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nPowering Britain's Electric Car Parc

3-Part Skype video dialogue with npower's Nicholas McHugh

By EV World Video

First off, you have to admire the determination of Nick McHugh. He rode 25 miles on his motorcycle in the rain through Friday afternoon traffic in London to get to McCann-Erickson's offices in London just to do this interview with EV World. He works for npower, Britain's fourth largest electricity retailer.

Unlike much of the rest of the world where energy production and distribution are largely state or publicly owned monopolies, the UK deregulated its power market in the 1990's , offering consumers there the choice of who they buy their electricity and natural gas from. The German company RWE, based in Essen and one of the leading renewable energy wind farm developers on the Continent, created power to take advantage of that deregulation.

In Britain, npower serves some 6.5 million retail customers and more than 300,000 businesses. It is the largest wind farm operator on the island. In Germany, it has installed, in cooperation with Daimler, an extensive EV charging network in Berlin, and has been contracted to build a similar network in the Netherlands.

Electric cars are an ideal application for Europe's transportation ecosystem, including Britain, where average travel distances tend to be shorter. Additionally, high taxes on petrol and diesel that are as much as 80% of the price of the fuel (currently equivalent to US$8.44/gallon), also makes electricity an attractive energy source for propelling the car. McHugh estimates powering an EV can cost a 10th that for a conventional ICE-age vehicle. And on the question of replacing those tax revenues, McHugh notes that British consumers already pay a 5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) for that electricity. The more electricity a consumer uses, the more tax revenue is raised, so he isn't overly concerned about potential loss revenue to the Exchequer (the British equivalent of the U.S. Treasury).

McHugh notes, encouragingly, that 2011 is being regarded in Europe as the "Year of the Electric Car." He points out that more models are being introduced in the coming year than ever before, including the Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and its clones: the Peugeot Ion and Citroen C-Zero, just to name a few. Npower's challenge is to help make it easy for EV owners to recharge those vehicles conveniently, and toward that end it is working with local community councils and businesses.

This Skype-enabled dialogue is 30 minutes in length and is divided into three separate sections for archiving on services like YouTube. Sections follow in sequence, so be sure to view each in order.

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Times Article Viewed: 10413
Published: 14-May-2011

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