As 2020 continues to take shape as a momentous year for electric cars, we take a look at the biggest stories this month from the ever-changing world of electric. Hot topics include; a blistering start for 2020 for the EV market, the range-busting new Tesla, the petrol and diesel car ban, and Leeds & Birmingham gear up for the first clean air zones outside of London.
Electric gears up for huge 2020
2020 looks set to be a landmark year in the relatively short history of EVs. In new data from industry body SMMT, just one month into the calendar year, EV’s and other alternative fuel vehicles continue to surge in popularity, with January 2020 marked as the second-best month of all-time for new EV and Hybrids sales. In stark contrast, the combustion engine continues to suffer a mighty fall from grace – with combined petrol and diesel sales down 47% Year on Year.
Standard Battery Electric Vehicles increased sales year-on-year by more than 200% in January, while plug-in hybrids increased by over 110%.
Electric & Hybrid vehicles now command almost 6% of the entire UK car market – the highest share on record.
Model Y to bust range records
Tesla’s flagship model of 2020, the Model Y, has had a further boost to its credentials with an increased range to almost 315 miles.
The news will be music to the ears of electric car enthusiasts, who have seen the popularity and notoriety of the Tesla brand increase dramatically since the tech and car brand released their first mass-market EV, the Model 3.
Confirmed at the end of January in their financial reports, Tesla announced that the Model Y had begun its production at the brand’s Fremont production facility in southern California. Initial estimates gave the Model Y a touted range of 280 miles, but the new increase will give it the longest range of any current EV on the market.
UK powers to EV-only 2035
The most significant news for the EV market has come out of Westminster, where the government announced the ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars will be moved forward to 2035.
Initially earmarked for 2040, the shift follows growing concerns that the ban would not give enough time for the UK to become fully carbon neutral by 2050. The plans were laid out at COP26, a climate summit held in Glasgow as a precursor for landmark talks set to be held at the United Nations later this year.
Attendees of the event included Sir David Attenborough. Speaking to the BBC, the natural world broadcaster described the revised timeline as “encouraging”
In contrast, there has been widespread discontent at the ban within the automotive industry. Officials at the Society of Motor Manufactuirers and Traders (SMMT) have been critical of the announcement – labelling it a “date without a plan”.
Leeds & Birmingham motorists get fresh checker tool
As the Government gears up for the UK petrol and diesel ban – a ‘vehicle checker’ tool has been launched to allow motorists to assess whether or not their vehicles will meet the clean air regulations for new zones rolled out in the cities of Birmingham and Leeds.
The tools function is simple, drivers input their vehicle details into the checker and it reports whether their car is compliant with the new clean air zone or not. The Birmingham zone will be introduced in July 2020, while the zone in Leeds will arrive later in the year. Both will be "soft" zones, intially targeted at improving air quality in urban areas and hitting hard drivers of older, polluting diesel cars.
Birmingham and Leeds will become the first major cities outside of London to introduce their own low emission zones, with zones in Bath and Sheffield also earmarked.
Vacuum of cash - Dyson repay EV car loan
Dyson have refunded the government grant the company received to kickstart its now defunct electric car project. The vacuum cleaner manufacturer scrapped its electric car project in October of last year, with executives describing the plans "not commercially viable".
Initially, the brand had embarked upon an ambitious timeline which would have seen the first Dyson EV available for order in 2021. But the project had become swarmed in criticism after the brand switched headquarters to Singapore and confirmed that their fledgling EV would be built in the South East Asian country.
While some welcomed the brand's venture into the automotive world - seeing it as a springboard for more non-car brands to enter the electric car fray, many were sceptical behind the motivations. Speaking in The Guardian, Prof David Bailey described it as a "vanity project".
Dyson have now repaid in full the grant the government grant given to speed up its production process, with the figure standing at around £8m.