In his 2022 Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that electric vehicle owners will have to pay road tax from 2025. Critics say the move will further hinder consumers from purchasing an EV sooner than they need to. But, even as EV adoption continues to climb, what are the other reasons holding people back from making the switch?

Though EV uptake has been increasing in recent years, new electric car registrations still lag far behind petrol and diesel vehicles. The Government’s Vehicle Licensing statistics for 2022 showed that in the April to June period, 13 per cent of new car registrations were fully electric, with petrol still taking the majority at 53 per cent. But, when under increasing pressure to meet climate carbon targets, why is there still a reluctance to switch to an electric vehicle?


With energy bills doubling over the past year, the cost of powering an EV is a major barrier to their adoption. A poll by the AA suggested more than three in five drivers have been put off owning or switching to an EV due to skyrocketing electricity costs.

And those who can’t charge their vehicle at home need to pay even more for their electricity. Public chargers can cost up to twice as much, with the RAC Charge Watch reporting a 42 per cent price increase in 2022 for using a public rapid charger.


According to Zap-Map, out of a total 36,000 public charging points across the UK, only around 7,000 of these are rapid or ultra-rapid chargers. With non-rapid chargers potentially taking several hours or even overnight to charge an EV battery, there’s a very noticeable difference when switching from a petrol or diesel that takes only minutes to refuel and has a much longer range on a single tank.

The charging times of non-rapid chargers can also mean that a charging point is taken up for several hours, unlike a petrol station where each pump is only occupied for minutes. When it comes to electric power, the number of charging points needs to reflect the number of cars as well as their expected recharging times.


Many potential customers are discouraged by the initial cost of an electric vehicle, often considerably higher due to the more expensive technologies used in EVs. Insurance firm LV found new EVs to be an average of £7,000 more expensive than their petrol and diesel equivalents. And this trend follows into the used car market, with a used electric hatchback up to 27 per cent more expensive than its petrol counterpart.

With mounting pressure to reduce carbon emissions on the roads, it’s inevitable that drivers will need to switch to EVs before long. But what can manufacturers do now to help improve the EV uptake?


Increasing EV uptake, particularly before the ICE deadline, will require effort from all stakeholders — be that automakers, infrastructure developers and government. When designing EVs, there are several considerations manufacturers can make to boost their efficiency and thus make them more commercially attractive.

One way of boosting vehicle efficiency, which positively contributes to EV driving range, is implementing regenerative braking. This process takes the excess energy generated when the vehicle is braking, and reverses the flow of electricity, putting it back into the battery.

But there may be situations where the energy generated in a sudden burst is too high for the battery to take in, such as when making an emergency stop. This can lead to overvoltages, damaging electrical components within the system, and there are other factors to consider when designing a safe and effective regenerative system.

To dissipate the excess energy safely, resistors should be used. Compact, high power dynamic braking resistors with simple connections are easily installed into existing circuits. Modular resistors can also be put together to match the level of braking power required depending on the type of vehicle.

Though much progress has been made in increasing EV uptake, there are still many drivers who are yet to be persuaded. But we’re not at the end of the road yet, and there are many considerations EV manufacturers can make to make their vehicles a more enjoyable, efficient, and safer drive for end users.


April 2021 saw the latest collaboration in support of fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) uptake, with automotive manufacturer Nikola announcing plans to create a hydrogen pipeline and refuelling system across Europe. What technology is required to make hydrogen a viable option both in terms of sustainability and automotive efficiency?

Europe has one of the world’s most developed hydrogen markets and is home to over half of all projects, according to The Hydrogen Council and McKinsey’s Hydrogen Insights Reports 2021. Both the UK and the EU have plans to develop their hydrogen offering and have committed to reach a production capacity of five gigawatts (GW) and 40 GW respectively by 2030.

Despite the maturity of the sector, Europe’s hydrogen still needs considerable development in order to reach net zero targets and to become a viable fuel source for automotive applications. Making usable, renewable hydrogen is no easy feat — so where’s the best starting point?


First, we must consider how we make hydrogen green. Hydrogen can be produced in many ways, each corresponding to a different colour. Most hydrogen produced in Europe is currently grey — it is produced by mixing natural gas and steam to create hydrogen and carbon dioxide in a process known as steam methane reformation.

The problem with this production method is that it relies on a fossil fuel to produce hydrogen, which conflicts with hydrogen’s alleged sustainability superiority over petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.

Ideally, we need to make green hydrogen, which uses renewable electricity to separate the hydrogen and oxygen atoms that make up water in a process called electrolysis. This results in zero carbon emissions.

