Communication is key to accelerating the UK’s transition to electrification

As the UK’s transition to electrification continues at pace, Ed Willmott, managing director at Prova PR, explains the importance of communication in maintaining momentum and meeting impending targets.

The 2035 ban on the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be a major milestone in the UK’s journey to net zero. By mandating the shift to electrification, the government aims to achieve a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for road transport.

With more than a million electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads today, momentum is building and consumer confidence is growing, with registration data perfectly reflecting this. Over the past 12 months alone, for example, fleet EV sales have increased by 40%, lease popularity has boomed and used EV sales have more than doubled.

However, while positive, it’s fair to suggest that major barriers remain. From driver concern over range and battery life, to high up-front purchase costs and the suitability of public charging infrastructure, there are still a few bumps in the road.

If the UK is to maintain momentum, we need to tackle each of these issues head on. Some require a firmly practical approach, while others simply need dated perceptions and common misinformation to be addressed. Either way, effective communication will prove key.

Busting common myths

The first priority should be to bust dated myths around the affordability, suitability and practicality of EVs. The anti EV crowd will lead you to believe that most EVs have a pitiful range and come with an unnecessarily hefty price tag. What’s more, there’s a belief that public charging infrastructure is totally unfit for purpose and a long commute alone would be too much for an electric vehicle to handle.

While possibly accurate for the very early days of EVs (and I’m talking Sinclair C5 timescales), the industry has developed significantly since. Today, it’s easy to pick up an EV with a range of more than 350 miles. Prices are falling too, with costs becoming increasingly competitive, especially from a lease perspective.

When it comes to charging infrastructure, there are now four times more charging points than petrol stations in the UK, including at almost every motorway service station nationwide. When it comes to home charging, on the other hand, the availability of different options to suit consumer needs is vast (even for those without access to a driveway). In addition, government subsidies and tax incentives are available to assist with purchase and installation costs.

The industry agrees that there is still more work to be done when it comes to further reducing barriers. Additional investment into public charging is important, purchase prices need to show even greater parity and battery developments are still underway. But to suggest that EVs are inferior to internal combustion engines (ICE) is simply inaccurate.

Celebrating progress

While tackling misinformation is clearly important, so too is shouting about the industry’s continued progress. After all, billions are being invested across the supply chain in research, development and investment every year, with the gap between ICE and electric powertrains growing every day.

Indeed, with almost all of the world’s major OEMs having called time on combustion, funding is being diverted extensively to alternative fuel divisions. As a result, EVs are developing fast, while their petrol and diesel counterparts are becoming increasingly dated.

From the latest driver safety technologies and in-car entertainment progress, to design and styling innovation, today’s EVs are really pushing the boundaries of capability. Petrol and diesel cars, in comparison, are holding onto the features of the past decade.

Soon, it will be almost impossible not to switch to EV. Costs will quickly align, range will further accelerate, charging infrastructure will grow, battery life will increase and performance will far outshine ICE models. This is good news for drivers, but great news from an environmental perspective. Zero tailpipe emissions, lower lifetime carbon emissions, increased lifespans and little reliance on petrochemicals are just a handful of benefits.

So, is communication key in the UK’s transition to electrification? Absolutely. More than that, it’s probably the most important factor when it comes to adoption rates and meeting government targets. The industry is already doing the hard work, but its focus on comms needs to improve quickly to accelerate further progress.

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