At EVision we are fortunate to see customers coming to us from all over the world. In this blog I thought it would be interesting to see just how ready the UK is for electric vehicles taking over new car sales from 2030 when the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars comes into force.
I will then compare this to some of the countries that our beloved customers have travelled from. Apologies in advance if your country doesn’t get a mention, there are just too many to cover them all.
The Electric Vehicles Position in the UK
In the UK we have a pretty unique situation when it comes to imports of electric vehicles.We are one of only four European countries that drive on the left hand side of the road. The others being Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. This means that we rely on car manufacturers to build electric vehicles with right hand drive. As most of the continent drives on the right, this means that we have to wait a little longer than our continental neighbours quite often.
However, having said that, the UK electric car market is incredibly strong. By the end of May 2023 there were 785,000 electric cars on the UK roads. This is a huge increase from just three years ago when there were just 205,770 electric cars on the road by the end of 2020. A massive 16.6% of all new car registrations in May 2023 were electric. This is a figure that continues to grow at a rapid rate. Already ahead of diesel sales and catching up to those of petrol cars.
It is safe to say that the UK has accepted electric vehicles and that there appears to be little fear in making the switch, despite what some sensationalist newspapers may have you believe.
Charging in the UK
In order to be ready for the big switch in 2030 it is said that the UK will need to have around 350,000 to 400,000 public charge points in place. According to figures from Zap Map, the current state of things is that there are 43,626 devices in the UK. Still some way off where it needs to be.
However, BP and Shell have both announced that they will have 100,000 charge points installed each on the Pulse and Recharge networks respectively. It would be reasonable to think that other major oil producers will take similar steps. On top of this you have private companies such as Ionity, Osprey, Charger Master, Genie Point and many more rapidly increasing their networks. And, on top of this, you have companies such as Connected Kerb working with local authorities to install thousands of charge points.
I am confidently going to say that the UK will far exceed the number required. All is well.
The United States
America is well known for its technological advancements. It is the home of Tesla and many electric vehicle manufacturers. However, even as recently as April 2023, polling showed that the vast majority of Americans are against electric vehicles. Even amongst the most liberal in the country, electric vehicles just don’t hold the same allure as they do in Europe.
There are several reasons for this trend. For a start, the United States is an absolutely massive country. Whereas you can travel from London to Cardiff on a single charge in nearly every electric car on the market, there aren’t the same comparisons in the US. People drive much further and they expect to do long journeys. This in turn affects the confidence.
Another major issue in the US, again largely due to size, is the charging infrastructure. It just isn’t anywhere near where it needs to be for people to make the switch. Of course, there is also the elephant in the room, the fact that the US is a major oil producer. Texas gold is a major industry in America and there is a fear that electric cars will have a big negative impact on the economy. For all of these reasons and more, America is quite far behind.
We have had some lovely customers visit us from New Zealand. However, when I went to research electric vehicles in their country I wasn’t expecting to find great things. Their neighbours in Australia are known for being, by and large, against electric cars. More so than even the US. I thought that New Zealand would likely be in a similar position.
How wrong was I!!! New Zealand hasn’t just embraced electric vehicles, they are selling them at an even higher rate than we are in the UK. So, why is New Zealand so different? Well, the main reason is that the government has really invested a huge amount in clean air initiatives. This includes large money off incentives for people buying electric vehicles. There is also a much tougher clean air enforcement in the country which carries big fines.
When it comes to public charging, New Zealand still has a fair way to go. New Zealand is roughly the same size as the UK and it has nowhere near as many public charge points as we do. This is improving, but it is taking a long time to fully implement.
According to official statistics, the UK is third on the list of nations when it comes to readiness for electric vehicles taking over. Number one on the list is, unsurprisingly, Norway. The country that is sandwiched between us and Norway is the Netherlands.
When it comes to a big EV push, the Dutch are really going for it. New EV registrations may still be behind Norway, but at just under 70% they have a lot to cheer about. One statistic that was actually really surprising is that the Dutch are ahead of Norway when it comes to infrastructure preparedness.
Massive purchase incentives and a lot of investment in the country’s infrastructure has really pushed the Netherlands to the top of the EV chain. Baring in mind that Norway’s adoption of all things electric started sooner, the Netherlands are the ones to watch. We could soon have a new number one.
While Norway and the Netherlands may be in a class of their own at the moment, make no mistake, the UK is doing really well in efforts to become petrol and diesel free in the near future. There is certainly nothing to fear about the charging network being up to scratch by 2030.
It is a shame that government grants have ended for nearly everyone now. In my opinion it came to an end far too soon. This also seems to be a view shared with everyone I have spoken to in the industry. However, people are showing great confidence in EVs and are making the change, even without the grants in place.
Countries like the United States and Australia will catch up at some point. However, there needs to be a big shift in public opinion. The lack of incentives and infrastructure is a concern for those countries. Urgency is not something I feel they have just yet.