Geographically, Europe is in an advantageous position thanks to an abundance of renewable energy sources in the surrounding area. The EU’s Hydrogen Strategy Report has already identified North Africa as a priority region for increasing hydrogen availability across Europe, thanks to a plentiful supply of sunlight and subsequent renewable energy.


Next on the agenda is making hydrogen-powered vehicles commercially viable. According to Hydrogen Mobility Europe, if hydrogen remains at the current low levels of demand, the cost of producing and supplying hydrogen could be passed onto end users. This would mean that hydrogen vehicles would cost more to run than both battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fossil-fuelled cars. Therefore, any technology that can drive down cost is crucial to increasing uptake.

Fuel cell electric vehicles constantly convert hydrogen into electricity, which in turn charges the vehicle’s battery. In a process known as regenerative braking, most excess energy can be retained to help power the vehicle. However, if the battery is already fully charged or there is a failure in the system, there must be a mechanism in place to dissipate this energy surplus.

A dynamic braking resistor (DBR) is one of the most efficient ways to safely dissipate excess energy and ensure the system remains operational. Cressall’s EV2 DBR is a water-cooled resistor, which allows for safe dissipation without the need for extra components, resulting in an 80 per cent weight reduction when compared to a conventional air-cooled DBR.

These weight-saving properties lighten the load of the vehicle itself, meaning that it can travel further on the same amount of energy. This is particularly advantageous for weight-sensitive freight vehicles, such as pulp and paper or iron and steel transport. What’s more, the weight of a BEV’s battery or the additional components of an air-cooled DBR would reduce the potential load of the vehicle more than a FCEV would, which makes the EV2 and hydrogen a perfect combination for freight transport.

Nikola’s European hydrogen pipeline and fuel system is a landmark step in facilitating widespread uptake of FCEVs. However, if FCEVs are to overtake BEVs, then the refuelling system has to be accompanied by further developments in vehicle efficiency and hydrogen production to make the resource a completely sustainable, feasible option.




In November 2021, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the dawn of the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, fuelled by new regulations and investment pledges across all stages of the EV supply chain. From charging stations to electricity generation, new projects will begin across the United Kingdom in 2022. But there’s one key ingredient that will transform the sector’s sustainability credentials — hydrogen.

With bans on the production of new diesel and petrol-powered vehicles looming, encouraging widespread consumer uptake of more sustainable vehicle choices is becoming an urgent matter. Uptake seems to be increasing — according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) more than doubled between November 2020 and November 2021. But if transport is to decarbonise before its 2050 deadline, there’s more to do to make BEVs carbon neutral.


Fully decarbonising BEVs is tricky. Using energy from the National Grid means that the sources used for electricity generation directly affect BEVs’ environmental impact. The grid is becoming more renewable and is set to be net zero by 2050. But there is an added challenge. According to The Committee on Climate Change, electricity demand is set to double from today’s 300-terawatt-hour (TWh) requirement to 610 TWh by 2050 thanks to BEV uptake.

So, to complete the dual task of increasing supply and decarbonising electricity generation, the Government is investing in dispatchable low-carbon sources to support variable weather-dependent renewables in powering the grid when production falls short of demand. In the meantime, fossil-fuelled electricity generation is negatively impacting BEVs’ sustainability.

BEVs also have some additional environmental concerns regarding their reliance on lithium-ion batteries. Rare earth metals including cobalt, nickel and manganese are all major components of lithium-ion batteries. Mining these materials can result in huge environmental destruction, disrupting entire ecosystems, while the heavy machinery used contributes even more emissions. So, is there a more sustainable option?


Hydrogen is a promising resource that is key to delivering transport’s decarbonised future. Industrial production of hydrogen is typically delivered through electrolysis — using an electrical current to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. If a renewable source is used to produce electricity, then this creates an entirely carbon-neutral hydrogen fuel, known as green hydrogen.

The Government has set a target to produce five gigawatts (GW) of green hydrogen by 2030 and has already announced investments into projects like Whitelee Windfarm near Glasgow, which will use wind power to generate electricity for hydrogen production.

Hydrogen produced in this way can then be used as a fuel source for an alternative to BEVs: fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). FCEVs are powered by proton exchange membrane fuel cells. FCEVs turn hydrogen into electricity by combining the hydrogen fuel with air and pumping it into the fuel cell. Once inside the fuel cell, this triggers a chemical reaction, resulting in the extraction of electrons from the hydrogen. These electrons then create electricity, which is stored in a small battery used to power the vehicle.

FCEVs fuelled with green hydrogen are completely carbon-free, thanks to the renewable origins of these fuel cells. The only end products of the fuel cell reaction are electricity, water and heat, and the sole exhaust emissions are water vapour and air. This makes them a more-aligned choice with net zero goals, enabling a widespread, carbon-neutral EV rollout.


