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Where is the industry heading? The evolution of EV's and PHEV's...

Written by European Exhaust & Catalysts UK Sales Manager, Ben Kendrick.

Having now worked in the emissions industry, for European Exhaust and Catalyst, for over 18 years, my friends, family members and colleagues in the industry often start a conversation with the same question....

"What's going to happen to you guys with all these electric vehicles now?"

It's not difficult to realise that electric vehicles do not require an exhaust system and no demand for these parts obviously has a direct impact on our core business.

Now the shortest answer I would give to that question is that I remain sceptical of the governments ambitious target and not everyone wants an Electric Vehicle, for varying reasons. However, to expand on that we need to look at a few statistics;

  • The government's plan is to phase out sales of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, with an exemption for a limited number of hybrid vehicles until 2035.

  • Currently around 1.3% of vehicles on the UK roads are fully electric.

The first thing to consider is whether the UK has the infrastructure to charge these electric vehicles? There are huge amounts of public funding being budgeted for charging stations around the country and additionally, BP is announcing a £1 billion investment in rapid charging stations. But that would suggest we are nowhere near yet, and that is for the 1.3% of vehicles currently on the road. How much closer will the infrastructure be when only electric cars are to be sold in 8 years' time?

Consider also what this means for the electric vehicle owners. The ideal choice would be to charge your vehicle at home. How is this possible if you live in an area with shared parking or on a roadside where sometimes it isn't possible to park in front of your own home. Also, does this mean streets will be lined with charging cables, what does this mean for health and safety or indeed crime rates for the materials in the cables?

Since the announcements were made 2 things have happened to the used car market. Used car prices rose by 30% on average last year and the market boomed with sales up 11.5%. So, what does this tell us? In my opinion, it's a market prediction that used petrol and diesel cars will be around longer than you think. A good proportion of the country will hold onto their cars longer before changing them as they do not want to move to electric vehicles or cannot afford to - the average cost to be an electric car in the UK is around £44,000, prices range from £17,350 up to £138,826 or even more.

So, looking at the original question again in terms of future sales of Catalytic Converters and DPF's, I think the demand for these products will continue well past the governments axe blow on the internal combustion engine. If vehicle owners keep their cars longer they will require more regular maintenance and continuing MOT tests therefore the likelihood of a Cat of DPF replacement is higher.

Another thing to consider are our markets outside of the UK. We have a large customer base throughout Europe and beyond and there are a number of countries that will not apply the same bans as the UK. Developing countries often run older vehicles and their emission law may still be catching up with other countries. The demand for our products will long surpass mine and my colleagues working lives.

Who knows, a 2006 Ford Focus diesel could become a future classic!

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