Solar panels, charging choices and rampant registrations - Select Car Leasing
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Latest EV news: Solar panels, charging choices and rampant registrations

As electric car owners are all too aware, the UK currently faces a cost-of-living crisis brought about partly by economic sanctions against Russia and partly by a global pandemic that isn’t quite as finished as the Prime Minister might have you believe. As a result, energy costs are soaring. However, if you get solar panels installed, you can start to get your energy under control again and even charge your EV!

While Select Car Leasing is just a leasing company – we can’t control global politics or pandemics – but we try to do what we can, well. So for those considering solar panels in a bid to cut their electricity bills, we’ve created a handy guide.

Roof-mounted solar panels will go some way to reducing energy bills for both your home and electric car, but what if you live in a flat? In that case, leasing an electric car is probably going to involve charging outside the home, which means you’ll be very interested in a new government initiative. In an admission that more can be done to improve the UK’s charging network, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his team in Downing Street have announced new plans to grow the charging network.

According to charging website Zap-Map, the government wants a tenfold expansion in the number of charging points by 2030, when the ban on the sale of new petrol- and diesel-powered cars will come into force. In particular, the Department for Transport says it wants the updated network to offer more provision for “those without driveways”, including the introduction of more on-street chargers.

And according to electric car website Electrive, the UK is set to install another 50,000 charging points at schools and universities. Infrastructure provider EO Charging and energy company eEnergy say they will start by introducing 200 charge points at education centres this April, rising to 2,000 by the end of 2022. The two companies plan to hit the 50,000-mark by 2030.

Elsewhere on the road network, Electrive says Tesla will soon be opening its Supercharger network up to other makes of vehicle. The electric car website reported that Transport Minister Trudy Harrison told’s Ginny Buckley that Tesla may well open up its charging network “within weeks and months, rather than years”. 

Tesla is already allowing other brands’ models to charge at Supercharger stations in the Netherlands, and pilot schemes are underway in other European countries.

That will be good news for those who’ve recently taken delivery of an electric car – and there are plenty of those. According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more than 39,000 new electric passenger cars were registered in March, alongside more than 16,000 plug-in hybrids

That meant almost 23% of all the cars registered in March could be plugged into a charging point.

March also saw a huge influx of Tesla models into the UK. The new Model Y went straight to the top of the UK sales charts, with almost 6,500 examples registered. In total, the Model Y accounted for more than 16 percent of electric car registrations last month, while the Model 3 claimed second place in the charts with just seven fewer registrations. Together, the two cars made up around a third of all new electric vehicle sales in March.

But the dominant Tesla products could soon have another rival to contend with; and an efficient one at that. A little-known Dutch company called Lightyear has built a prototype solar-powered electric car that can cover 440 miles on a full charge, despite having a battery that can hold just 60kWh at a time– that’s less than two-thirds the capacity of a Tesla Model S P100D. 

The Lightyear One looks a bit gawky, with its aerodynamic bodywork, but the technology could be put to good use in the electric cars of the future.

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024