With COP26 behind us, it’s time to look towards achieving the UK #NetZero target by 2050. With road transport consuming 40% of all oil demand, we know that electric and hybrid vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce our carbon footprint – so what’s holding us back?
Let’s quickly run through our checklist:
- Public demand for environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuel – ✔️
- Product availability and model range on a steep incline – ✔️
- Growing number of policy drivers, subsidies and tax rebates incentivizing EV purchase ✔️
With all these drivers in place, it’s no surprise that this past year has been pivotal for the electrification of transportation. In 2020, electric car sales increased by an impressive 41% despite overall car sales dropping by 16% due to the pandemic impact on the economy.
This explosion in demand is a great start but there’s something vital missing: we currently don’t have the right infrastructure in place to support this rapid acceleration. If predictions that the 2020s will become the “years of the electric drive” are to become fact – a massive investment in charging infrastructure is needed across the nation. The question is “how much?”.
At Siemens Financial Services (SFS), we wanted to get a better sense of exactly how big of an investment is needed to rapidly deploy EV charging networks worldwide – that is to say the ‘investment gap’ between what is already being financed and what is being paid for out of CAPEX (capital expenditure). The findings of our research showed that 150bn USD will be needed by 2026 – a considerable sum, especially during a time of economic recovery.
Public funds and incentives are crucial to setting the wheels in motion, but if we are to expand the electric charging infrastructure at the same rate as demand for EVs – private sector finance will be required. Without this, it is unclear if the electrical power grid will be able to sustain a growing EV fleet. The pace of EV adoption could therefore be held back, in which case the UK may struggle to meet its agreed climate targets.
New financing models exist that are well-adapted to EV charging units – these are typically offered by an expert financing partner. Put simply, rather than requiring large upfront capital investment for accelerated deployment of infrastructure, payments can be flexibly aligned to maximise the cashflow position of the operators. Suddenly the investment becomes affordable and cash-flow friendly. Technology providers who cannot offer such smart finance options will likely find themselves losing out on deals to their competition.
 Bloomberg NEF, Oil demand from road transport: COVID-19 and beyond, 11 June 2020
 The Guardian, Global sales of electric cars accelerate fast in 2020 despite covid pandemic, 19 Jan 2021
 Siemens Financial Services, Financing Decarbonization: e-mobility, 2021: www.siemens.com/financing-decarbonization-emobility
Mark McLoughlin, Siemens Industries and Markets, Siemens Financial Services, UK
I have worked as a strategic account manager & financing partner within Siemens Industries and Markets for the past eight years, with over 20 years’ experience in the finance and leasing industry. My role focuses on supporting Siemens by providing innovative financing solutions as part of its value proposition to customers.
In my free time I devote my energy to family time with my daughters (3 and 5 years old) and enjoy running, cycling through the Warwickshire countryside, and watching Aston Villa.