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Electric Vehicles - what does it mean to the vehicle dismantler?

Charging the Nissan Leaf
The governement's grant for plug in electric vehicles hasn't exactly set the market alight but the volume will grow and they will soon start turning up in yards.
At the beginning of the year the government released details of the first nine electric cars that will be eligible for grants. As from January 1st, 2011, buyers could get £5,000 discount on these vehicles. The plan was to jump start the electric car market. Has it worked?

At the moment, the answer must be no. Currently only five of the nine cars are available for immediate delivery, and three of those, the Mistubishi I-MiEV, the Citroen cZero and the Peugeot iOn are basically the same vehicle. The remaining two are theSmart fortwo electric and the Nissan Leaf,but government figures show that only 937 plug in electric vehicles were registered in the first three quarters of 2011.

So what’s gone wrong? Well there seems to be a number of factors. Firstly cost. There may be a £5,000 grant but it isn’t that tempting when it is still going to cost well over £20,000, even with that grant. Secondly, we haven’t had the best economic climate to tempt buyers out. Then we have the other big issue - the combination of small range, slow charge times and limited charging facilities makes the EV only suitable for somoene operating in a tight urban area or as an extra vehicle.
So should we, as dismantlers be thinking about them yet?
Times are and will change. Although it was less than 1,000 EVs so far in 2011, this is over 800% higher than 2010, add to this that more models are coming on the market all the time and that charging points are being installed, then it would point to a growing market.

In the short term, volumes will not be that great but volumes will grow. You only have to look at the number of hybrids now on the roads. The pressure on governments to reduce CO2 emissions will not abate and electric vehicles do offer a transport solution that is much more environmentally friendly. This takes on even more importance as more effort is directed into producing our electricity from renewables and nuclear power.

So from our point of view, the electric car is a growth market and one we are going to have to absorb and develop in our businesses.

On the plus side, there are many high value items in use including motors, controllers and ecu’s. From the scrap side, heavy duty cables are a high value item, as perhaps are many of the high tech materials used in their build.

Training is going to be essential if we are going to capitalise on this new market. In the next issue we shall take a look at the components and systems used in an electric vehicle. At the CARS show next year there is the oportunity to get ahead of the game, with forums and training seminars that focus particularly on how best to capitalise on both EVs and hybrids.

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