The electric car revolution is coming (again!) and here’s what will kill it…

“Electric cars have a larger market share than internal combustion engine vehicles. What year is it?”

Given Boris Johnson’s announcement this week, a smart guess might be 2030. Without being able to predict the future I can tell you, you’re not even close. In fact you wouldn’t even be speaking in the correct tense. You don’t look to the future for the electric car revolution, you look to the past.

From 2030, wholly petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles will not be sold in the UK. This forms part of a £4bn ‘green industrial revolution‘ in the UK. While this will massively drive the sale of electric vehicles up, it’s nothing compared to the first electric car revolution. The United States, 1900, is the closest the world has ever come to large scale EV (electric vehicle) adoption. A scarcely believable 38% (33,842) of cars were electric, vs. 22% powered by gasoline and 40% by steam. They weren’t just gimmicks either, in 1898 an electric car became the first car to break the 60mph barrier, becoming the quickest car in the world.

The Jamais Contente (The Never Satisfied) the first vehicle to go over 100 km/h (62 mph).

Some of the reasons why electric cars were popular compared to gasoline cars is that they were quiet, easy to drive, and didn’t emit smelly pollutants. Sound familiar?!

In 1898 Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the sports car company by the same name, developed the world’s first hybrid electric car –  powered by both electricity and petrol. It wouldn’t be until 115 years later in 2013 that Porsche’s first full production hybrid vehicle the 918 Spyder would hit the roads and become the fastest car in the world, setting the production car lap record at the Nurburgring in a blistering 6:57.

At this point you’d assume something must have gone wrong for the electric car as they currently only account for 1% of the cars on the road. And you’d be right.

Three things stopped electric car adoption back in the early 1900s and left the door wide open for Henry Ford and his Model T:

  • Range: Inferior range compared to gasoline powered cars,
  • Price: electric vehicles were more expensive than gasoline equivalents,
  • Charging: Poor charging infrastructure due to non-widespread electricity usage and lack of household electricity adoption.

Deja vu, anyone?

Cheap worldwide petroleum prices, standardised and automated manufacturing processes and consumer demand for faster, longer range vehicles throughout the 20th century dealt EVs a fatal blow.

Tesla Model 3 – UK’s top selling electric car in the first half of 2020 (Car as shown in Caura)

It has taken seismic societal shifts in awareness and attitude towards climate change, and mind-blowing innovation from market leaders like Tesla to break open the automotive market and drive EV adoption.

As a result, purely electric vehicle registrations in the UK have grown from a meagre 138 in 2010 to 38,000 in 2019, and as of September 2020 66,611 purely electric vehicles have already been sold this year.

Graph to show the sales of electric powered vehicles by year 2010-2020 in the UK

While the lack of household access to electricity is no longer an issue, drivers now frequently make longer journeys and have become accustomed to refuelling cars in just a few minutes at any fuel station, regardless of company and without the need for signing up or having a membership card to do so.

Electric Vehicle Charging Landscape

As of 2020 there are 16 major and 32 minor charging network providers in the UK. Many require a separate sign-up, log-in, payment details and some even a physical membership card. This has resulted in a fragmented landscape and incredibly poor experience. Even worse – there are two different sizes of chargers which means the charging point you want to charge at might not have an adapter that works in your car!

Electric Charging Providers UK

Where does this leave you, the driver? Just like cashless parking, you need a folder full of apps, each with a separate login and payment card just to charge your car! Here at Caura we believe that people just want a simpler life – with all these things taken care of. That’s why we’re on a mission to bring everything to do with your car into a simple, easy-to-use app, with only a couple of taps to pay for any services you need!

We’d love for you to try Caura yourself and discover what else it can do for you, and please feel free to reach out to us at hello@caura.com with any suggestions.