Leading the charge: The UK's plan to decarbonize its transport emphasises EVs for public transit, and ratings for e-mobility are up as residents enjoy the cleaner air | Photo: Electrive

UK announces plan to decarbonise transport, Covid-19 boosts Brits’ interest in EVs

The UK government has announced its plan to decarbonise the country’s transport segment by publishing an 80-page document that will seek inputs from a wide cross section of consumer groups. At 28%, transport accounts for the majority of the UK’s emissions, but the government will aim for zero-emission road vehicles only, and promote public transit as the preferred mode of transportation. The country has also been actively studying electric aircraft.

The plan may get an early boost as a new survey shows the British are now more interested in switching to EVs, largely because of the drop in air pollution due to Covid-19. The survey found that 45% of the respondents would now consider buying an EV — up from 2019’s figure of 41%. Also, 25% of this year’s respondents would consider a purchase within the next five years, as opposed 31% in 2019 saying they would only do so in 10-15 years’ time.

BYD’s new Blade EV battery significantly reduces fire risk

The new Blade batteries by China’s EV giant BYD are reported to have passed severe operational testing and resisted catching on fire. The batteries were subjected to nail penetration, bending, crushing and even being heated in a furnace to 300°C, but their surface temperature stayed within 30-60°C — which is deemed safe in the event of an EV’s on-road accident.

Interestingly, BYD says it will share the technology with other battery manufacturers to spur global advances in EV safety. The technology could engineer a turnaround in public perception towards electric vehicles, as widely circulated reports of accidents involving the batteries or the cars bursting into flames make it harder for manufacturers to attract customers.

EVs bring together Toyota and BYD, GM and Honda

Japanese auto giant Toyota and China’s BYD have come together to build new electric cars, with operations slated to commence in May 2020. BYD is China’s largest EV manufacturer and is fast emerging as one of the top global players. The US’s General Motors (GM) has also announced a partnership with Japan’s Honda Motors, under which the latter will make use of GM’s flexible new platform, which are powered by its Ultium li-ion batteries.

The two partnerships are expected to result in a increased economy of scale, a slew of new electric cars for the global market and advancements such as hands-free driver assistance, which is currently under development at GM.

Plug-in cars make up 75% of Norway’s new auto sales, Belgiam market jumps 91%

Plug-in cars dominated new auto sales in Norway, which in March accounted for a whopping 75% of all sales, and battery EVs alone made up 56% of the share. Hybrids, on the other hand, were 7% of the numbers, while petrol and diesel cars together accounted for just under 18%. Norway leads the world in per-capita adoption of EVs, and their drop in their sales of 26.7% due to Covid-19 has also not been as severe as the country’s 32% overall contraction in auto sales this quarter.

The Belgian plug-in vehicle (PEV) market is also expanding rapidly as reports suggest their sales shot up by 91% in Q1 2020. This is despite the country’s overall numbers falling sharply by 48%. Its PEV market share has now grown to 8.6% — which, considering that it was only at 2.6% in February 2019, is again quite impressive.

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