We’re often told by automakers and EV skeptics that charging infrastructure is the biggest hurdle to EV adoption. Make public charging easier and more accessible we’re told, and more people will make the switch from petrol to electricity.
But in the UK, a pilot project offering subsidised Nissan LEAF leases has been inundated with applicants, so much so that the project has more applicants than available cars.
My Electric Avenue is a massive £9 million ($14.9 million) study being administered by private company EA Technology in collaboration with Scottish and Southern energy. Its goal: to create artificially-high pockets of all-electric neighbourhoods or streets by offering residents a great lease deal on an all-electric Nissan LEAF — then study what the impact of all those electric cars is on the electrical grid.
In order to entice people to take part in the program and ensure enough cars to make the study a success, My Electric Avenue offered substantial discounts to participants on an all-electric Nissan LEAF for the 18 month duration of the program. The lease prices varied according to expected mileage, car specification and number of local participants, but were substantially cheaper than those offered through regular channels such as a dealer or leasing company.
Moreover, the lease deals were cheaper in many instances than a comparable gasoline car, making it a no-brainer for anyone wanting cheap, affordable motoring for the next 18 months.
As the project detailed this morning, My Electric Avenue was inundated with more enquires than it initially expected. With more than 100 people signed up to take part in the project, successful applicants are now taking delivery of their brand new Nissan LEAF test cars which they will lease through the program for the next 18 months.
Once the cars have been delivered, EA Technology will be able to monitor the impact of the high-density clusters of EVs on the local grid using its newly-developed Esprit technology. Capable of monitoring and controlling the electricity used to charge the cars on the My Electric Avenue program, Esprit will help develop future smart grid strategies to ensure that utility companies can always meet the needs of increased numbers of EV owners plugging in to charge their cars.
We’ll find out more about the findings of the study in 18 months after the trial has ended, but we think there’s one thing this trial has already proven: EV adoption is dependent on cost more than anything else.
After all, we’re pretty sure these 100+ people who signed up didn’t just do so in order to help in a scientific study.
Do you think the lease deal was the reason so many signed up? And if so, just what is the key lease or purchase price an electric car needs to be before people switch from internal combustion to all-electric?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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