It appears that after much effort, and head-scratching, the UK’s EV sales are finally starting to pick up some steam, based on recent figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
More than 1,200 EVs were sold this March, as compared to 270 last year, according to the Society. Certainly not huge sales, but certainly not bad growth either. Hybrid sales saw a pretty big uptick as well, up 45% from last year to 10,200 units sold.
Image Credit: Big Ben via Wiki CC
One of the main factors behind the recent growth is no doubt the £5,000 grant that’s been on offer the past few years (since 2011). The range of EVs available in the country has been steadily increasing as well, no doubt helping to drive awareness and demand.
“The market is approaching a tipping point, where battery power will become as normal as petrol or diesel,” explained Ian Robertson, BMW’s global marketing chief. “If you look back over the past three years, the electric car market has multiplied by a factor of 25. There’s no doubt that it’s coming and it’s coming quickly and there is legislation supporting this in many cities.”
“The uptake is gathering pace. The last quarter saw a record number of plug-in grants – double the previous quarter, which was itself a record. More than six times as many grants were issued this January as in January 2013,” agreed a spokesperson for the Department of Transport.
The government in the UK appears to be looking to speed up this uptake, though, based on its recent commitment of £500 million for the purpose. The funds will be used to keep the £5,000 grant going for another two years, as well as funding research (£100 million), clean buses and taxis (£50 million), and buying EVs for government officers (£5 million).
“It’s still early days for electric cars in Britain,” stated Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, an energy company that has installed more than 100 free charging points in motorway service stations. “There has been a bit of a chicken and egg situation – the lack of charging infrastructure put people off buying electric cars, but the infrastructure wasn’t being built because there weren’t enough vehicles on the road. Last year we powered more than 500,000 miles of electric travel; this year, we will double that and … we expect it is only going to increase.”
While on the subject of Ecotricity, I’d like to redirect you towards an excellent video the company released recently exploring the topic of “fracking” development in the UK.
If you have any interest in the subject, or just feel that you’re not that well-informed, I’d recommend giving the video a watch. And if you’re worried.. no, it’s not excessively long. 🙂