In-car karaoke anyone? Image: XPeng
China's EV maker Xpeng Motors is leading the way in the country's bid to disrupt the automotive manufacturers in the US.
The company is marketing a sport utility vehicle priced in the mid-range of $35,000 to China's young, tech-savvy drivers, packed with features such as in-car karaoke and a 360-degree rotatable roof camera for taking group selfies.
However, while in-car technology may be moving forward at a rapid pace, the infrustructure is more sluggish. To date, there are some 150,000 public charging points for EVs available in the EU. That's a long way behind the 2.8 million or more points needed by 2030, according to conservative estimates by the European Commission - equating to an almost 20-fold increase within the next 12 years.
Meanwhile average CO2 emissions from new cars were 118.5 grams of CO2 per kilometre in 2017, and increase of 0.4% compared to 2016, according to data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Hopes of meeting emissions targets will have been further dulled by new data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) showing just 2% of all new European cars registered in 2018 were electrically-chargeable. Consumers remain reluctant to buy EVs because of a lack of suitable charging infrastructure across the EU.
A glimmer of hope does come from new research by the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) which has revealed that EVs are already cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel cars in the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and Norway. The study was based on the VW Golf's battery electric, hybrid, petrol and diesel versions.
A combination of lower taxes, fuel costs and subsidies on the purchase price contributed to the findings with Norway seeing the biggest savings over diesel (27%) as battery-powered vehicles are exempt from registration tax.
Elsewhere, Gridserve is set to build a network of 100 EV charging forecourts across the UK as part of a £1bn programme which will involve building new solar farms and installing multi-megawatt batteries. Construction of the first sites is likely to begin this year in York and Hull in the North of England.
And Fiat Chrysler has agreed to pay Tesla hundreds of millions of Euros to avoid violating new EU emission rules. The European car manufacturer will be able to offset CO2 emissions from its cars against the US, EV-only car maker's output in a bid to reduce its average figure to a permitted level.
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Published 26th April, 2019
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