UK would need to speed up the development of it’s facilities in autonomous vehicle revolution
Scarcity of charging points and pressure on energy supplies are now the main stumbling blocks to the increase of driverless electric cars, according to the UK boss of insurance company Axa.
Amanda Blanc stated the absence of rapid charging bays and pressure on the National Grid have surpassed questions about accident liability as the most significant barriers to autonomous vehicles going into the transport mainstream.
Blanc, a Tesla driver, stated personal experience indicated issues lying ahead for driverless electric vehicles. There are an estimated of 125,000 plug-in electric cars in the UK and 14,000 chargers– 2,620 of them being rapid chargers that can provide a car an 80% charge in 30 minutes. Shell has recently opened its first charging points for electric vehicles at 10 filling stations, mainly in London and the south-east.
Blanc stated a recent long-distance family journey revealed the possible limitations of a future dominated by autonomous transport. When Blanc recently drove to Edinburgh in the Tesla with her household, they stopped two times to use a supercharger however opted for coffee while the car charged. “In three to four years’ time when more individuals are buying electric, you do not want to have to queue for your supercharger,” she stated. “The infrastructure needs to be fixed.”
The other problem for Blanc is the pressure on Britain’s electricity supply. According to the National Grid, growth in electric vehicles on Britain’s roads might see peak electricity power demand jump by over the capacity of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station by 2030.
She discussed: “If all of a sudden everybody’s got one [an electric car] I’m not exactly sure how the National Grid is going to deal with that. If in the Coronation Street break everybody goes to put the kettle on which causes issues, just imagine what will occur if everyone comes home from work at 6 o’clock and switches their cars on to charge– we need to be smarter about renewables and regenerating electricity. That’s a real difficulty.”
Blanc, whose Axa unit has 10 million clients, is one of the major backers of self-driving and electric vehicles in the insurance market. She believes that kids born today will not need to learn to drive and as adults will be travelling around Britain’s cities in electric “robo-cars”. Supporters say they will lower pollution, be more affordable to run and provide mobility to those not able to drive, including the elderly.