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Comment: The stars are electric

Comment: The stars are electric

As any investor will know, basing decisions on just facts is rarely enough – the best bets also involve a healthy dose of intuition and knowing how to 'read the signs'. Since I wrote my last 'comment', I have therefore been working hard to add to my consultancy skills (such as they are) and have found one research-method to be particularly useful – namely, Astrology!

So in my first 'reading' I would like to remind you (in case you hadn't noticed) that we are only a matter of weeks away from a global automotive revolution. While electric vehicles have been around since the dawn of the motor car, for a hundred years they have been eclipsed by the combustion engine. However, I foresee their time has almost come, and can even predict the date of their ascendancy to be in Capricorn on January 4th 2011.

For the benefit of any remaining sceptics, let's review the celestial (and commercial) 'signs'. The first alignment is vehicle range. While most current EVs tend to be conversions, quadricycles or commercial vans, the availability of OEM supplied electric cars will significantly improve during 2011. These include the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (also branded as the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero), and the Nissan LEAF. But this is just the start – by 2013, almost every major manufacturer will have at least one electric vehicle in their model range.

The second element in the imminent conjunction is 'desirability'. Whereas global annual electric vehicle sales have historically been measured in the thousands, the forthcoming models are already generating huge consumer demand. For the LEAF alone, Nissan has already taken 27,000 pre-orders worldwide. Those well known soothsayers Deutsche Bank and HSBC predict that by 2020, plug-in EVs will represent 5% of the European market, with global sales exceeding 8 million vehicles per year.

The third emerging alignment is infrastructure. The Government funded Plugged-in Places scheme aims to install around 11,000 on-street charge points by 2013 – which (coincidentally?) happens to be similar to the number of UK petrol stations. Research by ElementEnergy also suggests that around 17 million UK households (80%) already have access to a garage or off-street parking area which could be used to safely access a home-based socket for an electric vehicle.

Last, and certainly not least, the fourth favourable sign is the consumer Plug-in Car Grant, worth up to £5,000 per vehicle. With £43 million now confirmed for the first 15 months of the scheme, EV prices are more competitive than ever before – of the new models about to launch, the LEAF and i-MiEV will cost just under £24,000 (Grant included).

Still not convinced of my new astrological methods? Then consider that the next but one new moon will occur on January 4th 2011. If the Office for Low Emission Vehicles was looking for a more auspicious day on which to launch the EV revolution, they couldn't have made a better choice!

©Dr Ben Lane, Next Green Car
Article also appears in November's edition of GreenFleet Magazine

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