3 An Action Plan for Growth
The research and consultation undertaken to develop this action plan highlighted that markets for EVs are showing signs of entering a new phase of maturity. This includes a greater range of EVs being offered by all major car manufacturers. Battery costs have also been cut by a factor of four in the period 2008-16 and are set to decrease further in the coming years,.
Advanced markets around the world have demonstrated that today's EVs can meet the needs of a high percentage of the population. For example, in 2016 pure EVs and plug-in hybrids achieved a 29% market share in Norway. Sales of EVs are also booming in China and at the UK level, alternative fuel vehicles (mainly electric cars) reached a record 4.2% share of new vehicle registrations in January 2017.
A similar upward trend has been experienced in Scotland, with more EVs sold in 2015 than the previous three years combined and 2016 sales exceeding the 2015 total. However, sales still remain at a relatively low level and support is required to achieve widespread adoption of EVs.
The challenge is therefore to focus on actions that accelerate the uptake of EVs, considering the barriers that need to be overcome and the requirements to be satisfied for EVs to become the preferred alternative to fossil fuelled vehicles.
3.1 Overcoming Barriers
The barriers to electric vehicle adoption are well understood and continue to be relevant have changed little since publication of the Switched On Scotland Roadmap in 2013. An important point of learning from the extensive consultation to develop the Roadmap and this action plan, is that the factors that influence adoption decisions, and that overcome many of these challenges can be broadly categorised into three areas:
1. Cost – ways to reduce the cost of EVs will play a major role in encouraging drivers to choose electric over fossil-fuelled vehicles.
2. Convenience – working to make EVs easy to drive, recharge and a convenient fit with the needs and lifestyles of an increasing number of drivers.
3. Culture – recognising the challenge of positively influencing choices and behaviours, as well as the need to embed EVs as a widely recognised and preferred alternative to fossil fuelled vehicles.
Focusing on positively impacting on these three areas provides a basis to prioritise actions that will accelerate the widespread adoption of EVs.
3.2 Increasing the Uptake of Electric Vehicles
Progress towards a mainstream market for EVs will require actions that address the diverse needs of an increasing number of potential users. The consultation undertaken for this action plan emphasised that people have different motivations and requirements, ranging from basic needs to more challenging expectations. Figure 4 illustrates that satisfying these needs requires specific actions and strategies to:
⇒ Continue to develop the underpinning infrastructure, policy frameworks and financial support to meet the changing needs of a growing market;
⇒ Support the development of services that improve the ease of use, experience, cost and overall desirability of EVs;
⇒ Promote the economic, environmental and social benefits offered by EVs to sustain and motivate further progress.
These three levels are used to structure the action plan as outlined in the next three chapters.
Figure 4 – Accelerating the uptake of EVs