The brand-new Oxford Superhub, dubbed “Europe’s most powerful EV charging hub,” is set to install 12 Tesla Superchargers along with 10 chargers from Fastned and 16 from Gamma Energy. Local authorities such as the Oxford City Council seek to develop the EV charging hub as part of preparations for the growing electric vehicle market in the UK. The Oxford Superhub is being developed by partners that include the Oxford City Council, Fastned, Wenea, and EDF Renewables subsidiary Pivot Power.
The UK plans to ban all sales of new diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030. By 2035, new cars and vans will be expected to have zero tailpipe emissions.
Despite this goal, lack of charging infrastructure has previously been seen as a major part of the holdup for widescale adoption of electric vehicles like Tesla’s. Automotive industry insiders have expressed concern about the number of charging stations that would have to be installed in order to have the infrastructure ready for a market that allows only electric vehicles. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 2.3 million electric chargers would be required in the UK alone in order to be prepared for a full transition by 2030.
Companies like Fastned have shown an interest in helping to fill that gap with investment in charging stations such as Fastned’s solar powered charging station in Düsseldorf, Germany, which boasts 20 Superchargers and 8 chargers for electric vehicles made by other automobile manufacturers. This station was developed in partnership with Tesla and the coffee and snack vendor Seed & Greet Bakery. Statements from Fastned indicate that it plans to develop as many as 1,000 charging stations throughout Europe.
Other companies are working on batteries that have faster charge times. One prospective part of the supply chain for EV manufacturers, an Israeli company named Slashdot, claims to have developed a viable car battery that can add up to 100 miles of range to an electric vehicle in five minutes. This could help to solve one component of what pundits call “range anxiety,” the fear of running out of charge, by making the charging of an electric vehicle no more time-consuming than filling up a gasoline-powered car.
At last year’s Battery Day event, Elon Musk announced that Tesla is investing in a faster and more efficient process for making batteries and will also introduce a $25,000 vehicle with an improved battery within the next three years. While longtime watchers of Elon Musk may expect that schedule to slip due to his history of setting unrealistic timetables, consumers who lack deep pockets are likely to hold out for the less expensive Tesla vehicle or an equivalent from a competing EV manufacturer.
Despite the willingness of the UK government to phase out electric vehicles and local governments to invest in infrastructure, some parties like the UK Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee have expressed concern about the affordability of new electric vehicles compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts. According to information on the Tesla website, the starting price of the “long-range” versions of most Tesla vehicles range from $39,990 for a Model 3 to $89,990 for a Model S.
In response, an unnamed government official said, “Already, we’re investing £2.8 billion in helping industry and drivers make the switch and will continue our work to install thousands of chargepoints and boost the development of new technologies to meet our goals.”
This is in addition to the money that private companies like Fastned are willing to invest in new charging stations. Like stockholders for companies like Tesla, they are banking on the idea that a combination of government regulation and consumer demand will make electric vehicles mainstream.