It’s now early October, which means a lot of vehicle data is being released about sales and registrations of different vehicle types around the world. One of the more interesting developments is happening in the UK.
When it comes to new vehicle registrations, the UK is seeing strong growth in EV sales, despite a market that is down overall by around 5%.
One of the most important metrics from the September 2020 data, is that fully electric cars, known as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) are now being registered at a higher rate than hybrids.
For many years now, hybrid vehicles have played an important role in offering great range, while also being better for the environment. Unfortunately the hybrid era is over. This stop-gap measure no longer makes sense in a world where fully electric vehicles have adequate range.
Hybrids used a combination of petrol engines and electric motors, powered by a battery. This meant that hyrbids were more complex and were never able to realise the lower running costs thanks to less serviceable parts.
Given the relatively small batteries in hybrids, it meant much of the time the car would run on petrol, which lacks the potential environmental benefits of running 100% on renewable energy.
During September 2020, there were 21,903 all-electric vehicles registered in the UK. This compared to 12,400 Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) vehicles.
There’s also signifant year-on-year growth for EVs, with the total sales of BEVs in 2019 around 40,000, while the total cumulative EV sales in 2020 so far, is already 66,611.
These numbers are a graphic demonstration of just how far behind Australia is when it comes to Electric Vehicle adoption. We should be embarrassed that the UK managed to sell (or register) more EVs in a single month than Australia will in all of 2020.
According to Zap-map.com, the UK has 3,538 rapid chargers, across 2,403 locations. The total number of public charging locations (including slower charging) is a massive 19,705 chargers, with 34,363 connectors at 12,444 locations.
It is clear that with strong, Government investment in charging infrastructure, the UK has been able to drive EV adoption.
Take a look at this chart that shows the acceleration of plug-in vehicles since 2012. What we see here is that in 2019, we hit an inflection point where sales of BEVs grew exponentially. Even despite COVID19, the 2020 number continue to grow rapidly.
It is likely no coincidence that the Tesla Model 3 also began customer deliveries during 2019. In many regions around the world, the Model 3 continues to be the best selling EV, despite the premium price tag.
There are a number of more affordable, fully-electric cars being released in the UK, with the most recent being the cute little Honda E. This starts at £28,660 (after government grant).
It really feels like the UK solved the chicken and egg problem, through Government funding for charging infrastructure. This is a very big signal to potential EV owners, that they can be confident wherever they travel, there will be chargers available.
Tackling the issue from the demand side is one thing, but is the UK is also pressuring automakers to make sustainable, environmentally-friendly vehicles. Back in Feb, the UK announced they were bringing a ban on ICE car sales forward, from the original 2040 target, to a more aggressive 2035 target.
If EV sales continue as they are, it seems the UK will have a serious shot at achieving that goal.