In 2013, there were 3,500 electric cars on British roads; today, there are 195,000. There are plans to phase out both petrol and diesel by 2040, so this number is guaranteed to rise.
Both cost prices and running costs of electrically-powered vehicles will soon be similar to those of traditional vehicles. In part, this is due to the use of new materials and technologies, such as using metal bonding adhesive in place of heavy welding. There are also government plans to bring down the prices and waiting lists for the batteries on which they depend by building a new £1.7bn battery mega-plant.
A new class of deluxe performance vehicles
One thing electric cars have so far lacked is iconic market-leading designs – tomorrow’s classics. Without objects of desire, the development of electric vehicles would remain wearily pragmatic. Into this important niche come Lotus and Aston Martin.
Lotus has confirmed plans to build the first electric British hypercar at its workshops in Norfolk. It is understood that the vehicle, called a Type 130, has a 1,000+ horsepower engine, an all-wheel-drive system, and can travel in excess of 250 miles before a recharge. This announcement was made at the 2019 Shanghai International Auto Show.
Aston Martin has also announced plans to produce its first fully-electric vehicle. To be called the Rapide E, it is likely to be manufactured at the company’s production site near St Athan in South Wales. The Rapide E will pack an 800-volt battery encased in carbon fibre and Kevlar. Again, the availability of new high-performance metal bonding adhesive will have greatly assisted development, given that carbon fibre and welding are rarely comfortable neighbours. This is just one of many metal to metal adhesive applications.
Aston Martin has suggested that the top speed of the Rapide E will be around 155mph.
Additional cost incentives
Glamour aside, the cost incentives for going electric continue to mount, especially if you live in an area with serious traffic-related air quality problems. Central London has implemented an ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) that requires heavy polluters to pay a daily fee of £12.50 on top of the £11.50 congestion charge that already applies in the same area.
The combination of high-performance vehicles and increasingly attractive prices ensures this is a very good time to go electric.