We’ve all heard many assertions over the past decade on when the turning point will be for electric vehicles.
A brief history: it was the Nissan Leaf which, while not the the first EV on sale, was the first EV to offer a sensible package and range, so that Joe Public could start to consider a zero-emission future.
Over the subsequent nine years, others followed, most notably the Renault Zoe, and more recently, the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia E-Niro, Jaguar I-Pace, the latter of which has won numerous awards. There’s a few more too, but kerb appeal or high prices still mean there’s not an EV on sale for everybody.
So, there’s been plenty of positive steps in the right direction, but EVs still account for under 1% of UK car sales. Of course, having a choice of electric vehicles doesn’t address the remaining hurdles. Charging infrastructure - often fiercely criticised in the mainstream media - still has some way to go, not least in its reliabilty. Although, when you consider that more than 80% of charging happens at home, it starts to pale into insignificance.
The latest round of public chargers are 150kW, and it’s at this level of charging, that we can start to imagine a decent range achieved in not much more time than it takes to put petrol in one’s car.
There’s also a broader lack of understanding and/or acceptance by many consumers, but time and, crucially, more choice should address that.
Which is where Volkswagen comes in. For the German maker - considered a credible, semi-premium volume brand despite its chequered past - to offer a practical, affordable, Golf-sized standalone EV (which isn't just an e-Golf) will be enough to convert many who wouldn’t have gone electric before.
VW certainly didn’t start the revolution, but I suspect, it will play an awfully big part in its success.