric vehicle the confidence that they could travel as easily as with a petrol or hybrid vehicle.”
William Bannister, chief executive of MFG, added: “When we launched our EV roll-out in March 2021 we committed to investing ahead of the curve in ultra-rapid chargers. I am therefore delighted that we have already passed the 500 ultra-rapid charger milestone and we are well on the way to delivering the next 500. Not only are we rolling-out chargers at a rapid pace, we are also ensuring that the customer experience is of the highest quality both through the ease of use of our chargers but also through the upgrade of our retail offering. Our commitment to EV is unwavering and I look forward to the continued growth of our network as MFG meets the national EV infrastructure requirement.”
Melanie Shufflebotham, Co-founder & COO at Zapmap, said: “The network’s fast-paced rollout of eye-catching blue charging hubs is certainly impressive, and surpassing 500 chargers is a significant milestone. Importantly, it’s also a milestone that brings real benefits to electric car drivers up and down the UK. Safe, reliable and easy to use, we know that MFG charging locations are well received by drivers because MFG came joint-first in Zapmap’s latest annual EV charging survey.
“Zapmap is proud to partner with MFG EV Power, a network that brings fast, clean energy to electric car drivers across the country, and one that makes paying for charging that much easier with Zapmap’s cross-network payment solution.”
Ireland’s EasyGo selects Techniche EV to automate chargepoint maintenance
Ireland’s EasyGo has appointed Techniche to help maintain its network of EV chargers.
EasyGo will use the Techniche EV software to automate the maintenance and support the monitoring of its network of chargers, which the company says is “now the largest privately-owned charging network, with coverage across the island of Ireland.”
The company manages over 4,275 charging points across 1,500 locations and is the EV charging partner for both private and enterprise customers such as Lidl and Volvo.
“We are on a mission to decarbonise transport by investing in and expanding the EV charging infrastructure. As such, we need a solution to help us automate the maintenance and monitoring of our rapidly expanding network of chargers. This partnership will bring the operational excellence of the fuel retail industry to our business, ensuring our customers have access to the highest standard of EV charging facilities,” said Chris Kelly, co-founder and technical director of EasyGo.
“Techniche has many years’ experience working with the petroleum retail industry, helping fuel and convenience customers manage the maintenance of their critical assets and improve the reliability of fuel retail infrastructure,” Kelly added.
Karl Jacoby, chief executive of Techniche commented: “EasyGo can now create work orders by pulling error codes and other asset data directly from its charge point management software into the Techniche EV product. This removes the need for manual intervention when faults occur, speeding up the time to repair, improving the charging experience for EV drivers.”
“Additionally, by capturing and recording asset data from the chargers, EasyGo will gather a detailed history of the chargers they operate, allowing them to analyse the performance and cost-effectiveness of different brands and models,” Jacoby added.
Fastned adds second ultra rapid hub in the South West
After recently launching its first charging infrastructure in the South West of England with an ultra rapid hub at Melksham, Fastnet has announced a second site in the region.
The site will serve EV drivers in Swindon, Wiltshire, with four charging bays offering 300kW rapid charging at Barnfield Close, near to the B4006.
The company said that the site is capable of expanding to up to ten charging bays in the future.
Tom Hurst, UK country manager for Fastned said: “Drivers living in and visiting Swindon can now benefit from the UK’s best-rated EV charging station. This is our second site in the region and we look forward to welcoming drivers to our highly visible, easy-to-use ultra rapid charging site”.
Can’t get enough of the UK!— Fastned (@Fastned) September 15, 2023
Disco Ball ON for Barnifeld Close 🇬🇧
You can find us in the Travelodge Hotel & Starbucks car park at Swindon with 4 charging spots of up to 300kW of charging power 💪 pic.twitter.com/nfH9cDOwGK
Fastned now has 17 stations in the UK, with two in the South West. The new Swindon station features Fastned’s “wing” lighting columns that help EV drivers to locate the site and navigate visually.
Councillor Jim Robbins, leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “Changing how we travel is a critical part of addressing climate change and a rapid transition away from using fossil fuels. More cycling, walking and cleaner forms of transport including electric vehicles are all part of the answer.”
“It’s positive to see the commercial sector invest in solutions in Swindon, such as this initiative by Fastned to create an ultra-rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging station. It also supports our Mission as a council to Achieve Net Zero, working with communities to find new ways of doing things that help, not hinder, the natural environment.”
Allstar launches ‘Chargepass’ EV payment solution
Business expense payment company Allstar has launched EV payment software Chargepass after acquiring the startup Mina.
Former Mina founder and chief executive, Ashley Tate, has also been appointed as managing director to lead Allstar Chargepass after Mina was acquired by Allstar’s parent company Fleetcor.
The merger will see both companies combine their expertise to offer a range of EV charging payment solutions under the Allstar Chargepass name.
Allstar Chargepass will offer fleet and business EVs the ability to charge at home and on the road, offering customers a single monthly invoice.
🚨Mina aligns with @AllstarFuelCard 🚨— Mina (@EV_Mina) September 18, 2023
Through joining the two businesses we will unite our efforts by blending the ingenuity of a startup with the market-leading capabilities of Allstar to offer EV charging payment solutions under Allstar Chargepass® 👇https://t.co/oUJ0KxzZJz pic.twitter.com/9I8VeZBa7M
The merger will allow drivers to avoid upfront EV charging costs and flat rate schemes and the software will mean that EV charging costs consumed at home can be paid accurately and directly to each employee’s energy supplier.
Allstar Chargepass will give businesses tools to manage their electric vehicle fleets. With features like ‘multi-electric vehicle mode’, companies can prevent charging fraud and improve charging transparency, Allstar said. Data about carbon intensity and emissions, cost per kWh, location, and duration of each charge also help inform fleet management decision-making, and support businesses with their sustainability efforts.
Tom Rowlands, managing director of global EV solutions at Fleetcor, added: “With the transition to EV vehicles fully underway both at home and in businesses, Allstar is launching Allstar Chargepass to provide a holistic solution that can accommodate EV and mixed fuel fleets under one simple invoice. Unifying with Mina and the arrival of Chargepass brings a new era of ease for fleets as they increasingly continue to look to adopt electric vehicles, and we’re excited to see where this journey will take us.”
Ashley Tate, MD, Allstar Chargepass UK commented: “Since the acquisition of Mina by Fleetcor earlier this year, we’ve been working tirelessly to bring a solution to market that can combine the strengths of both fantastic businesses. Now with the launch of Allstar Chargepass here, I can confidently say we’ve managed to create that industry-leading solution that will allow fleets to streamline their transition to electric, no matter how big or small.”