The last few years have been tricky for the motor industry, though visitors to this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show will have been pleasantly surprised by developments in the sector. For the first time in its history, the show dedicated an entire hall to electric cars, a reflection of manufacturers taking responsibility for the environment and a sign that they haven’t stood still during the recession.
While nobody is suggesting sales of electric vehicles are set for a boom – American research has suggested only 1.5 million will be in use in the US by 2020 – there are clear signs of growth in the industry.
Research conducted by Jato, a provider of automotive intelligence, shows a ten-fold increase in the registration of electric vehicles, from 507 in 2010 to 5,222 in 2015. In Europe, Germany leads the way with 1,020 EV registrations in the first half of 2015, despite one of the lowest subsidies in the region.
‘It’s clear the EV market is set for significant growth and we are at the early stages of its development’ says Gareth Hession, VP for research at Jato. ‘As the market matures, we might expect subsidies to exert greater influences as other considerations such as charging infrastructure are addressed.’
Hession’s thoughts are echoed by Andrew Laughlan of GOGREENCAR, an organisation that provides eco-friendly mini-cab services for companies in London. At the moment its fleet is entirely made up of Toyota Prius Hybrids that produce up to 60 per cent fewer emissions than regular petrol and diesel cars, though a switch to electric vehicles isn’t far away.
‘We will definitely be using all-electric vehicles when they become viable’ says Laughlan. ‘We need to consider the range, charging times, size and affordability. We’d also like to see a simplified and quicker tendering process for working with the public sector, and a better and more widely available mentoring service.’
At the moment the GOGREEN’s service is confined to London, where transport contributes to nearly 35 per cent of all harmful emissions in the capital. A deal with a similar organisation has been signed in Edinburgh, alhough Laughlan expects further growth in London before the company expands further across England. ‘London is a huge marketplace and there is room for massive growth within the city. We would be interested in franchising to other cities in the UK and Europe.’
For companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint, services such as GOGREENCAR are a simple and effective place to start. Switching from a carbon-heavy service to an eco-friendly one is easily implemented, and cost effective. A common perception is that going green involves increased cost. However, GOGREENCAR’s hybrid fleet offers significant economic savings through fuel efficiency and congestion charge exemption.
Read the full feature in our November issue.