Although the benefits of FCEVs are clear, the technology behind them still needs refining. Fuel cells are unable to work under heavy loads for a long time, which presents issues when rapidly accelerating or decelerating.

Studies into fuel cell function have shown that, when an FCEV begins accelerating, the fuel cell’s power output increases gradually to a point, but then it begins to oscillate and drop despite velocity remaining consistent. This unreliable power output presents a challenge for automakers.

The solution is to install a fuel cell for a higher power requirement than necessary. For example, if a FCEV needs 100 kilowatts (kW) of power, installing a 120-kW fuel cell would ensure there is always 100 kW of power available, even if the fuel cell’s power output drops. Opting for this solution requires a resistor to remove the excess energy when not required, to perform a “load bank” function.

Cressall’s water-cooled EV2 is designed specifically for heavy-duty applications including hydrogen-powered FCEVs. It absorbs excess energy from the system and dissipates it as heat, which can be used to warm the vehicle’s passenger cabin. This protects the electrical system, allowing FCEVs to be very reactive to high-power demands, and accelerate and decelerate rapidly without storing excess energy in a battery.

The EV rollout is well underway, with pressing deadlines for the retirement of fossil fuelled vehicles edging closer and closer. Although BEVs are the main player in the decarbonisation of transport, it’s important to not rule out the distinct benefits that FCEVs bring to the market. But combining the two could be the key to unlocking the EV revolution



As the battery electric vehicle (BEV) market continues to flourish, and impending fossil fuel bans creep closer and closer, it’s crucial for manufacturers at every stage of the chain consider how best to ensure the correct functioning of their components. Whether it’s at the beginning, end or extreme of the BEV scene, load banks play a role in securing safe operations.

There’s no denying that the future of the automotive market is electric. According to the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook 2022, EV sales doubled between 2020 and 2021, reaching 6.6 million globally. Yet with transition deadlines looming, matching demand with supply is becoming more urgent. This brings an absolute need for reliable, operational vehicles and their enabling technology.

As an essential piece of testing kit, load banks play a vital role in ensuring BEVs and their infrastructure are safe and consistent by validating the proper operational performance of components across the sector — from EV charging point testing to end-of-life battery discharge, and even Formula E pitstops.


EV charging points are a huge new focus for the automotive industry. With a target of delivering 300,000 new charging points in the UK, 500,000 in the US and 6.8 million in the EU all by 2030, production rates are rapidly on the uptake to reach these goals.

Before deploying these charging points, they must undergo quality control to ensure their operational performance. This is where load banks come into play. By stimulating an electrical load, load banks test the charging points postproduction, ensuring they are fit for purpose and to prevent any unexpected failures once set up at their designated sites.


As well as ensuring the operations of the EV infrastructure from the beginning, load banks also ensure the safe end-of-life disposal of lithium-ion batteries. In general, BEVs are typically expected to last between 10 and 20 years. So, although end-of-life practices aren’t a huge concern right now, they will be by the end of the decade thanks to the ongoing sales boom.

Once an EV reaches the end of its operational life, its batteries need to be safely discharged. EV batteries are typically recycled to recover their scarce heavy metal components — lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel. But before these processes can take place, there’s an additional step that must be taken.

Even when an EV battery appears to have no charge left, it still naturally generates a small amount of charge, which can be enough to be dangerous if not completely released. By plugging the battery into a load bank, it can automatically determine the battery’s current capacity and continuously discharge it, dissipating the excess electronic load. Removing any remnant charge makes the battery safe for dismantling and metal component extraction, for reuse in the next generation of EV batteries.


While the electrification of commercial vehicles dominates the automotive market, there are additional applications sitting at the extreme of the electric revolution. That includes the rise of Formula E — the all-electric FIA World Championship. In the electrical future of motorsport, there remains additional considerations regarding the safety of mechanics during pitstops.

While pitstops are not mandatory at the moment in Formula E, thanks to the extended battery life and the use of all-weather tyres, they can still be required in the event of a puncture or other damages. In Formula E, because there are so many electrical components running at such a high voltage, there’s a great risk of electrocution if a fault results in the car’s body becoming live.

To protect mechanics and drivers, load banks are used to consume the car’s electrical circuits power and dissipate, temporarily discharging it and ensuring the system is safe for close contact.

As time goes on and EVs become more widespread, both on the road and track, load bank testing for BEVs will become commonplace. While the EV rollout may be in full swing, getting the right technology in place to ensure safe, correct operations at the beginning, end and extreme of the market is crucial to success.