UK poised to put pedal to the metal as opportunities abound for UK in turnaround of EV sales trends

Posted on 12 Apr 2024 by James Devonshire

The UK could place itself at the forefront of a global turnaround in EV sales trends by embracing five key upcoming developments, according to the latest Demand Report by the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC). 

Five major developments could see the UK accelerate itself into pole position as a global automotive leader in the journey to zero-emission vehicles:

  • Introduction of dedicated electric vehicle (EV) platforms,
  • Decreasing battery pack costs,
  • Adoption of integrated vehicle health management (IVHM) systems,
  • Improvements in design efficiency, and
  • A sustained push on charging infrastructure.

“Despite a slowdown in the global BEV sales recently, there are certainly reasons to be optimistic in the UK. APC have studied data from USA, Norway, Germany, China, Canada, and India with all having experienced a downward trend in BEV sales recently.

The UK has an opportunity to reverse the trends, instil consumer confidence in the industry, and supercharge the UK supply chain.” explained Dr Hadi Moztarzadeh, Head of Technology Trends, APC.

The most promising, and one which is already being implemented by many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is a switch to dedicated EV platforms, rather than the currently popular method of modifying ICE (internal combustion engine) model platforms to suit EVs. By having vehicles designed as EVs from the bottom up, OEMs will have greater flexibility to accommodate battery packs and be more efficient with space without the need for legacy engine compartments. This modification will have a positive impact on the overall cost reduction of BEV’s, as it can accommodate dedicated, potentially larger battery packs, leading to higher kWh and range. Additionally, it will allow more floor space as there is no need for engine compartments, allowing more compact cars to go electric​, and will provide the ability to centralise power electronics and electrical drive units to support over the air connectivity and 4G/5G services.

APC’s latest demand report also looks at the ongoing development of lithium-ion battery packs and low-cost cathode alternatives, which will help to significantly reduce the cost to OEMs, by as much as 40%. In turn, these savings could be passed onto consumers, making the purchase cost of EVs comparable to ICE vehicles.

The BNEF predicts that by 2030 the cost of a lithium-ion battery pack could drop to as low as $77/kWh, down from a peak of over $400/kWh in the latter half of the previous decade. Indeed, the APC’s own report, entitled “Battery and fuel cell future cost comparison”, highlights this trend while also delving further into the future opportunities around the use of batteries and fuel cells for large premium SUVs and vans, with the aim of establishing which technology is more likely to prevail based on installed cost and mileage potential by 2030.

A move towards predictive maintenance and battery management systems could help to reduce insurance costs and improve resale values. The data collected could be used to improve battery efficiency and performance, as well as providing confidence to insurers. And finally, the APC reports that there are positive signs through regulations and grant funding to accelerate charging infrastructure for increasing EV adoption.

Developments in the five key areas stated in the report would open up prime opportunities within the supply chain for UK businesses and exporters. The APC is already working with a number of companies and consortiums to make this a reality.

You can read the report in full here.

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