As of the end of July, almost 124,000 battery electric cars have been sold according to the SMMT – up 49.9 per cent on last year. July itself has also been a strong month, with well over 12,000 EVs registered in a market which was down nine per cent overall, according the SMMT’s latest figures.
What’s more, the continued growth in EV registrations in July has come against the backdrop of the government having scrapped the plug-in car grant back in June – a move bound to dent the lower end of the market. Cumulatively, over 124,000 EVs have hit the roads in the UK since the beginning of the year, around 20,000 more than were sold during the entirety of 2020.
Push factors are at play, perhaps more than ever, when it comes to people choosing to make the switch. Petrol and diesel prices recently hit £2 per litre, making ICE incredibly expensive to run compared to EVs. This issue is exacerbated when you take into account the minimal servicing required on an electric car compared to a petrol one, and the cost of parts having increased since Brexit and the Covid pandemic.
Of course, purchasing an EV isn’t an option for many people due to their high retail price, but various studies have shown that over the lifetime of ownership, an EV will cost less to run than a petrol or diesel equivalent. Furthermore, according to the BVRLA, leasing an EV or owning via salary sacrifice is more popular than ever.
Its members report that electric is now the dominant fuel type for business contract hire, accounting for 43 per cent of orders in Q1 2022, whilst 84 per cent of salary sacrifice orders are for EVs. Overall, BVRLA members report that EVs account for 32 per cent of all orders.
Factors pulling people towards EVs are also increasing in number, with the improvement of the public charging network making ownership – even for those who can’t charge at home – a realistic and practical proposition.
Zap-Map reports that ultra-rapid charging of 100kW and above grew 40 per cent in the first half of 2022 with 1803 chargers online compared to 1290 at the end of 2021. This is down to huge investment from companies like GRIDSERVE, InstaVolt and MFG EV Power concentrating on this form of charging. The news is also very good lower down the speed spectrum, with fast chargers (up to 22kW) up 15 per cent, rapid chargers (up to 99kW) up nine per cent and slow chargers (up to 6kW) up 13 per cent.
Crucially, on-street charging – which is often the most convenient for EV owners without home chargers – is up 19 per cent thanks to networks like Connected Kerb, which provides intelligent, long dwell time charging for public use. Innovations like 3ti’s pop-up charging solutions are also enabling more businesses to offer it.
Finally, the range and charging speeds now offered by the UK’s most popular EV makes driving them long-distance, or simply hassle-free ownership, a reality. The Tesla Model 3 is the UK’s most popular EV so far in 2022 and can conceivably cover 300 miles on a single charge, zap at 250kW and be on the move with a recharged battery within the time it takes to go to the loo and have a coffee.
In a virtual race from Land’s End to John O’Groats, Leasing Options pitted the top 10 best-selling EVs against one another based on their official range and charging capacities. It showed that not only could an EV with a low range, like the MINI Electric, complete the journey using available infrastructure, it could do so for less than the cost of a tank of fuel and at an average speed – including time taken for charging – of over 45mph. The Tesla Model 3, which won the contest, would take an estimated 15hr 48min, equating to an average speed of 53mph, and only cost £43.20 in charging.
These are figures that would give internal combustion a run for its money.
We fully expect well over 200,000 pure EVs to be sold in the UK this year, making up around 20 per cent of all sales. Given that one of the best drivers of sales is seeing other people using a product or knowing somebody who does, combined with the increasing number of reasons to make the switch, this upward trend is only going to continue in 2023.
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