Electric vehicles have accidents too...

Last year, Accident Exchange reported having conducted a survey on UK consumer attitudes and ownership trends around EVs, exploring key information such as the perceived advantages, disadvantages and misconceptions of owning or driving an EV. The results found their way into a white paper, which posited the question about what will start the electric vehicle revolution.

You can register to request a copy of that white paper here.

Of course events have moved rapidly over the past year and, with the global drive towards reducing CO2 emissions, an increasing number of consumers now own either a hybrid vehicle or one that is fully electric. In fact, there are more than 260,000 fully electric vehicles currently registered in the UK with growth running at more than 17% a month and only limited by the ability of manufacturers to bring new models to market and the availability of micro chips and lithium batteries, supply of which has been impacted during the Covid pandemic.

With this growth in mind, no surprise perhaps that ReddeNorthgate plc completed another acquisition last week; they announced the acquisition of Charged Electric Vehicle Ltd https://www.chargedev.co.uk.

Their announcement reports:

"Redde Northgate plc (LSE:REDD), the leading integrated mobility solutions platform providing services across the vehicle lifecycle, is pleased to announce that on 9 July 2021 the Group completed the acquisition of Charged Electric Vehicles Limited ('ChargedEV'), a specialist in the supply and installation of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging equipment across the UK.

This strategically significant acquisition provides the Group with a platform to expand its offerings in this important and growing area as both its own EV fleet and its customers' EV fleets evolve. It will also support the Group in its environmental goals and be integral to its overall programme around EV transition and reducing carbon emissions.

ChargedEV operates nationally, taking orders from customers for an EV charging point and then delivering the installation via one of its own trained electrical installers or via a network of approved third party installers. With a team today of around 20 EV experts, it is expected to expand over time as the EV transition gathers pace. Customers come to ChargedEV either direct via its website or via third party partners who see the benefit from working with a leading installer with excellent service and expertise.

The addition of ChargedEV to the Group complements the work already undertaken to position Redde Northgate to support our customers' transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to EVs. With the acquisition, the Group now has an experienced team that can offer a turnkey solution on EVs and EV charging. This development, and the growing EV composition in the fleet, is part of a wider strategic aim to ensure that Redde Northgate is at the forefront of this transition which will grow over time. More widely, the Group now has over 300 fully trained technicians across the Group who are certified to work on EVs, with the majority of the wider team also trained on EV awareness and plans to enhance the Group's workshop and bodyshop capacity in this area over time.

Commenting on the acquisition, Martin Ward, CEO Redde Northgate, said:

"As leaders and businesses across the globe seek to tackle the world's growing environmental challenges, we too are working hard to position the Group to provide responsible and sustainable solutions for our customers and stakeholders. We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of ChargedEV, which in line with this strategic objective, places us at the forefront of the transition to EV in our markets as both our own and our customers' fleets evolve. I'd like to welcome the ChargedEV team to Redde Northgate and look forward to developing this important area of the business."

Having owned and driven a fully electric vehicle since March 2020, and having had to wait 8 weeks for a home charging point to be installed, Charged EV clearly have a very large and lucrative market to aim for. Playing a role in the construction of charging infrastructure will create a significant strategic opportunity for the Redde Group as, no doubt, will the expansion of their fleet, and indeed that of AX and other credit hire operators, hoping to respond to the demand for post accident rental opportunities.

I saw that the GTA rental rates for a Tesla Model S, for example, range from £195 to £250 a day and with so many more manufacturers joining the fray, the rental rate for other vehicles with a £50k plus price tag are likely to be set at or above that rate.

Most significantly though, with consumer demand outpacing the ability of manufacturers to supplya premium product from which they can retain a premium margin, the prospect of electric vehicle being added in any significant number to the conventional hire fleets, and being offered to those rental operators and then to consumers at discounted rates, seems low.

I did a search across the major rental suppliers and could only find Enterprise with a Tesla S at selected locations (I used London Park Lane) and with a pay on rental charge of £217 inclusive of VAT. Avis offered just a Jaguar iPace (also from central London) at over £200 a day. This is clearly a potentially lucrative market which may, over the medium term, offer enhanced margins for those CHOs able to deliver a solution in a targeted manner.

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