The latest UK vehicle registration data shows that momentum continues where the adoption of EVs is concerned. However, Jordan Brompton, co-founder and CMO of myenergi, believes that – with demand now outstripping supply – we need greater volume from OEMs to maintain our impressive progress.
The UK’s transition to electrification is accelerating at pace. Indeed, according to recent data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more than 10,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were registered nationwide in August, alongside 3,884 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). To date this year, 199,178 UK drivers have embraced electrification – an impressive increase of 20.3% compared to the same period in 2021.
One in every five new cars now boasts an electric powertrain, while the decline of the internal combustion engine continues. Indeed, compared to 2021, diesel car sales have already dropped by 47% year-on-year, while petrol registrations have fallen by 17.7%.
With the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars looming, vehicle manufacturers are quickly pivoting their production models. At the end of 2021, there were 50 BEV models available to buy in the UK. By the end of 2022, there will be upwards of 200.
Already this year, Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that – from 2025 – its portfolio of new cars will be fully electric, while Ford has just announced seven new all-electric models and Renault-Nissan has announced a global investment of more than €23bn in electric vehicle technology over the next five years. This is simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to global investment into electrification.
Yet while the speed of EV uptake and ever-increasing public demand is positive news, global supply challenges are beginning to hamper the sales of new electric models. If the EV car park is going to grow, the UK needs to secure greater volume from manufacturers.
Market pressures begin to bite
Surging global demand, combined with a widespread shortage of semiconductor microchips, part supplies hit by the war in Ukraine and the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is putting pressure on the availability of the latest electric models. According to insight from This Is Money, EVs that just a few months ago were freely available (such as the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Mokka-e and the Renault Zoe) now have a waiting list of up to 16 weeks.
At the top end of the market, customers looking to purchase a new Audi e-tron, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Porsche Taycan or Lexus UX300e can expect a build timeline of upwards of 12 months. Production of the Tesla Model X and S have even been temporarily paused, with the company’s production facilities struggling to keep up with demand for its more affordable Model 3 and Model Y alternatives.
The SMMT suggests that the motor retail sector is facing its ‘most challenging year for three decades’ as supply impacts sales, forecasting total registrations of just 1.6 million vehicles in 2022 (31% less than in 2019). While 2023 could see numbers begin to rise, predictions have been revised downward since the April estimate, with overall registrations anticipated to reach just 1.89 million.
Volume needed to maintain momentum
As a global leader in the race to electrification, the UK has – for a number of years now – acted as somewhat of a talisman for the industry. Indeed, with legislation passed that will see us ban the sale of new ICE-powered cars faster than any other nation, combined with a rapidly increasing EV adoption rate, we’re tracking far ahead of targets.
What’s more, while range anxiety and charging infrastructure have long been considered barriers to adoption, the UK’s national roll-out of public charge points continues to accelerate. According to the latest insight from EV mapping service Zap-Map, for example, 1,594 new public charge points were added to its database in July. There are now a total of 33,996 charge points across 20,534 locations – a 34% increase since August 2021.
Of this total, more than 18% (6,236 devices) are classed as either rapid or ultra-rapid, providing speeds of up to 100kW and offering up to 70 miles of charge in as little as 15 minutes. The rise of ultra-rapid devices alone has shown hugely impressive growth, with installation rates rising by more than 75% in the past 12 months.
The continued growth of the public EV charging network means that there are now almost four times more charging points than petrol stations in the UK. What’s more, with almost 80% of charging now taking place on consumer driveways, our ever-developing domestic infrastructure is providing a reliable and cost-effective solution for EV drivers to rely on.
So, while the support network is there and consumer attitudes towards electrification are now overwhelmingly positive, the fact remains that UK demand for EVs is outstripping supply. If we’re to maintain momentum and retain our position as a world leader in EV adoption, we need far greater volume from vehicle manufacturers. Resources need to be channelled towards alternatively-fuelled cars and demand from the UK should be prioritised.
Without this, we run the risk of slowing positive progress and unintentionally putting the brakes on transitioning to an all-electric car parc. A significant step backward, both from an industry and environmental perspective.
Looking to the used marketplace
But as a consumer looking to make the switch, what should I do? Add myself to a 12-month waiting list? Drop the desired spec of my vehicle to cut production lead times? Or simply hold on to my existing car? At myenergi, we believe that looking towards the used market is a great option for savvy motorists.
A quick search on Autotrader brings up more than 8,500 results for used BEVs and nearly 7,000 results for used plug-in hybrids. There’s a huge choice of cars for far less than £17,173 – the average UK spend on a second-hand vehicle. While you might have to compromise a little when it comes to colour, features or mileage, the listings are packed with brilliant buys!
It may be a short-term fix, but drivers shouldn’t rule-out the second hand market. This said, it’s not the silver bullet solution. New vehicle volume is still the key to unlocking the transition to electrification and support from OEMs to meet increasing demand is critical.
As the transition towards electrified mobility continues to accelerate at pace, myenergi is committed to operating at the forefront of the industry. Not just as a technological leader, but also as a supporter and enabler of EV adoption. The days of ICE-powered vehicles are numbered and we must all prepare for the technological shift… supply, however, is currently the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle.