Are Electric Cars On The Rise In The UK?

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Electric Vehicles

Electric cars (or EVs as they’re better known) are on the lips of many, if not all drivers, in the UK.

With a so-called “hard ban” on new petrol and diesel cars meant to be taking place in 2040, how quickly are our roads going to see complete zero-emission cars and vans? And are they on the rise already?

What are the latest stats?

Going off statistics from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) it’s looking promising for new registrations of EVs. November numbers from 2018 to 2019 show an increase of 228.8% for new EV registrations – 4,652 compared to 1,415 the year before[1].

The differences between 2018 and 2019 registrations for year-to-date are astronomical. 8,350 new EVs were registered in 2018, compared to 14,246 so far this year. A 70.6% increase which still has the potential to increase.

It appears that the demand is there for EVs, but is it growing fast enough to meet the target set out by the UK government?

An issue of resource

The concept of a greener and cleaner UK which only produces and accepts EVs on its road is a nice one. However, we’re going to need the right resources to do it properly.

Data analytics company Emu Analytics revealed in a White Paper that there will be more than one million EVs in the UK[2] by 2020. Titled “A Sustainable Future. Preparing for Electric Vehicles”, it also highlighted that an 83% increase in charging points will be needed to meet the demand.

The report was published in May 2018, when connector points were at 16,500 in the UK. A year and half has passed, and that number has increased to 26,500. This means that another 3,695 connectors are needed in the next four months. It’s not out of the question given that 9,180 were created in little over 15 months.

Renewables: making electric worth it?

A big debate surrounding EVs is how the electricity used to charge them is generated. While greenhouse gases are shown to be significantly reduced among electric car use, this is maximised when power comes from renewable electricity.

Wind turbines and solar panels for charging zero-emission vehicles are already in place in public spaces in the UK. The first solar charging ‘hub’ in the country opened in Sheffield, but other areas are following suit. Also referred to as ‘carports’, renewable energy firms are installing their solar panels above car parking spaces in town centres and even Bentley’s HQ.

It might be some time yet before everyone is convinced to drive an EV which they charge using their own solar panels and wind turbines on their driveways and roofs.

However, they can be a neat way of cutting down on fuel and home electricity costs. For example, a 5kW solar panel system produces an average 18kWh (kilowatt hour) of solar energy per day from March to October[3].

This might not mean anything to you, but to put it into context:

  • The typical UK home uses 9kWh of electricity per day on average.
  • That spare 9kWh of solar production is the equivalent of 36 miles of driving each day.
  • This is the equivalent of 13,000 miles per year

Successful examples of EVs

A rise in registrations of electric cars can be attributed to two things. A push from manufacturers to meet parliamentary law and people’s consciousness about improving their carbon footprint.

Nissan Leaf

The consumers’ champion of EVs which tackles the issue of cost, a common concern among people looking to get an electric car.

In its base form, the Leaf Acenta is one of the most affordable options on the market, which can be yours brand new for £26,000. It’s on the list of top 10 cheapest electric cars on the market currently and comes with great standard tech, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring and packed with ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) technology.

It’s also worth noting that Nissan’s green car champion has a range of 168 miles on a single full charge.

Renault Zoe

Another success story in this emerging and futuristic vehicle space is the Renault Zoe.

Don’t be fooled by its cute looks, the Zoe’s a great challenger which has quick-charging as standard and a 245-mile range between charges.

The Zoe has also got plenty of practicality for a hatchback, with a 338-litre boot and enough room in the back for three adults. Couple this with smart features, including a system which emits a noise to warn pedestrians of its presence at speeds up to 18mph, and you have yourself a bargain at £22,000 new in its stock form.

Tesla Model 3

On the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of pricing, but with the most advanced tech showcased. The Tesla Model 3 is an exemplary electric motor which comes with sporty rear-wheel drive, rapid acceleration (0-60mph in 5.3 seconds) and a 254-mile range.

Along with 18” aero wheels, premium interior trim and the largest infotainment display (17”) found in any car, the £38,500 asking price makes it the cheapest Tesla model available.

It’s also one of the quickest to respond to the dreaded ‘range anxiety’ which plagues this class of vehicles. Following tests, the Model 3 has been quoted to deliver 254 miles when fully charged.

The statistics are promising for electric vehicles, which are on the rise and continuing to develop in order to suit every driver’s needs. Even if the UK falls short of the 30,195 EV charging ports target by 2020, there’s a chance that awareness of self-sufficient solutions to powering them could bridge this gap and continue their successful growth.

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[1] Statistics courtesy of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), accessed 16/12/19. https://www.smmt.co.uk/vehicle-data/evs-and-afvs-registrations/

[2] Statistics courtesy of Emu Analytics. “A Sustainable Future” accessed 16/12/19 http://www.emu-analytics.com/blog/post.php?s=2018-05-21-new-report-reveals-an-83-shortfall-in-the-required-number-of-charging-points-for-electric-vehicles-by-2020

[3] Statistics courtesy of Drive Green. “Solar Car Charging”, accessed 16/12/19 https://drive-green.co.uk/charging-options/solar-charging-electric-car/