It was great to attend and sponsor the Oxford Electric Vehicle Summit. There was massive energy and enthusiasm amongst over 300 delegates.

Key players from the industry were there – utilities, aggregators, central government and local authorities, logistics companies, EV charging companies, EV tech innovators, banks and others.

The summit opened to Robert Miles’ mid-90s classic, ‘Children’ and it was interesting that many of the speakers and leaders made the point that they have young children and that delivering a better world for the next generation was an express motivation for accelerating the transition to low carbon transport.

A number of the speakers remarked on a public perception that there are significant barriers to EVs but that the reality is that these barriers are rapidly coming down. Here are the top 6:

  • Range anxiety - EVs can now do 250 miles on one charge
  • Speed of charging – rapid chargers are being installed more widely
  • Cost - by 2022 an EV will cost the same as a petrol/diesel car
  • Not enough charging points – lots more chargers are being rolled out
  • People without off street parking – lampposts are set to turn into charging points – we’re not there yet but this is coming
  • Energy demand – the grid can handle the demand that EVs will bring

The biggest barrier is now psychological – the industry needs to make it really easy to own and use an EV. Ease of service is important – contactless payment points without a need to register; charging points in a pleasant environment with food, drinks and toilets. It was notable that the headline sponsor was EDF Energy, who are running a mass media campaign centring on EVs as part of a lifestyle choice for the younger generation.

The legal framework in the UK is still undeveloped. The Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Act 2018 provides a basic framework with the detail to follow on important issues such as: service station EVCPs; interoperability; and smart charge points.

There are still a number of legal and practical barriers to overcome before we are likely to see mass adoption. Strategies for obtaining landlord consent, leases for charging points and the terms you can expect to agree in commercial agreements to install charging points to name but a few. The time and cost of obtaining wayleaves is one of the most pressing to resolve, though. In every forecast report, we need a large number of publicly accessible charge points, in service stations, leisure centres and on the street. To connect those charge points to the Distribution Network requires a right to lay cable between the charge point and the substation. If developers are going to roll out capital intensive programmes, they need greater certainty on when and how they can do that. BCLP is providing the legal input on the Renewable Energy Association’s push for urgent action to improve this process.

Whilst a number of businesses are now able to point to success stories, a lot of work is still needed to attract the levels of capital needed to build the nationwide EV charging infrastructure to support a wholesale switch to electric vehicles.

Openness and collaboration were a key theme – sharing of information and data to drive the industry forward. We think these relationships are going to be key for the development of this nascent industry.

If you’d like to get in touch to discuss please contact any of the BCLP Partners from the EV summit: Mark Richards, Kiran Arora, Chris Rowe, Barry Gross, Richard Shaw.

Be sure to follow the event on Twitter #OxfordEVSummit19

Also, do join the EV LinkedIn Group at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12099657/