New battery technology for tomorrow is critical, but don’t wait to change

New battery technology for tomorrow is critical, but don’t wait to change

Posted by

Andy Bruce

June 2023

I can’t help but feel elated that a manufacturer such as Toyota is talking about making electric cars with a range of 1000kms – or 620 miles. That’s an astonishing distance on a single charge.

Toyota says it will achieve what today seems an implausible distance by 2026, just three years away. Such progress is thanks to greater energy density in the battery cell, lightweighting vehicle architecture and improving vehicle aerodynamics to increase cruising range.

What’s more, Toyota says it will also balance performance (extended range) against affordability, with lower cost batteries that will make its current SUV bZ4X model (current cost from £46,000) some 20 per cent cheaper.

There will also be rapid charging, with a  10 to 80 per cent charge taking  20 minutes or less.

For me, this really takes on the three negatives against adopting EVs: perceived lack of range; cost; and time to re-energise the battery.

It’s particularly welcome after the continued negativity from the press towards EVs, such as the recent ill-informed piece in the Guardian from Rowan Atkinson and the disappointing BBC Panorama programme that aired this week.

I think Toyota’s statement shows what an exciting place we’re at and how the technology is developing at pace. Remember that first Nissan Leaf? It arrived in the UK in 2011 and had a range of 109 miles. Today the battery in the luxury Mercedes-Benz EQS offers 453 miles on a charge. What a difference!

But new technology should not be a barrier to adoption today.

Just think of the latest TVs and smartphones – the moment you buy one you know you are consigning yourself to outdated technology within 12 months. But that doesn’t stop brands such as the Apple iPhone remaining a fantastic best seller.

The same is true for fleets looking to decarbonise as part of a company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy.

There will always be a new car with greater battery range coming in the future – that’s progress. But there remains a variety of vehicles available today that provide zero emission motoring, reduced tax bills and lower whole life costs that can do the job perfectly well today.

I would also say that leasing an EV as part of this decarbonisation process provides risk protection against new technology obsolescence and offers access to the newest tech – and better battery range – every two, three or four years depending on your fleet’s operating cycle.

Tomorrow’s battery technology promises brilliant cars for fleets in the future. But today’s issues around fleet choice of zero and ultra low emission vehicles should not be shelved. The vehicles are more than capable for the demands of your fleet – and you will benefit from longer operational experience if you make the switch today. So what’s stopping you?

 


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