Alternative Fuels - What happened in October 2023?

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#Alternative Fuels, #EV
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Amazon's new CHALET makes it easier to set up charging stations across Europe

Amazon has released CHALET, a new tool to help identify priority locations where electric charging points for heavy goods vehicles should be built to help accelerate the move to net-zero transportation in the logistics industry. CHALET, which stands for Charging Locations for Electric Trucks will allow logistics operators to speed up the switch to electric vehicles as well as help the industry plan and locate the best spots to build electric charging points. The open-source tool takes into account factors such as vehicle battery, range and transit time to locate the best spots to build charging points and is available now for private industry, governments, electricity network operators and local authorities to use.

£89 million funding awarded to net-zero vehicle projects

20 projects based in the UK that aim to develop net-zero transport technologies have been awarded £89 million to help the UK lead the way on net-zero tech as well as to create jobs and help grow the economy. These projects consist of hydrogen-powered offroad vehicles, a new lithium scale-up plant, a new revolutionary EV battery system and four other R&D projects, five scale-up projects to assess if businesses in the automotive sector are ready for growth and seven feasibility studies to prepare projects to develop large-scale manufacturing facilities in the UK. 

It is estimated that the R&D projects alone will create more than 4,700 jobs across the UK as well as save nearly 65 million tonnes of CO2 from being emitted over the next decade.

Fleets face electric vehicle price rise without EU agreement

As things go, the UK could see a rise in the price of electric vehicles due to the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) which currently exempts electric vehicles from facing any tariffs, but this exemption is due to end on January 1st 2024 unless a new deal can be agreed. The UK-EU TCA states that products must be substantially made in Britain on EU to qualify for the zero tariff, zero quota regime. However, because electric vehicle batteries are mostly imported from ASIA, these will be faced with taxes once the exemptions expire. The only alternative would be to build the electric car batteries in Great Britain or the EU but as electric battery parts and materials are not available this would be almost impossible to do.

Renault and Volvo enter new partnership to produce electric vans

Leading car manufacturers Renault and Volvo have joined forces to launch a new company that will develop and produce electric vans with production planned to start in 2026. They will offer several different battery options to balance cost with payload. Renault and Volvo plan to adopt a new Software Defined Vehicle architecture which will allow for fleet managers to monitor the vehicles capabilities and maximise business performance, they claim that having this software could reduce global operating costs by 30% for fleet operators. The 2 vehicle manufacturers are currently still looking for more investors with CMA CGM (shipping company) planning to invest in the joint venture.

£1bn Rapid Charging Fund still on hold

A £950million pot known as the Rapid Charging Fund (RCF) was put aside to help expand the rapid charging infrastructure across the UK but despite this first being announced during the March 2020 budget, applications for funding are yet to open. The Government’s plan is to have six rapid charging stations at every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023, but this goal is now at risk due to the RCF funds not being released. The policy papers also laid targets for around 2,500 fast charge points across England’s motorways and major A-roads by 2030, increasing to 6,000 by 2035. The transport minister has recently said that the department of transport is “still in the process of developing a pilot… which will open in due course”.

New laws passed to make EV charging quicker and easier

A new law has just been passed that focuses on making EV charging quicker and easier when using public charging points. The new law will make it easier for EV drivers to compare charging prices across different charge points along with making the prices more transparent to drivers. Also, many EV charging points will now have contactless payment options, reducing the time you need to spend at charging hubs. 

To allow for more transparent pricing, providers will be required to release data to allow drivers to find the cheapest prices to get the best deal. This will allow for apps, websites and in-vehicle software to access this data and allow drivers to find the cheapest electricity to recharge their vehicle as well as see what chargers are available to use. 

This new regulation will make the switch to electric vehicles easier for drivers and help support the economy as well as help achieve goals set out by the government for 2023. Along with these new changes, there will also be a 24/7 helpline for drivers to use is any issues arise when accessing public charging points.

EV charge cards

If your fleet contains electric vehicles or if you’re looking to make the switch, then register your interest in an EV charge card today. We also have a fantastic selection of fuel cards for petrol and diesel vehicles which you can compare here.

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Matt Dodds
Head of Strategic Sales and Partnerships

With over 14 years of experience across two of the leading fuel card companies in the UK, Matt Dodds joined RFC Edenred to help lead the development of products to support our customer's move to EV and other alternative fuels, a transition he feels passionately about.